Yvonne Howard on mentoring for our production of Peter Grimes at Co-Opera Co.'s 2015 Summer Development Programme this August

"If I am able to share some of my enjoyment and experiences with Co-Opera singers who then, too, discover the joy of Britten, Peter Grimes and in particular, Auntie, I shall be very happy indeed"
Yvonne Howard

Yvonne will be joined by fellow mentors John Graham-Hall, Catherine Wyn-Rogers, Mezzo Nuala Willis, Baritone John Rawnsley, Conductor Matthew Waldren, Director Denni Sayers, Répétiteurs Charles KilpatrickDavid Gostick and Charlie Forrest and Co-Opera Co. Artistic Director, soprano Kate Flowers.  

Their mentoring contributions will all be complemented by workshops and masterclasses by Co-Opera Co. Associate Artists including: Soprano Susan Gritton, Mezzo Yvonne Howard, Tenor Harry Nicoll, Conductor Stephen Wilder, Actor Norman Cooley, and Director of Auditions Oracle Melanie Merry.

Only one week left before the application deadline date for places on this Summer Development Programme. Full details of the programme as well as information about funding your place are on our new-look website.

Read more of Yvonne's thoughts on working with us below:

"As a British mezzo, Benjamin Britten is something of a hero to me; he writes so well for the voicetype and also creates challenging and interesting women. I have sung several of these and enjoyed each one for very different reasons; Lucretia, Mrs Grose, Mrs Sedley and Auntie.

Because I live in East Anglia I am lucky enough to experience the special light he paints so well in his music and often spend time walking along the coast, listening to the waves on the shingle, thewind and the gulls, and enjoying the huge open skies; all of which make it impossible to not havethe interludes of Grimes running on an ear worm loop the whole time! 

I have been fortunate enough to be involved in two very different productions of Peter Grimes; the first early in my career in Trevor Nunn's production at Glyndebourne, where I played Mrs Sedley with the wonderful and very much missed Anthony Rolfe Johnson as Grimes, (and Johnny Graham Hall as Bob Boles).  We were in a very colourful Borough with a realistic set and Victorian/Edwardian costumes. My Sedley was a very heavy Laudanum user whose marked skin was testament to this abuse. Although I was rather too young to play Sedley at the time, it gave me a wonderful insight into her character and also helped with my understanding of the character of Auntie! The Second was Phyllida Lloyd's iconic production for Opera North in which I played Auntie. I have also played Auntie in several concert performances; great fun. We were in a dark, claustophobic, windy place with modern, non-specific clothing and a Borough full of very interesting characters. Auntie and Balstrode definitely knew each other VERY well! 

Auntie is such a wonderful person to get to know and play; intelligent, interesting, strong and more than a little bit naughty. Her relationship with the Borough folk , who are all so clearly 
observed and written (we all know some of them, Iím sure) can be looked at from many different perspectives and because of this, each performance can tell a slightly different story as it develops. 

I am excited to be able to rediscover this piece with members of the Co-Opera-Co. Summer Development Programme, and if I am able to share some of my enjoyment and experiences with Co-Opera singers who then, too, discover the joy of Britten, Peter Grimes and in particular, Auntie, I shall be very happy indeed."