Li-E Chen, 26 January 2015

Setting a Contemporary Opera Group

I didn't go to my own session at the end because I wasn't sure if I am ready yet to do this now, this seems not the right time to do for now.

I heard that there will be an Open Space on Opera around mid-2015. So I decide to work on this later and focus only on the current project first.

The purpose of setting a Contemporary Opera Group is to allow a small of group of us as young theatre directors who can have opportunities to explore the form of Opera in our directing and artistic practice.

Conversation continue outside DandD10: - 3 weeks later
14 Feb 2015
Today I am at London Bridge and have coffee with a conductor and panist who is kindly given me advice about setting an Opera group. We had 1 hour and half conversation going through point by point of my list of questions. Feel so greatful to receive such rich advice.

Summary of conversation:

1. Go and Listen to as many music as possible live just music on its own (e.g. go to

Wigmore Hall, near Oxford circle)

2. Get together some scenes to do as starting points that would be useful to get a sense and emerge myself into.... (Similarly doing some scenes from different plays; this can be done exactly the same as theatre directing - get some scenes to do and put an advert to call for actors.)

3. Need to be very clear what you want. (What would you want to do if you are in a room together with singers, a librettist, a conductor/a panist? )

4. Start with your own artistic work of creative collaboration with composers and librettists who are also interested in the similar kind of experimental creative process as yours. Your unique approach to theatre and opera directing can be really exciting, but need to find the right people.)

Further contact for experimental composers and liberttists collaboration opportunity: chech up Aldeburgh

5. Facebook Group - Opera Talk

Put together a workshop (e.g. on a Saturday afternoon) and explain what and why exactly I am exactly looking for - what types of singers (in the advert - need to include a panist.)

Think what scenes do I want to work on.

5. King's college student opera group - to find out if you can work on some scenes together with singers.

6. Training new singers from performance art background (it will take at least 5 years to train the singing muscle to work. Try to understand how singers work that is quite important; ) Similarly try to understand how conventional actors work first before asking them to experiment on your ideas.

Further contact for a chat with an Italian singer and performer.

7. Music sheets can be purchased online via amazon for next day delivery. E.g. Mozart's Do Giovanni

8. Royal Opera House observing opportunities on productions - Mozart's Do Giovanni in June. Rehearsal may start in April. Can try to apply now.

Notes: find singers who are also learning and is willing to be in the same learning process together. Which types of singers? How do you know which singers?

Final advice: emerge myself into music as much as possible as a way to begin the process of opera directing. Reading posts, reviews to learn how singers work.


theatre, opera, THEATRE, Directors, Opera, Contemporary, Theatre, directors, contemporary

Comments: 3

Bill Bankes-Jones, 26 January 2015

Check out my company's website, particularly the festival pages - all about making a space for artists to come together and make new work:


Bill Bankes-Jones, 26 January 2015

Check out my company's website, particularly the festival pages - all about making a space for artists to come together and make new work:


Li-E Chen, 14 February 2015

Thank you so much Bill for the link. Really excited to hear!