“Black British Classical Foundation, the charity exists for the purpose of nurturing an interest and participation in the classical arts, in particular, Opera, amongst communities of colour in the UK and beyond.”
– Vincent Osborne
The charity exists for the purpose of nurturing an interest and participation in the classical arts, in particular opera, amongst communities of colour in the UK and beyond.
The Black British Classical Foundation addresses the situation where ethnic minorities are underrepresented in the field of opera and the Classical arts in general. Across society, powerful role models can inspire future generations, whether it is in sport, science, or the arts. By fulfilling this need we hope to encourage minority audiences to see possibilities for themselves, to say, “Yes, I too can do that!” Our work takes us to engage with many different communities including schools, prisons, places of worship including churches, and the health and caring communities. However our major project is a biannual competition ‘Voice OF Black Opera’ for Black and South Asian singers from the British Commonwealth.
The competition, supported by the Welsh National Opera in 2022, has the potential to change the lives of the winners. Twenty singers will be brought to the UK and after a series of heats are reduced to six, who will each perform a twenty minutes programme with a full orchestra at the Gala Finals. The previous winner was Elizabeth Llewellyn, of Jamaican heritage, who has gone on to sing a number of prestigious roles including the lead role, Mimi, in La Boheme with the English National Opera.
New Voices Old Song
‘New Voices Old Song’ was the forerunner of the Black British Classical Foundation. Apart from platform performances in the bars of the Brixtonian, ‘New Voices Old Song’ took part in many festivals including The Covent Garden Festival.
New Voices also went on tour to the Caribbean including Barbados, St.Lucia and St.Kitts. By day workshops within schools and by evening, Operatic Concerts playing to full and appreciative audiences.
We, the BBCF, would say that all our work is created with the community in mind. Be it in regards to accessibility, we always make available tickets where you pay what you can afford, available to those who are financially challenged. Also, we try and supply transport for the elderly to attend our concerts.
Currently, our community engagement is centred around North Croydon were we support Holy Innocents Church in their fundraising effort in becoming a community and music Hub.
Holy Trinity School, Tulse Hill, where we engage with the school and the Windmill Cluster to support the development of music making among the school children and the development of a parent/teachers choir.