Several young people have taken part in Opera classes over the summer offered by the Birmingham Conservatoire. The project entitled ‘The Empowerment of Opera’ aims to boost confidence and self-esteem in young people. The sessions took place once a week at Edmonds court, led by professional singer Cressida Dolphin and accompanied by a professional pianist.
Opera singing teaches breathing techniques which can help young people with a variety of life skills including posture and voice projection, which in time, with practice can all help increase confidence.
Director and workshop leader Cressida Dolphin who organised the sessions explains:
“Many young people would like to find employment but their low self-confidence stands in their way. The Opera Experience C.I.C. recognises the challenges young people face when they doubt themselves. 'The empowerment of opera' was a lottery funded project, organised by The Opera Experience C.I.C. it used a combination of singing (and in some places drama) activities to boost the confidence and self-esteem of young people.”
St Basils Learning Skills and Work (LSW) worker Gemma Ferati said: “This was a great opportunity for the young people and is a different but fun approach to helping build confidence. I couldn’t believe the change in some of the young people in just one session. They walked in shy and hesitant and strode out so confident; the transformation was amazing. You would never think it could make such a difference but it clearly has”.
"It has been a pleasure and privilege to work with the young people at St Basils. I found them to be polite, respectful and was impressed with their readiness to try something different. For many it was their first experience of opera and I am happy to say it was an enjoyable experience and one that they will remember. Singing uplifts us and makes us feel more positive. I would like to thank the Big Lottery for Funding the project and the fantastic staff at St Basils for all of their support. The opera workshops had a positive impact on the young people".