MY STORY Unlocking the passion for opera

On November 5 the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama launches Opera 360, an MA course designed to develop and nurture a passion for opera in music students and through them the wider public. Its leader is James Lea

How did Opera 360 come about?

We’ve recognised that many people have a strong desire to immerse themselves fully in the world of opera, and we wanted to offer a course that allows students to engage with that world, really to see how one of the most complex of all art forms is brought to the stage.  We wanted a course not about texts but about people – the people who make opera happen.


Who is Opera 360 for?

Opera 360 is for anyone who has a deep love of opera and wants to experience it through the eyes of those who work in the industry.  Because Opera 360 offers the opportunity to examine practice across every aspect of the industry, the course is also designed to appeal to those who might want to work in the opera industry, or are already and would like to deepen their knowledge.


What’s special about it?

As far as we know, there is nothing else quite like this offer today. We are excited to bring a new way of looking at the world of opera, and hope that the course will also offer students a platform to innovate within the industry.


Is opera still relevant today, and if so why?

Opera is the most malleable of art forms, reaching diverse audiences in myriad formats.  Its power to tell stories new and old is unrivalled.  Opera is used imaginatively to break down boundaries – the heightened emotions of opera bind people together in ways difficult for any other events to match.


How people can get involved?

Students can find out more information about the course on the RWCMD website, or by contacting the College Admissions department.


How do you want to develop Opera 360?

We have extensive contacts throughout the industry who are excited by the possibility to share their knowledge with students. Every module will include lectures and talks by expert guest speakers, and will also be led by lecturers who themselves are leaders in the industry.

The online experience will allow students a flexibility that would not be possible otherwise. The nature of the offer means that students from anywhere would be able to continue working in their own environments and still participate fully on the course.


How do you see opera changing in the future?

I think opera and opera companies will become ever more inventive in the ways they interact with their communities, and in the forms through which they reach new audiences.  “Opera” already means so many different things, whether it’s presented on a barge floating down the Thames, or in a traditional house.  I think this flourishing of forms will continue at pace – it’s incredibly exciting.




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