20th March 2021 Live streamed Premier of Messiah - A Easter Blessing conducted by Nigel Short
This is an amazing work, taken directly from The Bible and set to music by G.F. Handel.
In its entirety, it lasts over 2 hours and for our production we have reduced this to an hour. We have 12 singers with 10 instrumentalists and we are thrilled to be lead by our guest conductor, Nigel Short. Filmed in Holy Trinity Church, Cuckfield. Something wonderful to bring you all a real blessing this Easter. Our free to air production will be available to all, whether at home, in care or in hospital, thanks to our Cultural Recovery Funding from H.M.Government.
16th March 2021 Getting to Know Us - Co-Founder Amanda Buckland
I began singing opera aged 8 in Benjamin Britten’s ‘The Little Sweep’ and that was it - I was hooked! I was fortunate to be surrounded by a happy musical household. My mother sang and played the piano, my father the clarinet, my sister the guitar and I played the piano and clarinet.
My parents met in the theatre and were so glamourous! My Father was in Variety from the age of 4 – tap dancing and singing comic songs to entertain war veterans. He sang on the stage at the Royal Opera House and the Wigmore Hall and later played principal leads in the West End, as well as in classic films such as The Dam Busters, Goodbye Mister Chips and The Lavender Hill mob. My mum studied at The Guildhall School of Music & Drama and after she was married – continued in Rep Companies and was in a film about Gilbert & Sullivan filmed at Shepperton Studios. Later she started to sing opera and played the role of Yum Yum in The Mikado at The Scala Theatre in London.
My parents were my inspiration and I decided to follow in their footsteps and pursue a career in music. Aged 14, I sang in the Messiah and then in the Chorus of Kentish Opera. After completing my music degree at Colchester School of Music, I studied in Rome and discovered a love of Italy that has never left me. My passion for opera continued to grow as I studied Italian and singing with Letitia Calzolari (who taught with Tito Gobbi in Florence.) I later returned to the UK to study a Post Grad course at The Guildhall School of M & D.
I met Bronek at Morley College in London. In the first opera we ever did together, he sold me to be married to another man in Smetana’s ‘The Bartered Bride’. And probably the one we sang together most was ’The Marriage of Figaro’- which we both loved and performed at The Queen Elizabeth Hall in London and hundreds of other venues up and down the Country.
I also discovered a love for teaching singing and taught at Kingston University before we founded Opera Brava in 1988. Over the past 30+ years, we have been blessed with 4 children and had the privilege of performing in Europe as well as impacting thousands of children through our education programme. Juggling a career, business and kids hasn’t always been easy but I am incredibly grateful for such a rich tapestry of life!
9th March 2021 Opera Brava are delighted to announce our production of G.F.Handel's "Messiah"
After the wonderful response we had to "The Christmas Blessing", we are delighted to bring you our next filmed production "Messiah - An Easter Blessing". This is an amazing work, taken directly from The Bible and set to music by G.F. Handel. In its entirety, it lasts over 2 hours and for our production we have reduced this to an hour. We have 12 singers with 10 instrumentalists and we are thrilled to be lead by our guest conductor, Nigel Short. You may recognise some of the artists from our previous production, "The Christmas Blessing" and we are pleased to welcome several new artists. We are delighted that Suzanne Geilgud has again agreed to film our production in the beautiful Holy Trinity Church, Cuckfield. Something wonderful to bring you all a real blessing this Easter. It will be released on Saturday 20th March 2021 at 7:30pm on this website and on our YouTube Channel. We are so pleased that our free to air production will be available to all, whether at home, in care or in hospital, thanks to our Cultural Recovery Funding from H.M.Government.
23rd February 2021 Opera Brava Announce: An Easter Blessing
Following the huge success of the Christmas Blessing, we are excited to announce An Easter Blessing!! Filming starts next week - more details to follow 😊🎶😊
22nd February 2021 Opera Brava welcomes Kathyrn James as a new Trustee
We are delighted to welcome Kathryn James to the team as a Trustee. Kathryn is semi-retired and works as a leadership consultant. She has more than 30 years' experience working in education and HR/personnel.
On her appointment, Kathryn said, "I'm thrilled to be involved with Opera Brava because music is such an important part of my life. I believe strongly, too, that children should have the opportunity to be involved with wonderful music, especially opera, in their formative years. Growing up should be about creating memories - what better memories could we make than the joy of being a part of such a performance!"
17th February 2021 Getting To Know Us: Co-Founder Bronek Pomorski
My passion for opera began with my father. He was a singer and worked at Covent Garden after the war with Michael Tippet and Jan Pomoroy’s touring Opera Company, Carl Rosa. He then formed his own close harmony group called The 5 Skyliners, touring the UK in all the major theatres, Stalls and Moss Empires and appeared at the Royal Variety performances twice. The 5 Skyliners were on the bill with Frank Sinatra in 1956 during a very frozen winter.
My parents tell me that my desire for stage life started early on, with my first appearance taking place when I was only 18 months old! I was standing at the side of the stage with my father holding my reins when I noticed Lenny the Lion doing his act, so of course, I went across centre stage in the middle of his performance to see this talking Lion!
Many years later I decided to follow in my father’s footsteps to become an Opera Singer. I trained at the Royal Scottish Academy and The Guildhall School of Music And Drama. Having been fortunate to sing as a soloist in several touring companies, including the English National Opera, I changed tack completely in 1988 and set up Opera Brava with my wife Mandy who is also an opera singer.
And what an adventure the past 30 years or so have been! With hundreds of performances all over the world, we are so grateful that Opera Brava continues to thrive and are excited about what’s ahead in the years to come!
To read more about the history of Opera Brava, please click here.
21st January 2021 Education in 2021 with Opera Brava
At the heart of Opera Brava is our childrens work and this term would normally be our busiest time in schools. Obviously, this year is different but our commitment to our schools programme has not altered. The schools work has never been an ‘add-on’ but a core part of our vision – primarily because we love children!
Mandy Pomorski, co-Founder says, “I have taught singing to children for over 20 years now and they still take my breath away at times. Their joy, their enthusiasm, the funny comments and often the incredible trust with which they look you in the eye and tell you where they think their ‘voice box’ is – pointing at their tummies!! They have wonderful, creative imaginations and are inquisitive and hungry to learn.
The workshops we present give them scope to explore and discover so many new things. It’s such a privilege.” During the schools Introductory Workshops, we explain the joys of opera, followed by spending a whole week with them as we put on one of the commissioned operas: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian.
We normally work with approx. 60 children, although occasionally it has been as large as 90! So, although the current situation has put the programme on hold, we have tremendous HOPE to be back in schools for the autumn term and beyond!
"I was having a great time on the stage singing and acting. I wish it never ended!"
1st December 2020 Performing "A CHRISTMAS BLESSING" by Opera Brava
Opera Brava were VERY excited to create a free Christmas concert coming to homes via YouTube as a 'Thank You' to the Culture Recovery Fund and to all our supporters.
Amanda Buckland, Soprano and joint Founder of Opera Brava said "We are very aware that people will be unable to attend Christmas concerts and performances this year and we wanted to bring some of the joy of Christmas to people and communities in the comfort of their own homes. We are blessed to work with an incredibly gifted group of singers and musicians, who have come together to produce a feast of Christmas music for everyone to enjoy."
Filming took place under Covid Secure conditions over two days in the beautiful Holy Trinity Church Cuckfield, by the award-winning Gielgud Films production team based in Lindfield.
The Christmas Blessing is available to watch via our website and on Youtube
PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO OUR YOU TUBE CHANNEL - click to open this page and click the RED "SUBSCRIBE" button. You will now be ready to attend our premiere on 13th December at 6pm.
16 November 2020 New Website Launch a Hit!
This month we launched our new website and we have been overwhelmed by the positive feedback and kind comments we have received!
The development of our new website was a mammoth task, bringing to life our work over the past 30 years and also our passion and vision for the years ahead!
We wanted to extend a huge thank you to Nick Lightbody at Deskspace Systems Limited who built the website for us.
Nick says "Our web site production platform (ecoWEB) is based on the idea that it should not be difficult or time consuming to create fast, responsive sites that look good on any device. Importantly, Opera Brava, are able to update the website content themselves. EcoWEB dynamically creates static web pages which contain all the information required to display the content correctly - without accessing multiple external resources."
"This has the effect of making the site smaller so that it occupies less server storage space and faster because there is then less data to transfer to the user's computer or mobile device."
"Opera Brava's site was designed to give prominence to the excellent photographic resources that the Company had collected together with simple navigation to make it easy for visitors to find what they want."
Deskspace have also been involved in the development of the VIGOR Secure App
Nick continued "We have used the same technique in the VIGOR Secure App we are about to release. The App provides a method for individuals to record important events, such as COVID-19 tests and vaccinations, using their iPhone or Android phone. This generates a cloud based private html certificate providing them with a permanent secure & verifiable record. They remain the only person with access to that record unless or until they decide to share it with others such as their GP, employer or airport check-in desk staff. The cloud certificate is generated using the same methods as Opera Brava's new site."
12 October 2020 Opera Brava wins Culture Recovery Fund Grant
We are delighted and thrilled to have been awarded a Digital Culture Media & Support (DCMS) Culture Recovery Fund grant. This grant will allow Opera Brava to continue the work of developing artists of the future both in the opera world and through our extensive and exciting schools programme. It enables us to continue with our mission to “awaken a new generation to the meaning and joy of opera, by educating the young, enthralling the old and encouraging participation for all.”
May 2020 Summer Tour Rescheduled to 2021
We are sad to announce that unfortunately we have needed to cancel our Summer 2020 Tour. This has been a difficult decision but the safety of our performers and guests remains our highest priority. We remain hopeful and optimistic about the future and have postponed all 4 performances until summer 2021. We will continue to monitor and adhere to government advice as we navigate the next few months and please do check back for more updates. Thank you so much for your ongoing support.