Hull Collegiate School pupils shine in Carmen! Performance at London’s Olympic Park

On 26 June, pupils from Hull Collegiate School took to the stage at the Copper Box Arena to perform in a fantastic production of Carmen! alongside their peers from United Learning’s national group of schools.

The pupils joined over 1,000 others for the unique performance of the ‘Choice of Don Jose’ from Bizet’s Carmen! at the Olympic Park.  Their performance is the culmination of a year’s partnership between United Learning, of which Hull Collegiate is a part, the Royal Opera House, The Voices Foundation and the English Pocket Opera Company.

Using the Royal Opera House’s Create and Sing learning resources and with teacher training delivered by The Voices Foundation, the pupils at Hull Collegiate were introduced to opera. Over the past few months, they have immersed themselves in the world of opera, listening and learning to understand the genre, and even more impressively, delivering their very own operatic performance of Carmen!.

The colourful and energetic performance, which was staged and directed by the English Pocket Opera Company, delighted over 700 spectators including parents and guests from the world of opera, music and education.  The pupils used the knowledge and skills they acquired through the rehearsal process to deliver an unforgettable performance and came away feeling proud and inspired to continue nurturing their musical abilities.

Pupil Louie said: “I enjoyed getting up on stage with all of my friends and singing in front of a big audience. I would definitely do something like this again as it was a great experience!”

Pupil Ollie said: “I enjoyed everything about being part of such a big performance of Carmen but my favourite part was learning how to sing opera as I’ve never done it before.”

Another pupil Charlie said: “What I enjoyed the most was when the professional opera singer who played Escamillo sang right next to me twice in rehearsals - it was amazing!  I also really liked seeing the bands and the conductors perform as they were very good.”

Pupil Eliza said: “Taking part in opera is something completely new to me so I really liked getting the chance to go out and sing in front of everyone.”

Pupil Isabelle said: “Going to London to take part in Carmen is the best school trip I’ve ever been on!”

Teacher Sarah Maynard said: “What a tremendous achievement for our students to be involved in such a spectacular production of Carmen in an incredible venue.  They were in complete awe of the professional singers and left the event feeling really inspired to keep practicing and honing their musical skills.”

Catherine Barker, Head of Music and Performing Arts at United Learning, said: “All of the pupils gave a superb performance in which their new-found love of opera really shone through.  The sound of 1,000 pupils singing together was mesmerising and was a true celebration of music.  Congratulations to all the pupils who sang and performed magnificently and thank you to our fantastic staff for throwing themselves into this ambitious project with such enthusiasm.

“We are fortunate to have been able to partner with the Royal Opera House, The Voices Foundation and the English Pocket Opera Company for this project.  With their support, expertise and resources, we were able to give our pupils the very best musical learning opportunities and plant the seeds for a lifelong love of opera and musical performance.

“Projects like these which teach pupils new skills, broaden their horizons and give them memorable experiences are part of United Learning’s commitment to deliver an Education with Character.  As well as introducing our pupils to a new genre of music, this project has given them the opportunity to perform in a fantastic venue, collaborate with their peers from across the country and be part of a special celebration of talent and creativity.  I am delighted that we have been able to provide this for our pupils and I look forward to seeing them build on this experience as they develop into confident, articulate and ambitious young adults.”

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