Opera North Blog

"I've travelled the length of the UK in two months"


My train leaves for Edinburgh in an hour and it’s The Makropulos Case dress rehearsal tomorrow, a new opera by the composer Janáček that opens the Edinburgh International Festival this year. It hardly feels two months since I started at Opera North as the frantic pace continues through these Olympic weeks and beyond.

I started as Chorus Manager in July and have had an unusual few months. Not only is there a full time chorus of 30+ singers, half of which are performing in Edinburgh this weekend, there is also a new ensemble in our production of Carousel, which opens for the first time at London’s Barbican next week and remains there until mid September.

When I arrived one of the first things I did was to see the model box showing of The Makropulos Case. Over one hundred people came to hear the director Tom Cairns and designer Hildegard Bechtler talk about their concept and vision. They are both so highly esteemed in the theatre and film world. Opera North is full of creatives, technicians, musicians and managers who really care about what they do. The small administration staff deals with everything from HR and finance to press, marketing, projects and education. Complete with a dynamic rehearsal and performance space in the Howard Assembly Room, it’s a unique and exciting place to work.

The best thing about the last few months has been getting to know the chorus, a team of professionally trained singers who are so versatile, talented and committed to what they do. Having joined the end of their Ruddigore tour, I’ve been able to really get to know the people and that’s important in this job.

So the job’s started. We’ve had chorus auditions for winter roles and covers, toured Belfast and Edinburgh, are planning for 2013 and are making sure that both our Carousel ensemble and full time chorus are where they should be, in two different productions, in two different capital cities…who said this job would be easy! 

Steven Phillips

Chorus Manager

Photo of the The Makropulos Case. Photo Credit: Robert Workman

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