Everybody Can!™ Opera
To encourage a diverse culture in the worlds of opera and classical music in the audience and on stage.
To enhance a person's state of mind through music, transcending the emotional stories of traditional opera to the hearts of humanity.
To empower a person to let go of their "I can't" and find their "I can" - Everybody Can!
To encourage mentorship and empower a person to invest in themselves and see their value in the world.
To celebrate the gift of a human voice and use it to heal and inspire the world.
We are developing a series of projects addressing ways to widen access to opera and celebrate the talent of diverse artists. The first, Verdi's Otello in October 2015 - was greatly received and dealt with issues around domestic violence and mental health.
On 18th January 2019, we will be semi-staging a of Puccini’s much-loved opera, Tosca at St James’ Piccadilly in London. Nadine Benjamin will lead a production team to create a piece that allows everyone involved to walk away with something of value to them. The piece will also aim to celebrate diverse talent on stage, share knowledge and experience of working in Opera and the wider cultural sector, and give work experience opportunity to people who wouldn't normally get the chance to be cast in or work in their chosen area of this profession. Opportunities are provided for people to shadow some of the team and gain work experience thereby giving them an opportunity to learn skills that they may use further in their careers or enable them to think differently about what they are currently doing. The Everybody Can team is made up of semi-professional and professional individuals from all walks of life with different life experiences. All of these are respected within the team and it gives us all a chance to think and work differently including those that might be new to the genre. The core team are Nadine Benjamin (Producer), William Conway (Conductor), Rebecca Louise-Dale (Director) and Rita Grudzien (Project Manager).
A chorus is also created of singers returning to singing or new students who have not performed in an opera before giving them the chance to experience the workings of stage performance and where they are placed within it.
“In our Tosca production we want to explore making traditional opera relevant to today’s circumstances and therefore appealing to wider audiences... It’s a matter of thinking outside the box and integrating these old stories into our society, of making the stage representative of the way we live in this country.” Nadine Benjamin
Within Puccini's Tosca there are a myriad of subjects which are still very relevant to our world today. We aim to highlight what we believe to be the core of this powerful story and go about asking the question of what drives someone with power to abuse the rights of others. We also look at how lonely it can be at the top with it's pressures and how this can affect ones mental health. As we make these connections other topics reveal themselves - such as gaslighting, corruption, rape, the bond of true love and the relationship to a Higher Power.
Without giving away too much, we can say this... we will take you on a journey that will touch your heart and we hope give you a moment to reflect on where these social issues take place in your world.
Conductor - William Conway is an internationally renowned conductor, whose performances have been described as ‘astonishingly convincing’ (Opera magazine), ‘a tour de force’ (Guardian), with ‘a flair for the unpredictable’ (Financial Times). On the podium, he is known for his conviction, clarity and intelligent musicianship, while his collaborations with Hebrides Ensemble, of whom he is the Artistic Director and founding member, have been praised for their fresh and inspirational approach to programming. His dedication to developing contemporary music has been recognised by an award from the Scottish Society of Composers for an outstanding contribution to new music. Born in Glasgow, Conway studied cello in Scotland and London before returning home to take the position of Principal Cello with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra for ten years which he combined with this present post of Principal Cello with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, of which he is a founder member As a conductor, he studied in Helsinki with Jukka-Pekka Saraste and was a finalist and prizewinner in the 1994 Leeds Conductors’ Competition. Since then, he has established himself as a versatile conductor in chamber, symphonic and operatic repertoire, with a host of major orchestras both at home and abroad. He continues to add to his extensive opera repertoire and over the last few seasons has conducted Mozart’s Figaro and Magic Flute, Verdi’s Otello (with Nadine Benjamin’s Everybody can! company) Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and this season will conduct Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin and Puccini’s Tosca. He made his conducting debut at the 2018 BBC Proms in a staged performance of Stravinsky’s Soldier’s Tale.
He is Music Director of Edinburgh Studio Opera and is Artistic Director and Head of Strings at St Mary’s Music School in Edinburgh and teaches conducting at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He broadcasts regularly on BBC Radio 3 and has recorded for Deutsche Grammophon , Linn Records, Unicorn-Kanchana and most recently Delphian Records in a series of highly successful recordings of music by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies and Sir James MacMillan which have reached no 3 and no 1 respectively in the classical music chart.
Director - Rebecca Louise Dale is a British Vocal Artist and Opera Director. During her Masters in vocal studies at Trinity College of Music Rebecca felt that there were limited opportunities to perform within the structure of the institution so sought ways in which to implement change. Married with her desire to direct she produced and directed a full scale open air production of Kurt Weill’s masterpiece ‘Street Scene’ to great acclaim. After her studies Rebecca developed a relationship with Opera de Bauge and went on to work for them as an assistant director and as a soloist. In 2015 Rebecca joined forces with her wonderful friend and mentor Nadine Benjamin to direct the Everybody Can! Opera's production of Verdi’s Otello for which she was praised for her “sensitivity and fresh approach to grand opera”. Whether Rebecca is on or off stage she has only one intention and that is to tell a story in its truest form. Rebecca is absolutely delighted to be presented with the opportunity to join Nadine Benjamin, Maestro William Conway and the Everybody Can! team to tell the compelling story that is ‘Tosca’, hold on tight!”
Project Manager - Rita Grudzien
Tosca - Nadine Benjamin - Kathryn Frady (cover)
Cavaradossi - Borja Gomez-Ferrer - Anando Mukherjee (cover)
Scarpia - David Durham
Sacristan - Simon Butteriss
Shepherd Girl - Danae Eleni
If you would like to see the spending plan for the project - please do not hesitate to ask and we would be happy to send you a breakdown. We are also looking for a person or company to match fund the other £10,000 for the project as £20,000 is our ultimate goal.
Thank you for your contribution in our quest to inspire, add value and liberate!
Risks and challenges
Whilst many of us have produced, directed or played in an opera before, it is our first time kickstarting and asking our community of followers and friends to support us financially. It is an exciting and scary place to be but such a wonderful learning process for us all.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (28 days)