Dr Anne-Marie Czajkowski, Research Assistant to the DARE Academic in residence Prof. Karen Burland-Clark, gives us an update on what she’s been up to in recent weeks.

“We’ve had a great time observing rehearsals at Opera North and meeting some of the chorus and orchestral members. It’s been a very interesting project finding out about their experiences over the last year and everyone has continued to be very pleasant and helpful no matter where we seem to end up in diverse corners of the building. Since the last update, we’ve observed both studio and stage rehearsals for Rite of Spring, Magic Flute, Katya Kabanova, and Gianni Schicchi. One aspect that has really stood out is the diversity required from everyone who works with Opera North on the musical side. It’s been fascinating to see how different people adapt to different musical styles from different periods and genres, and often at the drop of a hat!

The first part of our observation year was directed more towards the opera chorus and their rehearsals and the second part towards the orchestra. The interview schedule has also mirrored this focus. It has been particularly interesting to see all the different pathways that people have taken before joining Opera North. The orchestra have mainly reported similar educational pathways, although some have spent a fair amount of time freelancing between their tertiary education and joining Opera North. The singers, on the other hand, have described coming from a wide variety of backgrounds and barely anyone has followed the elusive “traditional pathway”.

We hope to start taking the information that we have gathered, find themes within the data, gather the themes together, and start to make a report of the findings. However, we could not do all this without your input so many thanks to everyone who has talked to us, taken part, and allowed us into your lives. Have a great summer!”

An ethnographic study of Opera North: Artistry, community, identity. With Professor Karen Burland (DARE Academic in Residence) and Dr Anne-Marie Czajkowski (Research Assistant).



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