Tuesday 27 February 2024

Der fliegende Holländer: Persona Arts, a new BME-led West Midlands based arts company staging Wagner's opera in Birmingham

Persona Arts: Wagner's Der fliegende Holländer

Persona Arts, a new Birmingham-based opera company, is starting big, staging Wagner's Der fliegende Holländer in German in July. Persona Arts is a BME-led West Midlands based arts company that aims to stage the opera and choral arts to the highest possible standards.

The artistic director is Byron Jackson, a Birmingham-born baritone off Jamaican heritage. He aims to use Persona Arts to promote the cause of opera within local communities and contribute to breaking down barriers. He is a keen advocate of diversity and the underserved which are major issues within the current UK opera arts industry; something he has faced especially due to the colour of his skin.

Over the last two years, Persona Arts has been recruiting community singers from across the West Midlands to take part in the special Flying Dutchman opera chorus supporting our project partner, Birmingham Choral Union. From regional choral societies, amateur singing groups and opera companies, a diverse number of people have selected to take part in the project, and After staging three successful community chorus workshops in Small Heath and Moseley, they have inspired a good contingent of singers, a number of which have never performed in an opera before. Recruitment continues, especially for their diverse children’s chorus, and further community activities are planned.

Next up is a public opera masterclass with Susan Bullock for aspiring singers on Friday 19 April 2024, giving the audience the opportunity to see what it takes in preparing opera singers to reach their full potential.

Persona Arts presents Wagner's Der fliegende Holländer at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire on 7, 10 and 13 July 2024, directed by Iqbal Khan. Jack Ridley conducts the Central England Camerata with soloists including Anando Mukerjee, Mari Wyn Williams, Laura Woods, Christian Joel, Gerrit Paul Groen and Byron Jackson. Full details from the Persona Arts website.

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