Welcome to the Innovative Conservatoire

ICON Seminar 6

Dartington Hall, UK


The Operaflat

Gerda van Zelm

Last updated August 19, 2013

In November 2009 students of the vocal department of the Royal Conservatory and other music high schools in the Netherlands participated in the project “The Operaflat” in the YO! (Youth Opera) festival in Utrecht.

Students in the early years of their education were asked to sing a 3 minute opera in the door opening of one of the apartments in the building.

At every apartment with a balloon outside, the public could ring the bell and after opening the door a singer would start his/her short performance.

Texts were written by school children from the neighbourhood and music was written by young composition students.

The students were helped “staging” their performance by young stage directors and organized their own costumes and make-up.

Bringing the opera so close to the public, in a neighbourhood where classical music, let it be opera, is not part of everyday life, was a big challenge for the students.

The project was received with great enthusiasm by inhabitants, the public and singers.


  1. Having seen something of this project on film, I have a sense of just how brave and visionary the idea for this project was. It took real risks in its development, and needed strong leadership. At the same time it seems that the students were well able to engage in the project – it was not a big problem for them.