Brixton opera company’s two strong new voices to promote diversity

opera performance
Pegasus Opera Company in action

Pegasus, the Brixton-based diverse opera company, today (18 May) welcomed two celebrated artists as new patrons.

It said actor and singer Sharon D Clarke MBE and Roderick Williams OBE, Royal Philharmonic Society singer of the year in 2016, are admired across the performing arts industry.

“We are delighted to welcome them as they bring their experience, insight and advocacy to take forward Pegasus’ work in championing diverse artists in the industry,” the company said.

Artistic director Alison Buchanan said: “Pegasus stands for ‘harmony in diversity’ and, through the generous commitment of time from our patrons, we will continue to press for action in amplifying the voices of diverse artists and fill the stage with ever more diverse talent.”

She said the two would bring a “compelling” blend of artistic experiences from the top of the theatre and opera world.

“I am delighted to have these wonderful humans alongside my staff and trustees as the company continues with the mission of our founder Lloyd Newton.”

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Roderick Williams

Roderick Williams said: “I am so excited to become a part of Pegasus Opera in their effort to extend the reach of this glorious art form, supporting those from neglected communities through this music, and encouraging emerging talent from wherever it may be found.

“While it feels as though the conversation surrounding race and ethnicity in western classical music has reached an important milestone, there is still a mountain of work to be done.

“I would like to be a part of that work and look forward to doing so as a patron of Pegasus Opera.”

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Sharon D Clarke

Sharon D Clarke said: “I am very proud to be a patron of Pegasus Opera Company who are trailblazers paving the way for diverse artists in opera.

“Having worked with Lloyd Newton and Alison Buchanan many years ago, I am proud to see how Pegasus Opera has grown and the strides this company has made as they tirelessly advocate for equity in the arts.

“Pegasus Opera Company’s mission of putting diversity at the forefront is so important and, as a performer myself, I know how vital it is that we support these organisations.

“Pegasus Opera goes from strength to strength and I am thrilled to be a part of this.”

Christina Christou, head of development at Pegasus, said: “To have such luminaries join us at a moment when the currents of positive change are so tangible is perfectly in time with the plans we have for securing equity across the opera landscape.

“These individuals have strong voices in the entertainment industry and their formidable momentum will brings us ever-closer to a greater inclusivity.

“We are delighted embark on this journey with powerful advocates of such stature”.

Pegasus, a charity, has three aims:

  • to provide opportunities for artists of diverse backgrounds
  • to promote opera among young people in under-served communities to expand their cultural horizons
  • to promote opera in culturally diverse communities for all ages.

Next year the company will celebrate its 30th anniversary.

Pegasus plans to launch its live performance season this year with a two-night concert at the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Theatre on the 16 and 17 July.

Presented in association with the Royal Opera House, Mami Wata will illuminate the rich and varied works of Black women composers.

The concert will feature music from established British composers Bushra El-Turk and Errollyn Wallen, alongside music by Nkeiru Okoye, Lettie Beckon Alston, Dorothy Rudd Moore and Nahla Mattar, including UK premieres of unheard work. Tickets from the Royal Opera Houses go on sale on 27 May.