My journey to The Opera Story (by Manuel Fajardo)

There is a citation about opera that I love. It goes like this:

“The ingredients of an Opera are Poetry, Music and Images. Through Poetry, one talks to the mind; through Music, to the Ear; through the Images, to the eyes; and the whole must be brought together to speak to the Heart and communicate to it the same impression through different senses” (Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Dictionnaire de musique, 1768)

There are many reasons why I love it. One of them is how it describes so well the richness of opera, its blending of different art forms and its way speaking to all our senses. Another is how relevant and true it is almost 250 years later. It certainly felt true for me when I first went into an opera house, as a young Colombian student in Paris, almost 15 years ago. And it still feels true today.

When thinking about or when telling someone what is so special about opera, one of the first things that comes to mind is that capacity of opera’s stories –and music- to move us today, even if they were written by people that lived in a completely different time and place. Opera’s timelessness and universal appeal are one of its greatest qualities, and they are a useful reminder of how what unites us as humans is stronger than what separates us.

When one discovers something like this, the impulse is to share it as widely as possible. Opera soon became one of the great passions in my life, and the idea to get more involved with it and working in making it more accessible, grew stronger every day.

When I moved to London for a new job (not in opera, but in the financial services industry), I had the chance to meet in Hamish Mackay (who was teaching me how to play the piano) someone equally passionate about sharing opera’s beauty, and from there to deciding one good day to start an opera company, it was just one step, and The Opera Story was born.

With The Opera Story, we want to keep alive the storytelling aspect of opera, and to build on the strengths that have kept it alive and thriving all these centuries. But we also want to look ahead, create new work and tell new stories, and serve as a platform for the talent of a new generation of artists. It has been a great journey so far, and it is great to think that it is just the beginning. We can’t wait to see where it takes us, and to share this journey with all of you…

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