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Project information

British Youth Opera Summer Season 2019

BYO’s Annual Summer Seasons offer first-class coaching, training and mentoring to young singers, musicians, artistic and technical trainees through workshops and the process of rehearsing and performing in professionally-staged opera productions.

July 2018 - September 2018

Charity information: British Youth Opera

British Youth Opera logo
  • Need


    Opera is a particularly demanding artform, requiring expertise and experience in many disciplines and rigorous artistic standards. Talented young individuals therefore need careful training and coaching if they are to realise their potential and excel in this challenging field. The transition between formal education (for example, at music colleges) and a professional opera career can be a difficult one, with very few opportunities to gain experience in supportive environments.


    Our training programmes provide participants with invaluable experience of working in a professional opera company beyond their usual previous background of undergraduate music education and postgraduate opera courses and productions. Essential to these programmes is the provision of sufficient time, resources and guidance to allow them to experience a supportive, stimulating and professional environment before entering a profession in which the pressures on performers can be intense.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Provide coaching and training for singers and other young opera professionals.


    » Singers and technical trainees are selected early in the year and have intensive training and coaching leading to public performances in September.

    What success will look like

    Success will be demonstrated through the quality of the performances in September, the response of the public, press and profession and the ongoing success of the participants.

  • Impact


    British (and indeed, world) opera will benefit from the specific training BYO can offer. BYO alumni will take their very practical learning into the profession.

    Former BYO participants fill every corner of operatic life in this country, with former participants including recent Music Director of English National Opera Edward Gardner (BYO 1998), 2017 Cardiff Singer of the World Audience Prize Winner Louise Alder (BYO 2010/2011), and hundreds of other opera professionals.


    The main risk to any opera production is illness or injury of singers or the production team. BYO Summer Seasons deal with this risk by including coaching for full understudy casts, creative and technical teams, including singers, conductors, directors, designers, lighting designers, wardrobe assistants and stage management.


    BYO's donors will receive advance information on repertoire and casting, plus updates during the Summer Season, and in some cases the opportunity to meet the participants during rehearsals and after performances.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £320,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £76,500 Professional Staff Fees Fees for professional artistic and technical staff who will provide training and coaching
      £69,560 Trainees' Subsistence Contribution to participants' living expenses
      £40,500 Music Costs Hire of Orchestra and all other music related costs
      £74,700 Production Costs Set, Costumes, Props, Lighting and all other production related costs
      £58,740 Venues and Other Costs Hire of rehearsal and performance venues and related costs

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Arts Council England (apportionment) £21,300 Guaranteed
    Trusts and Foundations £65,000 Conditional
    Sponsorship, Individual Giving and Donations £80,000 Conditional
    Box Office £25,000 Conditional
  • Background


    Auditions take place in London, Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow and Manchester.

    Coaching and rehearsals take place in various locations in London, including facilities provided by BYO's main sponsor, London South Bank University.

    Performances take place in London, in association with Britain's leading orchestral academy for young professional musicians, Southbank Sinfonia.


    The main beneficiaries of BYO’s activities are the participants: young singers, musicians, conductors, directors, designers, repetiteurs, stage managers, lighting designers and wardrobe assistants. The secondary beneficiaries of BYO’s Summer Season are its audiences. The public performances at the end of the Summer Season are attended by more than 2,500 people and tickets are priced at low levels compared with other professional opera companies.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    British Youth Opera was founded in 1987 to provide professional rehearsal and performance opportunities for emerging singers, musicians and technical trainees on the threshold of their careers. It is now regarded as one of the country’s foremost opera training companies and works to provide the very best professional development for its participants. In addition to the Summer Season, BYO also runs annual programmes of workshops, masterclasses and performances for young singers.


    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    HRH The Prince Of Wales

    Patron of British Youth Opera since 2000.

    Dame Felicity Lott CBE

    President of British Youth Opera since 2012, Dame Felicity Lott is one of most renowned and admired sopranos of her generation.

    Stuart Barker

    Director of Training and Productions since 2014, Stuart Barker is an opera director who has been involved in BYO's training activities since 1999.

    Lionel Friend

    Music Director since January 2015, Lionel Friend has over 40 years experience at the highest level of training and conducting at home and abroad.