MAKING opera affordable to all audiences is being championed by a visiting opera company.

Rogue Opera present Mozart’s Don Giovanni at Shelley Theatre, Bournemouth, on Friday, January 24 and Saturday, January 25.

A report from Arts Council England highlighted that only 4 per cent of UK adults surveyed nationally had seen an opera. Compared to this, 23 per cent of adults had seen a live play.

This is something that director, Bronwen Stephens-Harding, wants to address.

“It is unsettling to see that opera is becoming a disappearing art. It needs to be addressed. I formed Rogue Opera as a way for people to experience something they may have never seen before, but more importantly at a price that does not limit people and for under £20.”

Rogue Opera has already performed at Shelley Theatre, with Carmen as its first show in 2019.

Bronwen explains the direction for the new performance. “Carmen was what I wanted to introduce as our first performance, by staying true to the original setting in 19th century Spain.

“I wanted to update Don Giovanni into a new format. It’s story is also set within the 19th century and centred around people of status. What I wanted to do was to create something that is relevant to society today and for people to follow. The latest opera is set in Milan Fashion Week and Don Giovanni is head of his own luxury fashion brand. This structure allows us to keep true to the original themes of charisma, status and prestige in a relatable setting.”

By having a modern theme for Don Giovanni, Bronwen recognises the importance for audiences to connect with the performance. “I want people to enjoy the experience as well as being able to connect the storyline to a modern-day setting, that becomes easier to interpret.”

For those people who see an operatic performance, Bronwen has noticed the change it can make. “Seeing the reaction from someone who has watched opera for the first time is precious. With only 4 per cent of people having seen an opera in the UK, if I can be responsible for opening the door to another 1 per cent to experience, that fills me with enthusiasm to champion this cause.

“Live performance is so important for people to be a part of. It represents communities coming together to experience something collectively. That has to be kept alive and Shelley Theatre encouraging the variety of performance has to be championed.”

“We look forward to performing in Bournemouth again. It is so important for a theatre to have the right acoustics and for myself and cast of eight performers, Shelley Theatre is the perfect venue. As a director, it also helps to be familiar with the space before you perform.”

“We cannot wait to head back to Bournemouth and perform in 2020. Opera has to be available to everyone. There is raw emotion and power that we look forward to sharing. We cannot lose these experiences for people to be a part of.”

To book your place for Don Giovanni on Friday, January 24 and Saturday, January 25, contact the box office on 01202 413600.