This Sunday, the Opera North Youth Company will be taking to the stage at the Buxton Festival Fringe to introduce everyone to the wild and wacky world of Dr Ferret's Bad Medicine Roadshow.
The production, which brings together the skills of the Opera North Youth Chorus with a newly-formed ensemble of talented young instrumentalists, will also tour to Middleton Hall in Hull and the Tête à Tête Festival in London.
We caught up with some of the performers before they set off for Derbyshire to discuss what it's like being a member of an Opera North Youth Ensemble and what the audience can expect from Stephen Deazley's light-hearted opera which is based on Hilaire Belloc's classic Cautionary Tales.
Why did you decide to join ONYC?
"I've always loved music and joining Opera North Youth Chorus has helped me to experience wonderful opportunities and incredible coaching, whilst sharing my passion with lots of talented young people."
"I'd already been part of Opera North Children's Chorus and loved every second of it, so I decided to move up."
What's the best thing about being a part of ONYC?
"My friends are amazing and I absolutely love singing. It's so good to spend time with like-minded people and explore different composers' work."
"The family feel is like no other, and the variety of opportunities we're given is brilliant — from performing with Barry Manilow at First Direct Arena to Aberdeen International Festival, and now the three venues where we're taking this production."
What difference do you think it's made to you as a performer?
"I've beome much more confident as a performer and much more aware of purpose and audience in my performances which has helped me to succeed in musical examinations, masterclasses, concerts and auditions."
"The Chorus has helped with my professionalism, both in rehearsals and on stage, and it's given me invaluable experience working with professional singers and actors from around the world."
Tell us more about Dr Ferret's Bad Medicine Roadshow ...
"It's chaos! Don't worry though — that's all part of the production and it's all choreographed. It's an incredibly entertaining production for both adults and children, so people can bring the whole family. Expect fun, because that's what you'll get!"
"Anyone who comes along can expect old stories to be told in a new and up-to-date way. The score and libretto are wonderfully weird and wacky. It's definitely a step out of the ordinary for everyone who comes to watch — you can expect an adventure; an escape from ordinary life and perhaps an ordinary way of thinking..."
What have you enjoyed most about learning and rehearsing Dr Ferret's Bad Medicine Roadshow?
"The creativity in the room when rehearsing this production is immense. Everyone seems to have ideas about how they want the scene to progress. Working with the Director and our new Chorus Master has been wonderful and learning new things and exploring the piece as a group is a delight. I've really enjoyed using my drama skills to enhance the performance."
"I've loved the music — and the props!"
Do you hope to become a professional musician or singer in the future?
"Yes, I'm hoping to pursue a career in musical theatre or music."
"Not professional, but I'll definitely try to carry on singing into adulthood."
"It's always been my dream to be a professional opera singer and I've been lucky enough to have the guidance, support and coaching from the staff at ONYC. The experiences I've had have been incredible - some I will cherish for life. Opera North will always have a special place in my heart and I'm so grateful for their contributions in helping me become a musician."
I've really enjoyed working on this production and I hope the audience enjoy it too!
— ONYC Member
Dr Ferret's Bad Medicine Roadshow is being performed at:
- Sun 16 July - 5.00pm - Pavilion Theatre, Buxton Festival Fringe
- Sat 22 July - 7.30pm - Middleton Hall, Hull
- Tue 25 July - 7.00pm - Tête à Tête Festival, Robin Howard Dance Theatre, London
Tickets are available now from the individual venues or via the Opera North website.
ONYC perform at St. George's Church, Leeds, by Justin Slee
ONYC perfoms Opera Bingo by Brian Slater
Rehearsal images by Opera North