”I have had the enriching opportunity of being a DARE Publication intern at Opera North. Under the wise guidance of the Editor, Stuart Leeks, I witnessed a part of the captivating world of opera, having had little knowledge of it before, and experienced a series of eye-opening moments that expanded my horizons. From watching dress rehearsals to contributing to the coordination of programmes, every experience has enriched my understanding of the arts and left an indelible mark on my professional growth.

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One of the many highlights of my internship was the opportunity to attend dress rehearsals of the operas, where my expectations and preconceived notions of opera were transformed. Leoš Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen in particular had me completely engrossed in its enchanting world. The combination of stunning visuals, powerful vocals, and variety of artistic forms left me in awe. This brought a newfound appreciation for opera’s range and depth. Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca also amazed me, so much so that I saw it twice, bringing friends with me once it opened to show them!

An experience that allowed me to engage with opera viewers was assisting in a Q&A session for an Inside Opera event for The Pearl Fishers. It was a privilege to witness the discussions between the expert guest speakers, including Matthew Eberhardt, the director. The attendees’ questions opened the conversation into intricacies of the opera world that I had never thought of. Being part of this exchange of knowledge and ideas not only deepened my own understanding, but also highlighted the sense of community and connection that exists in the world of opera.

While the grand performances and behind-the-scenes glimpses were undeniably awe-inspiring, it was the day-to-day tasks of coordinating programmes alongside Stuart that truly broadened my skill set. Collaborating with an experienced editor like Stuart offered insights into the breadth of arts organisations. I gained a newfound appreciation for the editorial elements that bring programmes to life understanding how meticulous attention to detail and a keen eye for aesthetics can enhance the overall audience experience.

Within the routine tasks and responsibilities, I found many opportunities to grow my skill set. From proof-reading to refining my communication abilities, working alongside Stuart provided a nurturing environment for personal development, and he was always ready to answer any and all questions I had with incredible depth and knowledge. I really appreciated the effort to adapt the experience to my personal interests. For example I was able to have a discussion with one of the marketing team’s officers Katie Lear about what a career in marketing looks like and received invaluable advice on how to kickstart a career in the sector.

My time as an intern at Opera North has been nothing short of transformative. The privilege of watching breath-taking performances, expanding my knowledge of the arts and contributing to the company’s operations has enriched both my personal and professional growth. Having completed the internship in the final year of my English Literature degree, I can confidently say it has provided me the much needed understanding of what type of career I want to pursue, and shown me the diverse possibilities of a career in the arts. I am grateful to Stuart and the entire team for welcoming me into their world and equipping me with essential skills and insights. This immersive experience has allowed me to combine my degree with a passion for the arts and ignited a desire to contribute further to the rich tapestry of the opera world.” – Hannah Clarke, English Literature (International) student at the University of Leeds.

We wish Hannah the best of luck with her studies and what the future has to offer her.

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