British Youth Opera
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British Youth Opera (BYO) is an opera company in the United Kingdom. It aims to give young singers, instrumentalists, conductors, directors and production staff experience through workshops and its annual September performances at the Peacock Theatre in London.
British Youth Opera was started by Denis Coe, MP in 1987, to give high-standard performance opportunities to singers straight out of music college. Denis was a member of the board of the National Youth Theatre and had seen that the practical experience participants were receiving was greatly enhancing their opportunity for entering the profession. In the days before the opera companies had young artists’ programmes, British Youth Opera was conceived as a ‘bridge’ organisation, to offer young singers performance opportunities in a fully professional but nurturing environment, in which they could train on the job and perform before a paying audience of the public, and before industry professionals whose influence could help them in their ongoing careers. Alumni have gone on to advanced training courses at the Royal Opera House and the National Opera Studio, and to professional careers. Alumni include Peter Auty, Lucy Crowe, Rosemary Joshua, Katarina Karnéus, Sally Matthews, Christopher Maltman, Claire Rutter, Nicky Spence, Matthew Stiff, and Mark Stone.
Funding and partnerships
Since 2002 British Youth Opera has been core funded by Arts Council England, in addition to raising funding from trusts,[which?] foundations[which?] and individual donors. British Youth Opera is a registered charity. Charles, Prince of Wales is its patron. The president is Dame Felicity Lott, and vice-presidents include Dame Sarah Connolly, and Sir Bryn Terfel.
British Youth Opera works in collaboration with Southbank Sinfonia. It is sponsored by London South Bank University in the form of accommodation, rehearsal space and services, and its annual September performances are held at the Peacock Theatre, in London.