NI Opera’s outreach to the homeless

A Northern Ireland Opera rehearsal for Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi at the Grand Opera House in Belfast. Photo: PA
A Northern Ireland Opera rehearsal for Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi at the Grand Opera House in Belfast. Photo: PA

Northern Ireland Opera is opening up its rehearsals to disadvantaged young people.

It is presenting Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi at the Grand Opera House in Belfast next month.

Sung in the original Italian, Rigoletto showcases some of opera’s greatest hits, La Donna E Mobile and Caro Nome.

Pupils at primary and post-primary schools, young people with disabilities and learning difficulties were among those invited to watch rehearsals ahead of October’s performance.

Others included members of LGBT and health charities, carers, choirs, cross-community groups and homeless shelter user groups.

Outreach work includes tailored workshops, pre-show talks, a sing-a-long with the Belfast Philharmonic and a packed out community dress rehearsal.

Kate Guelke, NI Opera’s outreach co-ordinator, said: “Opera really does have something for everyone, it’s powerfully multidisciplinary, harnessing music, poetry, drama and design to tell stories about being human.

“We’re interested in showing what an incredible and inclusive art form opera can be.

“Showing people how opera works from the inside, whether behind the scenes as part of a tour, observing the rehearsals onstage or singing from the score, are fantastic ways of demystifying one of the great wonders of the world, Verdi’s masterpiece Rigoletto.”