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Project information

Nurturing emerging operatic talent, and more

BCO reached its 25th Anniversary season in 2018 and now looks ahead. Over the years we've created numerous performing opportunities for the finest young professional singers, helping launch careers, and steering a brave course through the byways of rare 18thC opera, giving many major UK premières

July 2019 - December 2019

Charity information: Bampton Classical Opera

Bampton Classical Opera logo
  • Need


    The UK music conservatoires excel in training and encouraging young singers and other musicians of exceptional talent who then require the next step up with their careers. A small and flexible company such as ours can hone and refine young talents and help bring these singers to greater public attention and critical acclaim. In addition the operatic repertoire of the larger companies tends to be driven by traditional tastes: we can take risks and offer alternatives, thus educating the public.


    We will present staged opera performances which give emerging singers new experiences and exposure and enable them to work alongside more established practitioners. Our fourth biennial Young Singers' Competition (aimed at ages 21-32) provides a different type of public exposure and is exceptionally valuable in encouraging professional presentation skills and programme-building. Our rare operatic repertory fills a big hole in the public's musical experiences.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To encourage and nurture the training and critical exposure of outstanding young singers.


    » Our summer opera production, likely 4 performances across 3 venues, will help bring on a new generation of singers.
    » Our 4th Young Singers' Competition (ages 21-32) will create an exciting venue for professional performance and feedback from respected adjudicators.
    » A secondary small-scale production in the autumn and concert at Christmas will also add to our work with young musicians.

    What success will look like

    Through progress made in rehearsal with singers and through the acclaim they may received from public and critics.

    Aim 2

    To explore further rare repertory from the 18th century and add to our long list of UK premieres.


    » We'll perform English-born Stephen Storace's spirited comedy Gli sposi malcontenti, written in Vienna in 1785 and a key influence on Mozart's Figaro.

    What success will look like

    Through enabling a forgotten opera to be enjoyed by the public, again demonstrated through audience and critical acclaim.

    Aim 3

    We'll expand our activities with a special Handel production at a world-famous heritage garden.


    » This will be a special one-off for 2019, but which will generate new audiences and interest in our work, valuable for future development.

    What success will look like

    Through succeeding in the complex negotiations with a major heritage site currently being progressed, and staging a very special performance.

  • Impact


    Our first two aims are concerned with consolidation rather than change, as they continue our regular activities. However it is vital to continue to intrigue the public and support young singers, whose careers will be enhanced in the long tern through our activity. Our third aim will offer a new venue and audience and may be a spring-board for future additional development and collaboration.


    With open-air performances there is always the risk of poor weather, but we have an indoor contingency venue in place. The greatest risk is financial shortfall but we are tireless in our fundraising efforts, and our Friends' organisation continues to grow healthily.


    We report through personal contact from the company personnel, emails, and invitations to special donor receptions and events. We acknowledge donors (unless anonymity requested) in our programmes. Our Annual Report is widely available for scrutiny and information.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £129,300

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      Amount Heading Description
      £65,000 performers' fees professional fees for singers, orchestras and creative personnel
      £16,500 technical costs scenery, costumes, lighting, other technical hire
      £16,000 marketing costs advertising, design and print, PR, website
      £13,900 annual overheads part-time administrator, scenery storage, annual running costs
      £8,600 other venue hire, additional performance costs eg accommodation etc
      £9,300 competition costs venues hire, adjudicator fees, publicity etc

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    box-office £37,000 Conditional
    Friends' organisation £25,000 Conditional
  • Background


    Bampton, Oxfordshire; Westonbirt, Gloucestershire; St John's Smith Square London; Holywell Music Room Oxford; one other heritage venue. We are well-established at all these named venues, and we are adept at creating new audiences at our rural venues, attracting many first-timers to opera.


    Local rural communities. Those who enjoy stimulating and educational cultural experiences. Our young emerging musicians, who always enjoy the experience of working with us, and benefit from the critical exposure and training. Musicologists and future performing groups who may use our new music editions and translations. Local volunteers, especially with front-of-house, set and costumes.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We are the only UK company regularly staging very rare repertory from the later 18th century, and we have 25 years of experience in exciting programming and risk-taking, giving many UK premières of opera: this summer 'Opera Now' magazine called us “Britain’s unchallenged champion of eighteenth-century opera

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Gilly French

    Trustee/Artistic Director. A founder of the company, she has graduated from performing small roles to major administrative and creative input.

    Jeremy Gray

    Trustee/Artistic Director. An acclaimed opera director with a particular interest in the 18thC.

    Anthony Hall

    Part-time administrator. A resident of Bampton with excellent marketing experience and practical expertise.

    Margaret Skeet

    Our PR marketing agency; we have worked with her for around 4 years and she has transformed our press and public profile.

A delight! Beautifully sung and superbly acted, moving, funny and vivacious. Superb!

Audience questionnaire response, summer 2018