01 About US

Harlekin Studio Opera's Mission

Harlekin Studio Opera is a community opera project focussing on providing education in music, opera and allied art forms to each and every person who would like to learn, regardless of previous experience or personal circumstance. Based on the work of Dr. Nell Drew and Aria Alba – Opera for All in Edinburgh, the company will serve the local community, providing a safe place for individuals to grow in confidence and self-knowledge as a valued team member.

We offer weekly workshop sessions to members, focusing on building an Opera Chorus open to participants of all abilities who want to develop skills in this area, and gain experience of work in the profession in a welcoming and supportive environment. We envisage a rehearsal environment where members will work closely together and learn from each other and from our tutors, overcoming the challenges of learning and performing opera as a close knit team. Less experienced singers are be supported by more proficient singers, and are be given the opportunity to perform dynamic and exciting repertoire otherwise elusive to those starting from scratch. Kindness and compassion are at the heart of our motivation for the project and we foster an environment of support and acceptance for all people, regardless of which step of their musical journey they are starting from.


02 Meet the TEAM

Team Members and Trustees

03 Creative Partnership

"Harlekin Studio Opera hopes to work closely with other local theatre groups and institutions, particularly the universities, dance and drama schools, and orchestras, choirs and choral societies. Initially the project will be delivered by our Artistic Director, Robert Hardiment, working with an accompanist or repetiteur, with guidance from Dr. Nell Drew. Later, as the project gains traction we will look to appoint a conductor seeking experience to act as co-musical director and explore the engagement of guest theatrical directors who are building portfolios before embarking on careers in the industry."

Robert HArdiment Artistic Director

Robert Hardiment is an emerging professional operatic Baritone, teacher of singing and conductor. Robert has performed with Newcastle Sinfonietta, Newcastle University Symphony Orchestra, The English Philharmonic and in Monteverdi's centenary celebrations with His Majesty's Sagbutts and Cornetts. Recent roles include: Papageno in W.A. Mozart's Die Zauberflote (Aria Alba, Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2015); il Conte in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro (VoiceArc 2015); and Guglielmo in Mozart's Cosi fan Tutte (VoiceArc 2015). Robert also debuted the roles of Harlekin... more

Nell Drew has sung as a freelance soloist (dramatic soprano)  specialising in the operatic roles of Richard Strauss, Wagner, and the dramatic  operas of Verdi and Puccini with opera companies all over Europe and the US  including Berlin, San Francisco, Venice, Palermo, New York and Boston.  Nell’s performing career has also encompassed the genres of lieder, the symphonic song cycles of Mahler and art song singing with her most specialized interpretive work on this stage being the  lieder of Richard Strauss and the art songs of the early to mid-20th century English composers (e.g. Vaughan Williams, Quilter, Finzi, Head, Warlock, Gurney  etc.).  She now devotes... more

Ian Murray is an Architect practicing in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. With a specialism in housing, his primary career focus and drive is to enable the creation of convivial neighbourhoods which foster a sense of community, respect for the natural environment and resources, and meets one of societies most basic needs - shelter - whilst also striving for that illusive phenomenon - delight!

Ian graduated from the University of Newcastle... more

Award-winning Concert Pianist, Annie Ball, grew up in Northumberland and later went to London to study piano performance to Masters Degree Level. Annie has since moved back to the North East and started a family but also enjoys a busy teaching, accompanying and performing career. She is owner of 'Semibreve Events', facilitator of the 'Newcastle Classical Revolution' ... more 


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Harlekin Studio Opera is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation: No. 1183089. The company is managed by volunteers -  all funds are invested into the company, and into the enrichment of those we serve.


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