Performers Ian and Jean speak about rock and roll, being part of Streetwise Opera, and playing Jesus in The Passion:
How did you get involved with Streetwise Opera?
Ian: I was going to the Booth Centre and Amanda [Croome, CEO] said ‘do you fancy doing opera?’. I didn’t really but I thought I’d give it a try. So I did it and it was ok. I’ve done it ever since. It’s amazing how much I’ve improved over time. I really enjoy it now.
Jean: I came with my boyfriend Matt – he got me into opera. I’ve done one performance so far and this will be the second. When I first started, I didn’t speak or sing much. I was very nervous but now I’m always really excited to come each week. I’ve made good mates here and I speak what I think.
What’s it like being part of a Streetwise Opera group?
Jean: I had depression and everything was getting on top of me. Coming to the group keeps me busy and takes things off my mind. You just feel better. I would recommend to anyone to come along and join the workshops.
Ian: The leaders are very professional and organised and make us look professional. Coming to workshops lifts you up and makes you feel inspired. It’s like a family – we all work hard together. It’s really turned my life around. It’s helped me give up drinking and built up my confidence. But I still like my rock and roll!
What do you think of The Passion’s music?
Ian: The Bach music is really good. The more you sing it, the more you like it. Working with James MacMillan was amazing. We were split into groups to write the words and then he wrote the music. He did very well – it’s a cracking song. It really boosts your self-esteem to work with a top composer.
Jean: We sing all sorts of music with Streetwise and it’s all fun. I like doing solos and learning how to sing on my own – it gives you confidence.
How do you feel about performing in The Passion?
Jean: We went to see The Sixteen sing at Bridgewater Hall – it was my first theatre trip in my whole life. I feel so nervous and excited that we’ll be performing with them.
Ian: The highlight of Streetwise Opera is the performing – you work so hard for so many weeks and it’s nice to show people. It makes it all worthwhile. I’m really looking forward to it!
Jean: I’m going to be Jesus walking down with the cross at the end. I’m so happy to be doing a performance in front of lots of people. Thanks to everyone who has put the piece together and to everyone who raised the money to make it happen. And thank you to everyone who’s come to support us by watching. It means a lot to me to be able to sing – I’m really proud.