W11 Children’s Opera was a big part of my life as a young performer. From the age of 11 to 18 I took part in the winter production every year, eight operas in total! This year the inspirational company celebrates its 40th Birthday, an impressive milestone deserving a big party. Cast members, crew, group mothers, directors and musicians reunited last week at the Louise Blouin Foundation, an amazing cultural space in West London, to reminisce with a glass of fizzy and watch some of the current W11 cast perform.
Arriving at 7pm the hall was just beginning to fill up, I accepted a bubbly bellini and headed in to check out the canapés. The room, with a stage at one end was appropriately decorated with photos, costumes and rolling films of past W11 productions, highlighting some of the most memorable moments. I spent the evening greeting and chatting with old friends, sharing our favourite ‘W11 moments’ and catching up about our current activities. The night concluded with a triumphant chorus from last year's opera, ‘Rain Dance,’ sung by the large group of kids with great energy.
This year, W11 have once again commissioned the talented Julian Grant to write an opera. With librettist Christina Jones, he has composed ‘Original Features’ a story set in 1920 about a family who are separated by the Depression. I cannot recommend this company enough, W11 Opera nurture young people’s musical talent and give them the means and encouragement to express themselves on stage. I am delighted that this year my little sister will be auditioning for the production - it is lovely to feel my family are still part of the W11 crew. Are you destined to be a diva, or a keen performer between the ages of 9 and 18? If so, you should audition too - find out more here.