Opera North launch From Couch To Chorus

  • Four Weeks
  • Four Voice Types
  • Three Operas
  • One Virtual Choir

Anyone who has been missing their usual singing group during lockdown or who fancies having a go at mastering opera from the comfort of their living room can look forward to this summer’s launch of a new digital choir by Opera North.

Starting in July, From Couch to Chorus will comprise four weekly sessions over Zoom with participants being taught operatic excerpts by a Professional Choral Director, with input from members of the Chorus of Opera North. Each hour-long session will be specifically prepared for soprano, alto, tenor and bass voices. No previous experience or ability to read music is required and help will be given for those who are not sure which session to join. By the end, the choir will be able to sing choruses from Bizet’s Carmen and Smetana’s The Bartered Bride, as well as the rousing Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves from Verdi’s Nabucco. In the final workshop, singers from all vocal parts will join together online to perform a full virtual chorus.

The idea for the project grew out of the popularity of Sing ON, weekly face-to-face singing sessions which Opera North held in a variety of venues around Leeds prior to the current restrictions. The Education team have continued to deliver these online with the feedback showing how much they have been appreciated by people who might otherwise feel lonely and isolated during lockdown.

“Thank you so much for the wonderful Sing ON sessions which I’ve been Zooming on Mondays. I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy singing on my own in front of a screen but amazingly I do! I feel like part of a group even though I don’t recognise any of the other people. I was really missing having a good sing so really appreciate what you’re doing.”

Participant, Sing ON

A variety of resources will be used to help people master the basics of opera quickly and easily, whether they have previously sung with a group or not, and a Zoom recording will be sent to the participants after each workshop. Open to all, the sessions will work on a pay-as-you-feel basis.

Jacqui Cameron, Education Director at Opera North, said:

“With this project, we aim to give everyone a taste of what it’s like to be a member of an operatic chorus, learning exciting repertoire and developing singing skills as part of a group. In these times of social distancing, we’re not able to hold the sessions face-to-face, but we know from our experience with Sing ON, that participants still find it uplifting to be part of a virtual choir.

“Holding From Couch to Chorus online will give people a chance to sing with friends who live in other areas and who they may not be able to see at the moment – and to make new ones from across the country and further afield.”

To participate in From Couch to Chorus, people will need to sign up online here where they will also find an option to contact Opera North’s Lifelong Learning team if they would like help in determining their voice type. The sessions will be held on Mondays and Tuesdays over four weeks from Monday 20 July to Tuesday 11 August with the online performance on Wednesday 12 August.

From Couch to Chorus and our wider education programme is kindly supported by the Emerald Foundation.


This post is based on a press release issued by Opera North