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Sunday 31 May 2020

Snappy Operas 
Ten mini-operas for young people

A Snappy Opera is a ten-minute opera for children which introduces all the essential elements of opera – singing, acting and making – in a fun, colourful and bite-size chunk. Each piece is designed to be performed by around 30 children, divided up into two or three sub-groups. Every character in a Snappy Opera is represented by a sub-group; there are no main parts and no chorus which makes for a wonderfully non-hierarchical rehearsal atmosphere where everyone is fully involved the whole time. Each piece is orchestrated with its own small band of up to three instruments but there’s also a piano only version. A Snappy Opera can be produced very simply with minimal props or with a full set of elaborate set and costumes, inspired by design packs created for each opera. They can be performed in any kind of space - classroom, hall or theatre – and either on their own or as part of a set. 

Through partnerships with Music Education Hubs, Multi-Academy Trusts and venues, Mahogany Opera have so far engaged 1770 primary school children from across the UK who have given 177 performances of the ten new operas to their peers, teachers, families and the general public. Creative teams of leading practitioners have guided the children through rehearsal and performance to understand the different crafts involved in making an opera. Learning resources, including music learning tracks, design packs and making kits are available for each opera to support the project and professional development activities for teachers provide a lasting legacy that reaches even more children.

‘A key element in our music strategy is for students to work with professional artists, to perform in inspiring venues and to experience a professional rehearsal process – this project delivered that in spades!' 
Leicester-Shire Music Education Hub

In 2019 Mahogany Opera expanded its Snappy Opera programme by creating the inaugural annual Snappy Opera Festival. Mahogany Opera continued to work with existing partners, as well as develop new relationships, to bring young performers and new audiences together across England in a range of professional venues through a week-long celebration of opera making each year. The aim is for the Snappy Opera Festival to be a sector leader in the provision of participatory opera and arts projects for children. The partners for the 2019 Festival were the David Ross Education Trust,  Leicester-Shire Music Education Hub, North Tyneside Music Education Hub,  Nottingham Playhouse, Rosehill Theatre and Southwold Music Trust.  

The Snappy Opera Festival 2019 was supported by the following charitable organisations. Without them our work would not be possible.  

The Kobler Trust 
The Vaulkhard Douglas-Home Music Trust
Finn Family Foundation 
The Catherine Cookson Charitable Trust 
P & C Hickinbotham Charitable Trust
The William Webster Charitable Trust

If you would like to get your school, music hub or venue involved in Snappy Operas, or simply want to know more, please contact our Children & Young People Producer on

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The ten Snappy Operas:

Fox-Pop by Kerry Andrew with Alderton Junior School, Loughton
Counting Sheep by Jamie Man & Stephen Plaice with Freethorpe Community Primary School, Norwich
Machine Dream by Nathan Williamson & Zanib Mian with Bringhusrt Primary School, Market Harborough
PECK! by Stephen Deazley & Matthew Harvey with St Anthony's Catholic Primary School, Slough
The Big History of Little England by Philip Venables & Ted Huffman with Surrey Square School, Southwark
The Itch Witch by Emily Hall & Toby Litt with Jubilee Opera, Aldeburgh
The Feast That Went Off With A Bang by Ed Hughes & Peter Cant
The Lighthouse Wave by Errollyn Wallen with Jericho Primary School, Whitehaven
The Magical Music Tree by Luke Carver Goss & Ian McMillan with Place Farm Primary Academy, Haverhill
The World's Beating Heart by Gwyneth Herbert with Seven Mills Primary School, Tower Hamlets

Previous Partner Organisations:

2016/17: The Apex, Cornwall Music Education Hub, Jubilee Opera, Norfolk Music Service, North Tyneside Music Education Hub, Suffolk County Music Service, Rosehill Theatre, Durham Music Service.

2017/18: Essex Music Services, David Ross Education Trust, Leicester-shire Music Hub, Tower Hamlets Arts and Music Service (THAMES), Slough Music Service, Rosehill Theatre.


Related Content

Snappy Operas: Haverhill Days

Snappy Operas writer Ian McMillan shares his experiences working with young people in Suffolk. 

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Snappy Operas Final Evaluation

Snappy Operas' official evaluation by Annabel Jackson Associates is now live!

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Snappy Opera Festival 2019

Snappy Opera Festival 2019 

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Ten mini-operas for young people

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