Do you have a problem? Opera Helps.

On 23rd February 2016    By Sally Flemons

Can the power of song help us look at a problem in a new way?

Applications are now open for the UK premiere of Opera Helps by Joshua Sofaer. Produced by Wunderbar, Opera Helps is now on tour, stopping in north east England, St Helens, Colchester and Norfolk.

Apply for Opera Helps with your problem and a professional opera singer could visit you in the comfort of your own home. They will sing to you, one to one, helping you to view your problem in a new light.

Joshua says, ‘Historically opera was always a popular art form. Even 50 years ago hairdressers in Italy would sing arias as they worked. Yet now it is seen as something highbrow, for the rich and highly educated, inaccessible to most people.

‘By relocating opera to the home and relating it to personal problems I truly think we can introduce people to the music who wouldn’t otherwise have given it a chance.’

Taking part in Opera Helps is an intimate and personal experience. People who have a problem apply to book a session and an opera singer visits their home. The problem can be anything they find worrying. The singer listens carefully to the participant’s description of their troubles then chooses a suitable aria to sing.

The power of the voice in the domestic space creates an intense and moving experience; the participant hears music in an unfamiliar way, encouraging them to listen attentively as they reflect on their problem.

It first took place in Stockholm, Sweden where Joshua developed the project after being invited to work with the Folkoperan opera house.

Joshua previously collaborated with Wunderbar on Tours of People’s Homes, creating ’12 unique experiences in 12 unique homes.’ during the 2009 Wunderbar Festival in Newcastle and Gateshead. The memorable domestic tour experiences included taking a bath, going for an insulting dinner, entering a wardrobe, having a food fight and building a shed.

‘We love working with Joshua.’ says Ilana Mitchell, Wunderbar’s Artistic Director.

‘Opera Helps fits perfectly with our portfolio of audience-led work in unusual spaces – and he’s an outstanding artist producing work which, on the surface appears deceptively simple, but is transformative, carrying extraordinary depth and attention to detail.’

The project is presented in partnership with touring partners Heart of Glass, Colchester Arts Centre and Norfolk & Norwich Festival. We worked with OperaCoast to recruit the singers.

To find out more about the project, how it works and how to apply, watch the video above and visit the website at operahelps.com.



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