Opera North is about to launch From Couch to Chorus: the Festive Edition, the Leeds-based opera company has revealed.

The original From Couch to Chorus, which took place over the summer, attracted more than 2,000 participants. The project brings together singers in an online space to create a digital choir. In a statement, Opera North described it as “ideal for singers who are missing their usual choral sessions” as well as being “suitable for beginners who would like to try and master some operatic repertoire from the comfort, and privacy, of their own living rooms”.

This festive version of the project will comprise five weekly sessions led by a professional choral director over Zoom, with input from members of the Chorus of Opera North. Each one-hour session will be aimed at one of four different voice types: soprano, alto, tenor and bass. No previous experience or ability to read music is required, and the Lifelong Learning team will be on hand to ensure people join the right group.

Jacqui Cameron, Opera North’s education director, commented: “The popularity of our original From Couch to Chorus sessions in the summer proved just how many people were missing their usual choir meet-ups at a time when the wellbeing benefits offered by group singing were most needed. We’re delighted therefore to be able to offer everyone another opportunity to be part of a virtual choir this year.”

A variety of online resources will be used to help people master the basics of opera quickly and easily, whether they have previously sung with a group or not. For those looking for a bigger challenge, the Festive Edition will include a new Fast Track option where singers of all voice types come together for two evening sessions to progress at a faster pace.

“One of the great advantages of offering sessions digitally is that people can access them whatever their circumstances,” Cameron continued. “With the Festive Edition, we’re looking forward to sharing some operatic repertoire, alongside more traditional seasonal fare, with singers of all abilities wherever they live.”

All participants will sing excerpts from Puccini’s La bohème (The Bohemians, 1896). The soprano and alto singers will also learn the ‘Evening Prayer’ from Humperdinck’s Hansel & Gretel (1893), while the tenor and bass voices will master Sullivan’s ‘The Marquis de Mince Pie.’ The final session will bring together all the singers for an online festive concert featuring the operatic repertoire they have been taught alongside a selection of Christmas carols.

To participate in From Couch to Chorus: the Festive Edition, people will need to register online. Sessions will be held on Wednesdays and Thursdays over five weeks from Wednesday 11 November, with a final concert being held online on Monday 14 December. To make it as accessible as possible, all sessions will be pay-as-you-feel.



Alto singers enjoy From Couch to Chorus during the summer with Opera North.