Opera North workshops have diverse Resonance

Published: 22 January 2021
Reporter: Vera Liber

Supriya Nagarajan
Azizi Cole

Opera North has selected four lead artists to develop new work in this year’s Resonance programme for minority ethnic music-makers, supported by PRS Foundation’s Talent Development Partnership: musician Azizi Cole, vocalist and composer Supriya Nagarajan, composer José Guillermo Puello and writer and performance artist Keisha Thompson.

Now entering its fifth year, Resonance is designed to support artists from backgrounds which are traditionally under-represented in opera based in the north of England. This year’s projects take in theatre, gospel, traditional South Asian music and poetry and contemporary dance.

Raised in Handsworth, Birmingham and now based in Leeds, Azizi Cole, an accompanist at Northern School of Contemporary Dance, will develop his multidisciplinary piece, Body Clock, using rhythmic techniques and microphones placed around and underneath the performance space, in collaboration with Akeim Toussaint Buck and Chris Radford.

Vocalist, composer and Artistic Director of Dewsbury-based South Asian arts organisation Manasamitra, Supriya Nagarajan will work with Tamil poetry and music with Sri Lankan-born poet and translator Shash Trevett.

José Guillermo Puello, a composer from the Dominican Republic now based in Manchester, will explore the process of constructing an identity through music, soundscapes and performance with poet and playwright Zodwa Nyoni and Isobel Algar, who performs as a clown under the name Miserabel.

Manchester-based writer, performance artist and producer Keisha Thompson will work with singer Yvonne Shelton and musician, sound designer and poet Xana to develop the musical component of her new play, which has been commissioned by Eclipse Theatre, York Theatre Royal and Pilot Theatre.

The four lead artists will receive a week of free rehearsal space in central Leeds, a grant of up to £3,500 and support and advice from technicians, producers and other specialists. There are also options for a short film to document each project and a work-in-progress performance or live-stream.