About Divas & Scholars

Our aim is to promote a greater understanding of opera. Since 2011 we have been running a variety of entertaining and informative events aimed at both opera lovers and connoisseurs as well as people new to the art form. Our attendees have the opportunity to meet our star speakers and performers over drinks or dinner. 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.

DIRECTORLucy Woodruff BA (Hons), MA

Lucy is the founder/director of the Divas & Scholars project.  Her fascination with opera was fuelled by a few years spent living in Vienna. On returning to London she began organising recitals for rising star opera singers and later developed a successful programme of lecture-recitals and master classes at the Cadogan Hall, London. She has collaborated with conservatoires, Opera Rara, The Grange Festival and the National Opera Studio on a variety of projects.  Keen to promote emerging talent as well as to share her love of the genre, Lucy has created these unique opera appreciation events as a platform for specialist lecturers and opera singers.

A choral singer herself, Lucy has a deep respect for the art of the opera singer.  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 the University of London she lectured 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.  Lucy is now developing an opera tours project and a series of opera related documentaries.

Opera Rara

Divas & Scholars collaborated with Opera Rara in autumn 2017 and is making plans for 2021/2.  For over 40 years Opera Rara has been bringing neglected masterpieces back to life through their acclaimed concerts and award winning recordings.  Under the expert guidance of their former Artistic Director Sir Mark Elder and current Artistic Director Carlo Rizzi, 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 Ermonela Jaho.  Renee Fleming made one of her first recordings with the company.

The Grange Festival

The Grange Festival worked with Divas & Scholars 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 has undergone a wonderful programme of redevelopment and the grounds and facilities have been 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.

National Opera Studio

We have given performance opportunities to the exceptional young singers from the renowned National Opera Studio. The studio provides intensive and bespoke professional training at the highest level for a small group of singers and répétiteurs each year, and prepares them for life on an international operatic stage as some of the leading artists of their generation. They work in partnership with 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.  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa said of the NOS:  “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.”