Maritime Radio newsreader, Barbara Ward, reviews Carmen, performed at Blackheath Halls.
Once again, for the tenth year in succession, Blackheath Halls crafted a musically excellent, sell-out, acclaimed, community opera. This year’s production, ‘Carmen’, was a wonderful mix of professional and amateur musicians featuring singers of all ages melded together in a seamless, inclusive, expert way to produce the splendid community opera performance Blackheath Halls has become renowned for.
Behind this incredibly successful and complex opera production, orchestrating all the diverse strands that bring it to successful conclusion, was the very talented Rose Ballantyne. Rose is Blackheath Halls Community Engagement Manager. She had the initial vision and the requisite expertise to build this much loved annual event from it’s inception ten years ago. Click here to see a short video of Rose telling the story of the community opera
The community is at the centre of this masterpiece of ‘arts inclusivity’. The production seeks to bring opera to all and to open it’s doors to all. It draws on a seventy strong community chorus, local school children (including those with special needs), a community based orchestra , local Trinity Laban music students and a host of professionals that give their time and expertise year after year, alongside engaged professional opera singers. This unique recipe works exceedingly well, so much so that musicians of international repute continue to be associated with the project long after the curtain closes.
Behind the scenes there are many uncelebrated community participants that keep community opera afloat. Within the chorus, Jagruti Hassan, a local maths tutor, a mainstay of the opera chorus, has been taking part in the community opera from the beginning. She did not read music when she started, but over the years her love of opera and her performance confidence has grown. Through this local Blackheath musical treasure, she has built lasting friendships and enduring joyful memories.
Something very special is happening in our local community, each year novices sing next to fully fledged professional opera singers; amazing fundraising initiatives take place, the community orchestra rises to the occasion and a delighted audience applaud the splendid outcome of this exquisite musical event. Congratulations Blackheath Halls!
Barbara Ward, Maritime Radio News. The latest news for Greenwich borough every day at 8.30am, 1.30 and 5.30pm on 101.4FM