Black Operatic Talent get to shine in the run up to Commonwealth’s Cultural Programme

Natasha Agarwal
Natasha Agarwal
Julia Daramy-Williams

The Black British Classical Foundation (BBCF) has just announced that it will be hosting “Sing Into Spring” an Operatic Gala at St Phillips Birmingham Cathedral on Thursday 17th March.
The event is to shine a spotlight on rising stars of opera, who are from the Black and South Asian communities, to inspire others from underserved and underrepresented communities that music of all genres is for all, be it as a performer or as audience.

Vincent Osborne, Artistic Director of the BBCF, said “We have some fantastic voices within the community, just waiting for an opportunity. We are determined and passionate in developing, supporting and creating platforms for POC within the opera world.

Chuma Sijeqa
Thando Mjandana

On the evening, four artists, Thando Mjandana and Chuma Sijeqa – both currently at the Royal Opera House – Natasha Agarwal of Opera North and Julia Daramy-Williams of English National Opera will perform operatic Arias, Duets, Quartets and Spirituals. The evening will end with African and South Asian songs with Beatrice Nicholas as pianist and musical director.

Margherita Taylor, presenter at Classic FM will be the host of Sing Into Spring. BBCF is Supported by the Welsh National Opera, Birmingham Hippodrome and Town Hall Symphony Hall.

Vincent adds, “Our aim is to raise awareness of the BBCF’s forthcoming competitions coming to the city. ‘Prelude,’ a competition for young voices 18-25, in partnership with Birmingham Royal Conservatoire where the prize is a year’s full scholarship at the conservatoire.

Then there is Voice Of Black Opera (VOBO) on 5th December 2022. After a call out throughout the Commonwealth, twenty singers are selected to come to Birmingham for a series of competition rounds. Six finalists are chosen and are given twenty minutes to perform their repertoire, accompanied by the Welsh National Opera Orchestra. There are two prizes, VOBO for the overall winner £10,000 plus recital opportunities and The Samuel Coleridge Taylor prize is for the best rendition of an Aria/Song composed by a POC, which is a compulsory element for all singers. The prize is a Song Cycle written for them with a guarantee of three performances. This prize is sponsored by Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.”

Beatrice Nicholas

Tickets for “Sing Into Spring” are now on sale through the Town Hall Symphony Hall Box Office with tickets priced at £20-£25.

Looking ahead to 4th July, BBCF will celebrate USA Independence with music centred around the Black American music experience from Opera to Broadway, Spirituals to Jazz. The concert will be at Birmingham Cathedral, followed by a Gala Dinner and Auction at the Grand Hotel Birmingham.

Vincent concludes, “We are passionate about making the opera world more inclusive and diverse. Our aim is to make all opera companies in the UK and further afield as colourful as Aston Villa!

Tickets on sale :

The event will be hosted by Classic FM presenter Margherita Taylor

You would have received Save The Date for the 4th of July for our production, The Black American Song Book.
Please find below the full details of the Musical Gala, Dinner & Auction.
Looking forward to welcoming you over summer cocktails before the Gala.
Have a wonderful and peaceful Easter.