Northern Heartlands People’s Opera: “Song of Our Heartland”

“We’ve Only Gone and Done It” – a slightly paraphrased line from our community opera but one which sums up our achievement over the Summer of 2020!

In March 2020, we made the heart-breaking decision to cancel all further rehearsals and May 2020 performances of “Song of Our Heartland” but we were also determined to honour the enthusiasm and committment of our community participants in some way.  So, after discussions with Opera North, agreement was reached to produce the opera as a digital film starring the community in key solo roles as well as a chorus and the orchestra and chorus of Opera North and directed by the inimitable Caroline Clegg.

From April 2020, we continued rehearsing the opera with the community chorus on Zoom with rehearsals led by Will Todd (the composer of “Song of Our Heartland”) and Marie-Claire Breen (Vocal Animateur at Opera North).  In the meantime, the Opera North orchestra and chorus recorded the full score under the baton of Holly Mathieson and by August, everything was in place to individually record the vocals of the community chorus and film the opera at Locomotion.  Both activities presented their own challenges in complying to Government guidance on social distancing (and “typical” August rainstorms!) but nevertheless, both were completed successfully.

We would like to thank everyone who has taken part in this amazing project so far – everyone’s contribution has been important and valued: the creative team of Will Todd, Caroline Clegg, Tony Walsh and Emma Jenkins, the Opera North team of Holly Mathieson, Marie Claire Breen, Martin Pickard, Katie Smith, Jo Bedford, Jacqui Coats, Sian Gilroy, Madeleine Boyd, Clara Marshall Cawley, and Annette Windle, the team at Locomotion, and last but definitely not least our wonderful community participants who have continued to be the backbone and heart of this project throughout its ups and downs.




Northern Heartlands Community Opera