Thurrock Community Chorus sang the piece from Il Trovatore to an audience made up of hundreds of families at a ‘welcome performance’, which aims to bring a new audience to the medium by showing what happens backstage as well as front of house. The event also showcases the talents of the Royal Ballet and the vigorous training they go through in the studios.
The choir was set up by the Royal Opera House when it opened its scenery-making workshop in Purfleet, Essex. To launch the £8 million site, members of the community were brought together to perform a new opera, Ludd and Isis, The Purfleet Opera.
Due to its success, the choir still meets weekly at a local school and performs every two months.
Speaking to the Independent ahead of the Covent Garden gig, community chorus director, Jeremy Haneman, said: “Community choirs have a bad reputation but people come here because they are genuinely really good.
“We make sure we combine the core experience with encouraging people’s individuality”.
The choir is made up of people who are discovering a keen interest in opera, as well as children, and people who are using the group as therapy to recover from an illness.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to do something I love,” one member, electrician Martin French, told the news provider.
Opera House professionals have also been known to pop along for rehearsals and Mr Haneman added that the choir’s membership could soon reach 200, allowing him to take them on tour across the UK as ‘cultural ambassadors’ to bring opera to other communities.
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