Just in: Britain loses an opera company

Just in: Britain loses an opera company


norman lebrecht

July 02, 2019

Message from Paul Need:

It is almost 10 years to the month when Co-Opera was gathering for its first Season of La Boheme and Albert Herring. Due to one thing or another, sadly I have today filled out the form to close Co-Opera Co. the charity and the business will no longer exist. We Produced 12 amazing productions, toured some wonderful venues and made a lot of new friends. This forum, which has gone from a handful of colleagues to over 12,000 members will, carry on. I can think of a couple of Co-opera Co Weddings also. A big thank you to all who shared the journey with Kate Flowers and me.. Thank you

Co-Opera Co. was founded in 2008 by soprano Kate Flowers and lighting designer Paul Need to fill vacuum left by the closures of Kent Opera and the New D’Oyly Carte, companies which used to opportunities for singers fresh out of college.

Unusually, the company ran an effective training programme alongside its busy touring schedule.

Kate and Paul are owed a huge debt of gratitude for their efforts down the years, and a good few tears.



  • Bob Boles says:

    Sad to see this happening. I guess Britain doesn’t give a toss about the performing arts any longer? While there’s Strictly and Downton on the box, and pizza delivery to your door, who would bovver to go and watch a load of bleedin’ opra, eh?

    • C_Porumbescu says:

      Guessing you haven’t been to any shows lately by English Touring Opera, Nevill Holt Opera, Waterperry Opera, West Green Opera, Bampton Opera, Opera della Luna, Mid-Wales Opera, Music Theatre Wales, Clonter Opera, Longborough Festival Opera, Opera a la Carte, Guildford Opera, Chelsea Opera Group, Swansea City Opera, New Sussex Opera…

      Does any European country support as much small-scale and unsubsidised opera as the UK? Yes, it’s sad to lose one (we aren’t told why here). But there’s no need to respond by spouting misdirected bile.

      • Allen says:

        “But there’s no need to respond by spouting misdirected bile.”

        Spot on.

      • Bob Boles says:

        Sorry, I go to opera for the opera, and not the merchant banker’s picnic on the lawn. Which rules out most of the projects you’ve mentioned here.

        • C_Porumbescu says:

          Clearly, you really don’t. Do you?

        • Allen says:

          Based on your choice of punctuation, you are saying that there is only one merchant banker having a picnic at these events.

          Not so bad then.

          This is not what you meant of course. But your poor punctuation is a little hypocritical, I think, in view of the snobbishness revealed in your original post.

        • Adrienne says:

          Mr Boles

          Presumably statistics are available breaking down audiences into profession, income, social class, knowledge of opera, fondness for picnics etc?

          I’d like to examine this data, otherwise I’m inclined to believe that your comment is based on nothing more than good old British inverted snobbery.

          IMO, anyone who is more concerned with the rest of the audience than the performance onstage has a problem or two of his own to wrestle with.

      • Maria says:

        Not all but some of these are simply ‘picnics in the park’ in evening dress with an emphasis on corporate entertainment and then just too expensive all round by the time you find a hotel and a train fare.

      • Phillipe says:

        Actually every small town in Germany and France has an opera house or theatre putting on operas that pay fees artists can actually live on. So actually yes there are several European countries that support small indépendant companies and who also don’t use “exposure” or “fresh out of college” as an excuse to pay artists a joke of a wage

  • christopher storey says:

    Correct, Bob Boles . The bile on this thread comes from Porumbescu and Allen, not from you