About

Divas & Scholars

Our aim is to promote a greater understanding of opera. For the last six years we have been running a variety of entertaining and educational events for opera lovers and connoisseurs as well as for people new to opera: master classes, study days, lecture-recitals and the Opera Studies Series. Our attendees have the opportunity to meet our star speakers and performers. The social element of our sessions is an important part of what we offer.

We also enable young emerging singers to access a professional network of experts from the opera houses, broadcasting etc. as well as potential patrons. At some of our events young opera singers work with established stars, singers and conductors, and are given paid performance opportunities in prestigious London venues.

DIRECTOR

Lucy Woodruff BA (Hons), MA

Lucy is the founder/director of the Divas & Scholars project. She is passionately interested in opera; a fascination fuelled by a few years spent living in Vienna. On returning to London she began organising recitals for rising star opera singers in her home and later developed a successful programme of lecture-recitals and master classes at the prestigious Cadogan Hall, London. She has collaborated with conservatoires on a variety of projects. A choral singer herself, Lucy has a deep respect for the art of the opera singer. Keen to promote emerging talent as well as to share her love of the genre, she has created these unique opera appreciation events with specialist lecturers and opera singers.

Lucy read Classical Studies at the University of London. Her early career was in public relations. She spent four years living in Thailand where she researched Buddhist Sculpture and gave guided tours at the National Museum in Bangkok. After completing an MA at SOAS, University of London she has given a number of lectures on Southeast Asian sculpture at SOAS. The experience of working on courses in an academic environment inspired her to initiate the Opera Studies Series with luminaries of the opera world. She is delighted to be collaborating with The Grange Festival and to have worked in association with the National Opera Studio on the Opera Studies Series.

OPERA RARA

I am delighted to be collaborating with Opera Rara in autumn 2017.  For over 40 years Opera Rara has been bringing back neglected masterpieces to life through their acclaimed concerts and award winning recordings.  In the past few years, under the expert guidance of their Artistic director Sir Mark Elder, Opera Rara has achieved great artistic success and won numerous awards for their recordings of Fantasio, Les Martyrs and Zaza.  They work with some of the finest opera singers including Renee Fleming who made one of her first recordings with the company.

The Grange Festival

The Grange Festival is collaborating with Divas & Scholars this year on a pre-festival series of events at The Club at The Ivy in London. The Grange is a fine neo-classical mansion in Hampshire owned by Lord Ashburton of the Baring family, with it’s own opera house in a magical bucolic setting. It is undergoing a wonderful programme of redevelopment this year, in time for the 2017 summer festival. The grounds are being returned to their former glory and the facilities upgraded. The festival led by Artistic Director Michael Chance CBE is presenting both established stars of the opera as well as nurturing some of the brightest young talents. The season offers three very different operas, one the oldest, one of the most famous and one of the funniest. Each production will entertain, thrill and touch you profoundly.

We have collaborated with the renowned National Opera Studio and have given performance opportunities to the exceptional singers training there. The National Opera Studio exists to train a select group of talented young musicians to become the leading artists of their generation. They provide intensive and bespoke professional training at the highest level for a small group of singers and répétiteurs each year, and prepare them for life on an international operatic stage. They work in partnership with not one, but all six of the leading opera companies in the UK: English National Opera, Glyndebourne, Opera North, the Royal Opera House, Scottish Opera and Welsh National Opera. Trainees are with them for an often life-changing nine months, and undergo a rigorous programme that is individually designed around their particular vocal and developmental needs. Alumni include Gerald Finley, Kate Royal, Susan Bullock, Ivor Bolton, Alice Coote, Lesley Garrett, Susan Gritton, Peter Rose, and very many more. Many of their répétiteurs lead the music staff of major opera companies, such as David Syrus (Head of Music, Royal Opera House) and Steven Naylor (Director of Artistic Administration, Glyndebourne).

“From my regular visits to the National Opera Studio, is clear to me that the drive and energy of the artistic staff is feeding into the trainees who are thriving in this special environment. The work achieved here is extremely valuable and gives a unique groundwork for the young singers of the future.”

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa