To celebrate the first ever World Opera Day, Opera North has produced ‘People’s Lullabies’. It's a series of short films showcasing performances by participants of the company’s community outreach programme.
Five members of the public from Leeds, Bradford and the surrounding areas who have engaged in Opera North’s Encore scheme were chosen to share songs that have personal significance for them, in a public venue relevant either to their own life story or to the charity or organisation through which they accessed the scheme.
One of the performers was Mary, who sang a traditional Nigerian song which she says sparks memories of her Auntie Martha.
'She was a bubbly woman, and when she sang this song you'd see her moving, moving,' says Mary. 'You would see her singing, you would see her giggling,'
Mary was filmed at Leeds's Mill Hill Chapel, home of the Refugees and Asylum Seekers' Conversation Club, an organisation which helps local residents with employment, medical needs and transportation.
The project coincides with the inaugural World Opera Day on Friday 25 October, a collaborative initiative of Opera America, Opera Latinoamérica and Opera Europa to draw attention to the value of opera and its positive impact on society.
Part of the Leeds-based opera company’s aim of bringing classical music to diverse audiences, the Encore Community Partnerships Scheme runs workshops with more than 100 community groups and provides heavily subsidised or free tickets to people who would not otherwise be able to experience opera.