Former King's Opera stars hit the high notes

The only way is up... performers give it their all during a performance

Every year alumni donations to the Annual Fund help enhance world-renowned education at King’s, giving our students the tools and skills they need to help them in their careers.

King’s Opera, a student-run opera society - whom we featured in the Autumn 2013 issue of In Touch - received a grant from the Fund in 2013. Several former members of the society have since carved out exciting careers within the opera world. Working on a combination of successful solo and joint projects, they each credit King’s Opera with launching and inspiring their careers. 'We would not be here now without our King’s roots!' says Imogen Burgess, former Producer for King’s Opera. 

Burgess (below left), busy working as a freelance producer, has taken on several interesting projects this year, including producing for thrilling new opera company And So Forth'Since King’s Opera I realised that all I wanted to do was produce opera and sing. I’ve worked as Assistant Director at the Royal Academy of Music, which is an important part of where King’s Opera has taken me - it was undoubtedly the starting point of my career; I developed a love for producing opera and learned the importance of educating young people about opera, so they too appreciate an art form that expresses, informs and inspires.'

Burgess is also a member of the Helios Collective along with Ella Marchment (below middle), former Director and Set Designer for King’s Opera and Noah Mosely (below right), former Conductor for King’s Opera. Marchment founded Helios Collective in 2012 and describes it as seeking to promote the generation of new opera, nurture the development of young talent and revitalise existing theatrical and operatic works: 'For me, Helios’ mission has always been about providing a professional developmental opportunity across the creative boards' says Marchment.

              Imogen Burgess           Ella Marchment           Noah Mosley

Helios’ project, Toi Toi 2015, achieved this aim. 'Ella and I strongly believe in Opera being a living tradition that is engaging and relevant to people of all ages and backgrounds; Toi Toi 2015 is a testament to that belief' says Mosely.Hailed as an Operatic Club Night, Toi Toi 2015 consisted of two evenings of musical performances, including a seven-piece classical-jazz crossover band, and a rap opera based on the London Riots of 2011. 'We brought over 150 performers together for this event, and I think our two sell out nights prove it’s a viable means to bring a new and younger audience to opera', says Marchment. Burgess agrees: 'The audience was full of people who had never come to an opera before, so I think we created something very special.'

The Helios Collective has since gone on to recreate the success of Toi Toi 2015, with its productions of Stravinsky’s Renard and A Soldier’s Tale - a collaboration with the Constella Ballet and Orchestra, which has been extremely well received. Working with Erico Montes of the Royal Ballet, Alfie Taylor Gaunt of the National Youth Ballet and Colin Eccleston, a finalist in the Linbury Prize for Stage Design, the Helios Collective has undoubtedly demonstrated its growing prominence within the world of theatre and opera.   

The sky's the limit... a dancer takes flight during rehearsal

Like Burgess, both Mosely and Marchment have been continuously busy since they left. 'When I left King's I went to Karlsruhe Opera House in Germany to do a young artists programme and ended up assisting on some extraordinary, huge German repertoire. I have continued my musical education and have done much conducting and music directing. One of the most unusual, interesting and rewarding jobs I've done has been working as Chorus Master, training up a chorus of prisoners to sing in a musical! King's Opera was the start of everything. I gained unrivalled experience at a critical point in my career and I will forever be grateful' says Mosely.

A sentiment very much echoed by Marchment, who, alongside Helios Collective has directed and produced a five-week run of her first musical Stand and Deliver, receiving 5 star reviews: 'King’s Opera has been utterly invaluable in helping me forge a career as a freelance director. Without it I would not have had the opportunity to design, direct and assist on my first real opera productions. It enabled me to step onto the ladder of opera directing, and for that I will be eternally grateful.'

And it's also onwards and upwards for...

Emily WenmanEmily Wenman, Singer and Director for King’s Opera
'I'm currently studying for a Masters in Vocal Performance and perform professionally as a soprano. I also teach singing privately. This year I'll be performing inThe Rake's Progress with Bristol Opera and The Magic Flute with Opera Alberelli. 'King's Opera was an absolutely invaluable asset to my training. At a time when the arts are becoming less and less secure in terms of national funding, supporting young artists is becoming increasingly vital. It's the passion of young people that determines what exciting, wonderful performances will happen in the future. King's Opera was absolutely integral to my decision to invest my life in the arts. I couldn't be more grateful.'

James WayJames Way, Singer for King’s Opera
'Since King's Opera I have performed at international festivals and started a post-graduate in Vocal Studies. I recently sang in a new a piece written by Noah  and will be performing in Death in Venice with Garsington Opera. King's Opera provided me with vital stage experience in a friendly and supportive space.'

 

Craig PokuCraig Poku, Treasurer for King’s Opera
'Working for King's Opera allowed me to see a range of projects from different perspectives, something that is essential for a successful outcome. The skills I gained when working with King's Opera have allowed me to develop into the person I am, and just because you've graduated doesn't mean that you can't still get involve - even coming to see a show that your old society is holding or still performing, will enhance the society and you as a person.'

 

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Article posted: April, 2015

 

The Helios Collective has since gone on to recreate the success of Toi Toi 2015, with its productions of Stravinsky’s Renard and A Soldier’s Tale - a collaboration with the Constella Ballet and Orchestra, which has been extremely well received. Working with Erico Montes of the Royal Ballet, Alfie Taylor Gaunt of the National Youth Ballet and Colin Eccleston, a finalist in the Linbury Prize for Stage Design, the Helios Collective has undoubtedly demonstrated its growing prominence within the world of theatre and opera.   
 
 

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