Independent Opera at Sadler's Wells was founded in 2005 to support outstanding young artists in every discipline of opera production. Recognising the need for a programme to bridge the gap between raw talent and a professional career, Independent Opera’s co-founders set out a series of initiatives designed to support and showcase talented artists at the start of their professional careers.
IO’s comprehensive programme of artist support was conceived to give artists both financial and professional mentoring support as well as stage experience. Designed to develop individual talent, the programme, which combines Scholarships, Fellowships and patronage, has awarded 130 grants to artists in the fields of singing, directing, design, choreography and production. IO will further enhance its programme of support by sponsoring the Wigmore Hall/Independent Opera International Song Competition from 2019.
On the stage, IO found a home for its productions at the Lilian Baylis Studio at Sadler’s Wells, providing young singers and opera professionals with invaluable stage experience, presenting Handel’s Orlando (2006), Elizabeth Maconchy’s The Sofa and The Departure (2007), Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande (2008), Šimon Vosecěk’s Biedermann and the Arsonists (2015) and Karl Amadeus Hartmann’s Simplicius Simplicissimus (2016).
IO presents an annual Scholar’s Recital at Wigmore Hall, showcasing the talents of its scholars, who present a broad repertoire of song and opera, including specially commissioned songs from contemporary composers. In April 2019, IO will premiere its first major commission, a new cantata written by composer Joby Talbot. Titled A Sheen of Dew on Flowers, the cantata will be performed in collaboration with Britten Sinfonia at Barbican Hall.