Composer Ella Jarman-Pinto visits Newcastle’s Recovery College to rehearse a new opera chorus ahead of a Streetwise Opera performance in spring 2017. The chorus lyrics were written by adults who are recovering from addiction and mental health problems, before being set to music by Jarman-Pinto.

A Recovery College student says: ‘It was really interesting working with Ella to write lines. I’m excited to hear the new music, knowing I helped write it. It makes me feel very proud to be part of it.’

A public ‘Opera Hour’ performance takes place at the Gosforth Civic Theatre on 9 March 2017. Alongside the new chorus, the concert will include extracts from well-known operas and interactive singing exercises. Newcastle and Gateshead performers will also travel to London in summer 2017 to sing their chorus at Streetwise Opera’s 15th anniversary celebration alongside more than 150 adults from the charity’s music programmes around the country.

The new composition is inspired by Benjamin Britten’s Canticle IV: Journey of the Magi, and follows the same themes of nature and journeys. Jarman-Pinto is one of five Streetwise Opera Composers in Residence who are each composing a chorusinspired by Britten’s work with lyrics by the charity’s participants.

The project is part of Streetwise Opera’s national music programme designed to help people who are in recovery and/or experiencing homelessness to make positive changes in their lives. The charity runs weekly workshops at the Recovery College (in collaboration with Changing Lives) and Sage Gateshead, which are open to anyone who would benefit from a boost in confidence.

Ella Jarman-Pinto says: ‘I find Streetwise Opera really inspiring, as it provides everyone who comes through its doors with the right to experience, enjoy and influence music. Writing an opera chorus is something I’ve always wanted to do and it’s made doubly interesting by the fact that it involves working with community voices.’

 To book free tickets for the Opera Hour performance on 9 March 2017, visit the Streetwise Opera website atwww.streetwiseopera.org.