Hampstead cricket player sets up virtual opera to support performers amid lockdown

Amelie Turnage, nine, in VOpera's L’Enfant et les Sortilèges. Picture: Submitted

Amelie Turnage, nine, in VOpera's L’Enfant et les Sortilèges. Picture: Submitted - Credit: Archant

A Hampstead sportswoman has set up a virtual opera amid the coronavirus lockdown.

Rachael Hewer, a cricket player for Hampstead WCC, said VOpera was created out of the pandemic to give opera singers, musicians and technicians a place to channel their creative energy while performances are on hold.

It will see around 130 musicians, performers and staff come together to produce Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortilèges.

READ MORE: A Night At The Opera with Hampstead Garden OperaThe opera was chosen for its particular relevance to these uncertain times - it stars a home-educated child who has to react to a completely unpredictable and uncontrollable set of circumstances.

“I was just incredibly miserable and lost - I think the word lost is really the best way to describe it - because [before lockdown] I had not spent any meaningful time outside of a theatre since I was nine,” said stage director and founder Rachael.

“[There was] this feeling of being lost but I somehow had the strength from somewhere to realise I can’t be on my own in feeling like this.”

The lead character in the opera, L’Enfant, is played by Amelie Turnage, nine, who said she found the experience “tiring, fun and amazing”.

Amelie, who wants to be a singer and actress, attends St Michael’s Primary School in Highgate.

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She said: [The opera] will be really fun… there’s a bad guy in the opera and they won’t suspect it.”

VOpera has had the support of the Concordia Foundation and raised more than £30,000 on Just Giving to pay its performers and staff.

VOpera also has a 24/7 mental health professional available to performers to help them cope with any anxiety after being away for so long.

The opera was filmed using green screens in Rachael’s garage and stitched together using a small team of sound engineers and technicians.

With a soundtrack recorded by the London Philharmonic glueing the piece together, each singer recorded their parts remotely from across the globe, all under the scrupulous direction of conductor Lee Reynolds.

The opera will be available to stream on November 16 on the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s YouTube Channel.

View VOpera’s fundraising page at https://justgiving.com/campaign/VOpera