Pegasus Opera Company, the Brixton based charity, recently announced a re-launch of its work with a new focus on developing multicultural opera as a tool for social change.
The key feature of the new focus will be a programme of events that connect Pegasus, and the operas it produces, to the real-life experiences of the young and voiceless within our communities.
Opera written by young people, as well as the more traditional authors, will combine the energy and skills of young artists who are already making a name at street level with the technical and creative experience of more traditional operatic composers. Pegasus Opera are particularly enthusiastic about the prospect of developing a series of ‘five minute’ operas alongside the traditional, full-length operas, in collaboration and partnership with community groups in Lambeth and other areas in London.
To launch its new programme Pegasus is staging two new major projects over the next three years.
Let the Music In, a project to develop new audiences for opera, aimed at reaching marginalised communities or those who marginalize themselves believing that this art form is not for them, scripted by Tim Guest – is a brand new written script (Libretto) to accompany some of the finest music from the operatic repertoire. This piece aims to develop new audiences for opera from diverse sectors of the community, whilst marrying some contemporary musical idioms to the traditional.
Equiano: Son of Africa, a brand new opera is based on the fascinating life of Olaudah Equiano, the famous leader of the African community in 18th century London. Equiano, who was born in what is today Nigeria, was kidnapped as a child and transported across the Atlantic as a slave. In a remarkable life he freed himself from slavery, was one of the major campaigners against slavery and the trafficking of Africans in Britain and wrote a best-selling autobiography. Although in early developmental stage, the opera has gained much interest and Pegasus is now seeking further assistance to bring this project to the stage.
For over two decades, Pegasus Opera Company has gained a reputation for being the UK’s leading professional, multiracial touring company. It has developed a track record of staging high quality productions while at the same time striving to break down the elitist perception often associated with opera, specifically amongst the Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic (BAME) community.
Since its first production 23 years ago the company has performed a number of critically acclaimed productions, including Koanga at Sadler’s Wells; Porgy and Bess at the Barbican, and Treemonisha at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. It has also received national praise for its touring performances of Carmen, Magic Flute, I Pagliacci, Falstaff, and L’elisir d’amore.
In addition to its professional productions, Pegasus Opera Company runs the Pegasus Opera Singing Academy (POSA) – Lambeth based singing academy for young people offering regular opportunities for participation in professionally led singing workshops – as part of its Education programme. Now ‘Unpacked & Reloaded’ Pegasus Opera Company will continue to present a programme that encourages community cohesion and provides the opportunities for young professional singers from the BAME communities to gain the skills and experience necessary to perform in the major national and international opera houses.
The relaunch will premier an excerpt from Let the Music In, featuring three of our international opera singers (Bernard Abervandana, Anne Fridal and Ronald Samm) with music from ‘Puccini’s La Boheme’, ‘Tosca’, ‘Madam Butterfly’ and other popular numbers. We will also be putting out the call to all those who are keen to come on board, to share the journey by getting involved and joining the ‘Pegasus family’.
Pegasus Opera Company is back, reinvigorated, reloaded, unpacked and rearing to re-launch itself with a new exciting programme for the 21st century!
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