MANIFESTO For a REAL opera festival in an IMAGINARY world

Saturday, 16th May 2020

1. We are artists who make opera.

2. Our world is limited only by the boundaries of our imagination.

3. We can do or make anything.

4. We work together, and together with our audiences. We will not make art in isolation.

5. A defining feature of our work is that our artists affect our audiences and our audiences affect our artists in real time.

6. This escalating spiral of creativity can only happen when human beings come together in the same space.

7. This can be a real space, or a space in our imaginations.

8. We propose an imaginary world in which a real festival of real opera performances can take place.

9. We will build and share this world together.

10. We will share our creative processes as we construct this dream as much and as widely as we are able.

11. This sharing may be online, but will not be defined by that, and will take other forms as well.

12. We will work hard to include those who do not have access to the online world, and to include those who cannot access the physical spaces of opera.

13. We will strive to make our festival and imaginary world as inclusive as possible.

14. We hope and aim to make this festival in the ‘real’ world, but also believe that its imagined manifestations have a very great, real value.


Read more from Bill Bankes-Jones about The Manifesto here.


Sign the Manifesto here.


Bill Bankes-Jones, Artistic Director, Tête à Tête

Tim Burke, Conductor, Music Director, Tête à Tête

Chris Taylor, Co-Producer/General Manager, Hive Opera (The Hive)

Julia Mintzer, Stage Director, Bread and Circuses

Elfyn Jones, Opera Maker, Sonopera (The Trilobite, Or The Fall of Mr Williams)

Leo Doulton, Artistic Director/Librettist, Virtually Opera (We Sing/I Sang, The Last Party on Earth)

Joanne Roughton-Arnold, Soprano/Company Director, formidAbility

Martin Bussey, Words and Music, Timeless Figure

Sarah Playfair, Consultant Tête à Tête

Ellie Knight, Roustabout-but-staying-in, South Downs Yodelling Collective (Early and Often)

Madeleine Pierard

Laure Meloy, Soprano/Artistic Director, Femme Lunatique (One Art, the podcast)

Thomas Elwin

Catherine Kontz, Composer/Director (Purblind in…, Twitching, Petite Neige, Electra, Shadowplays, Bon Voyage, Whisper Down the Lane, Larvae, A Certain Sense of Order, Fleet Footing, Hand Clap)

Sharon Eckman, Co-Creator

Phil Gault, Baritone/Script Editor, Rocket Opera/Black Sheep Opera

Wendy Dawn Thompson

Lindsay Bramley

Sarah Dacey, Singer/Composer

Muelas+Ward, Creators, Muelas+Ward (A&E)

Helgi R. Ingvarsson, Composer and performer (Music and the Brain)

Jeremy Richardson, Graphic Designer (Jaded)

Hans Vercauteren, Composer and Conductor, Story Tree, (Rain)

Gunnar Gudbjörnsson, Tenor (Doctor in Music and the Brain)

Laura Reid, Composer (Isis, Goddess of Love)

Gareth Churchill, Composer, formidAbility

Roswitha Gerlitz, Writer/Dramaturge, Artist (Of Body and Soul, Bee the Bee, Shadowplays, Gravity)

Edward Lambert, Composer, The Music Troupe (The Last Party on Earth)

Mark Johnston, Musical Director (Bread and Circuses)

Liam Wade, Composer (Bread and Circuses)

Naomi Woo, Music Director (Beethoven Was a Lesbian, The Hildegard Von Bingen Society for Gardening Companions, Voice(less), A Certain Sesne of Order)

Emily Thorner, Singer (Queen in The Last Party on Earth)

Jasmin Kent Rodgman, Composer/Director (Skin)

John Savournin, Singer, Director, and Artistic Director, Charles Court Opera (Olga’s Story)

John Sturt, Composer (Minutes to Midnight: A Nuclear Opera)

Sophia Chapadjiev, Librettist (Minutes to Midnight: A Nuclear Opera)

Christine Cunnold, Soprano

Frances M. Lynch, Singer, Composer, Director, electric voice theatre

Tim Benjamin, Composer, Director, The Radius Opera Company

Russel Plows, Artistic Director, Hull Urban Opera

Alessandro Talevi, Director

Bradley Travis, Opera singer/Associate Artist (Learning & Participation), English Touring Opera

Jack Furness, Director & Artistic Director, Shadwell Opera

Carola Darwin, Singer/Musicologist, Royal College of Music

Tom Guthrie, Stage Director/Performer, Music and Theatre for All

John Franek, Composer (Nous)

Angharad Cooper, Producer-Consultant (Isis, Goddess of Love)

Nicola Wydenbach, Musician, CARVE CoLab

Michael Betteridge, Composer

Jon Bromwich, Executive Producer, British Youth Music Theatre (Goblin Market)

François Matarasso, Community artist and writer, Traction

Tina Ellen Lee, Artistic Director, Opera Circus

April Koyejo-Audiger, Creator, Aukoko (Bubbles the Zebrafish & the No. 8 Bus)

Charlotte Marlow, Composer, Medusa Collective (Fruit Bowl)

Helene Mathiesen, Singer/Producer (Fruit Bowl)

Lucy Bradley, Director (Moon Woman)

Matteo Fania, Composer, Theorikon (Siddhartha)

Giovanni Privitera, Librettist, Theorikon (Siddhartha)

Christine Aziz, Librettist, Imaginary Opera (Isis, Goddess of Love)

Nadine Benjamin, Soprano and Founder of Everybody Can! Opera, Coaching and Mentoring

Camille Maalawy, Mezzo Soprano and Arabic singer

Holly Mathieson, Conductor with formidAbility, Nevis Ensemble, Symphony Nova Scotia (The Bridge Between Breaths)

Toria Banks, Director and Writer, HERA

Jenny Sealey, CEO/Artistic Director, Graeae Theatre

Charli Eglinton, Composer, Lyricist, Librettist (8 – A Steampunk Opera)

Anna Vienna Ho, Composer/Pianist (The Buddha, the Monkey King and the Monk of the River)

Naomi Kilby, Singer/Producer, Opera Alegría

Clare McCaldin, Singer, Producer, Artistic Director, McCaldin Arts

Georgia Barnes, Singer/Composer, Nine Muses Opera (A Time of Empty Tales)

Adey Grummet, Singer/Lyricist/Conductor

Adele Thomas, Opera Director

Darren Berry, Composer, Reptilian Productions/Gus Robertson Presents, The Crocodile of Old Kang Pow

Linda Hirst, Singer and Teacher, Hera

Miketeu, Writer

Ann Liebeck, Artistic Director/Singer/Lyricist/Producer (Latin Rediscovery)

Helen Caddick, Composer/Producer

Alice Farnham, Conductor

Catherine Wyn-Rogers, Mezzo-Soprano

Gerry Cornelius

Evelyn Laurie, Singer

Laura Hudson, Soprano

Tom Smail. Composer (Blue Electric)

Sean X. Quinn, Composer

Vincent Katz, Poet/Librettist