“To grow talent, you must empower it. This is the purpose of Independent Opera.” Bill & Judy Bollinger, Co-Founders

Independent Opera

Independent Opera at Sadler’s Wells was founded in 2005 to support outstanding young artists in every discipline of opera. Seeing the need to bridge the gap between raw talent and a professional career, co-founders Bill and Judy Bollinger, together with Alessandro Talevi, devised a series of initiatives to support young and talented artists.  IO mounted its first production – Rossini’s La Scala di Seta – directed by Alessandro Talevi, within the year and, two years later launched its comprehensive Artist Support scheme with Natalie Murray Beale as consultant. This was also the year that we were first hired to work for the company. Natalie has since overseen the running and development of the scheme which to date has awarded scholarships, fellowships and one-off grants to 116 artists in the fields of singing, directing, design, choreography and production. In addition to the 137 grants worth more than £800,000, part of IO’s ethos is also to provide professional mentoring support.

This year, Independent Opera celebrate the bicentenary of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s births with the first public performance of a new cantata – A Sheen of Dew on Flowers – by Joby Talbot, commissioned by IO, at the Barbican on 11 April in collaboration with Britten Sinfonia. Talbot’s new piece, which will be conducted by Natalie Murray Beale, takes inspiration from Queen Victoria’s sapphire and diamond coronet designed for her by Prince Albert, and which was purchased for the Victoria & Albert Musuem in 2017 through the generosity of Bill, Judy, Douglas and James Bollinger. The coronet, which goes on permanent public display from 11 April in the newly refurbished William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, is the highlight of the V&A’s bicentenary celebrations.

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photo credits: (1) Independent Opera Logo