Thursday, May 22, 2014

Yorkshire Opera Workshop perform Iolanthe

If you notice a group of young people with North American accents enjoying the Redcar/Saltburn area during May, chances are you’ve spotted participants in the second annual Yorkshire Opera Workshop.

Fourteen visiting singers are travelling between Saltburn and Redcar for three weeks in May, as they rehearse and perform Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta Iolanthe.

“We had a marvellous time a year ago with the first year of the program”, says director David Mosey. “The students loved living and rehearsing in Saltburn and performing at the Saltburn Community Theatre”.

This year, because of renovations in the Saltburn venues, the workshop has moved to the new Tuned In centre in Redcar, but most of the students will still be staying in Saltburn.

“My wife, Nina Scott-Stoddart, and I have got to know this part of the North Yorkshire Coast over the last four years”, says Mosey, originally from England and now living in Canada. David’s first cousin is Tony Mosey, and Tony’s son, Saltburn artist Derek Mosey, connected with Nina via genealogical research online. “I had lost track of this branch of the family entirely, and it was extraordinary to meet them four years ago and catch up on our lives”. In the process David and Nina fell in love with North Yorkshire.

“There are a number of Canadian-run opera workshops in Italy now, and I thought, well, why not Yorkshire?” says Canadian-born opera singer Scott-Stoddart about the decision to start a program for North Americans in the Saltburn area. “It’s a chance for young North Americans to experience a culture that is at the same time familiar and foreign to them, and the town and scenery are utterly gorgeous.”

The participants are all university-aged students, both undergrads and grads, who are dedicating their lives to pursuing their dreams of singing opera.

“Opera, operetta and all kinds of musical theatre are complicated art forms to learn, because there’s so much of it that cannot be taught as pure theory. You have to actually get up on stage and do it to learn it”, says Scott-Stoddart. “YOW will give these young people a chance to perform, in English, in front of real audiences”.

“It’s a bit cheeky to bring a group of North Americans to perform Gilbert and Sullivan in England”, admits David Mosey, of the choice of Iolanthe for the second year of the program. “It’s a bit like a group of Brits going to New York to perform musical theatre. But it’s a chance for the singers to really come to grips with both Sullivan’s extraordinary music, and Gilbert’s unsurpassed lyrics and dialogue”.

“We’re also going to get some topical political references in there, of course!” says Scott-Stoddart.

Iolanthe will be performed at TunedIn in Redcar on May 27, 28, 29, and 30 at 7:00 pm. Tickets are £7 for adults, and £5 for children under 12 and seniors and can be purchased online at Eventbrite or at the door.

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