Alumna Returns with Opera Company

Alumna Kate Flowers makes a welcome return to the RNCM later this month when her company, Co-Opera Co., presents Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel and Mozart’s The Magic Flute at the RNCM Theatre.

Kate, who joined the College as a soprano when it opened in 1972, established the company alongside production and lighting designer Paul Need four years ago with the intention of offering professional training and performance opportunities to aspiring artists.

‘I was working with Paul on an opera production a few years ago and we were both struck by how little stage experience young singers entering the profession had received,’ said Kate, who  won the Curtis Gold Medal during her studies at the RNCM. ‘We knew the industry was changing and moving towards a real, true performance where you had to act as much as you had to sing. With this in mind, we both decided to do something about it, and in January 2009 we got together with some of the best singers and tutors in the business to present a new workshop for aspiring singers, offering them the chance to learn everything they needed to know about working on stage and in opera.’

Following the inaugural success, Co Opera Co. presented a further eight workshops that year, with young singers working on Britten’s Albert Herring and Puccini La Bohème, which they later presented to audiences at Portsmouth’s Theatre Royal.

Kate said: ‘From then on it just grew and grew. We are totally self-funded so what we worked on had to be accessible. For example, in the second year we toured with La Bohème and The Marriage of Figaro, and last year we did 25 performances across the UK of The Magic Flute and Carmen.’

This year, they are continuing the success of The Magic Flute in addition to presenting new productions of Hansel and Gretel and Don Giovanni, all of which feature several RNCM students and alumni.

‘We are reviving The Magic Flute because it really is a fantastic production by Christopher Mule and the response last year was great. The other two are brand new productions which we are really excited to be presenting,’ concludes Kate. ‘In terms of workshops, we extended the summer season this year so singers benefitted from three solid weeks of training and performance, followed by an assessment week. They are learning from professionals such as Stefan Janski, Lynne Dawson and Mary Plazas, who are giving valuable time to help the next generation of opera stars; and that’s what it’s all about.’

Hansel and Gretel can be seen on Tuesday 30 October and The Magic Flute on Wednesday 31 October. Both performances start at 7.30pm in the RNCM Theatre. To book call 0161 907 5555.

29 October 2012