We began in 2007, the inspiration of Marj Barton who was, at that time, High Sheriff of Tyne and Wear. As part of her commitment to music and education, Marj encouraged a group of friends and enthusiasts to put together a production of Noye's Fludde by Benjamin Britten. This was our first performance, held in Sunderland Minster.
It became clear that there was a definite appetite for singing and opera in Sunderland. There was a need for an organisation with the capability to produce high-quality original performances.
In our first ten years we worked with nearly 3,000 participants and audience members on:
- 4 fully staged opera productions
- 1 commissioned opera
- 110 public workshops/choir sessions
- 60 school/youth group workshops
- 20 days of 1:1 Vocal Coaching Sessions
- 2 school performance projects
- 4 CPD/teacher training workshops
- 9 small scale/informal performances
Initially formed as the unincorporated association and registered charity Music in the Minster, we also became a company limited by guarantee in 2014. In 2017 we relaunched as Opera Sunderland, reflecting our vision to establish Sunderland as a respected destination for opera.