Students at New City College had a very unusual interruption to their lunchbreaks today, when performers from one of the UK's top opera companies serenaded them with their operatic singing.
Opera singers from English National Opera (ENO) led pop-up opera sessions at the college's Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Redbridge campuses, as part of outreach activity by ENO to open up opera to young people from diverse backgrounds, who might not normally engage with the genre.
The singers also wanted to take the opportunity to promote an upcoming musical performance by a group of the college's young ESOL students, who have been working with ENO to create a musical piece, which they will perform to the public on July 2 at the Box Theatre, located at the college's Redbridge campus.
Their work is titled Humanity Rising and has been inspired by the Benjamin Britten opera Noye's Fludde.
Jennie Turner, Group Curriculum Director for ESOL, said:
The students were really surprised and transfixed by the singing and I think really enjoyed it! Our students have really enjoyed working with the ENO team to create their musical piece and it has been a novel and different approach to help them gain confidence with their English language skills. They are all looking forward to performing Humanity Rising next month.
Three groups of young ESOL students from each campus have been attending workshops focused on singing and songwriting with the professional artists from ENO, all as part of the company's Noye's Fludde Singing and Songwriting Project.
This project helps support young people improve their English language speaking skills and confidence and celebrate ENO's passion to perform opera in English and make it accessible to a wider audience.
They also attended dress rehearsals for ENO's performance of La Boheme and Akhanaten last year, as well as touring ENO's home at the London Coliseum and meeting staff from the company.