Kasper Holten
Kasper Holten

This week at London's Arts Theatre there's an intriguing initiative aimed at boosting new writing in opera, and it's already under way. From November 6th (last Friday) to 13th (next Friday) the Helios Collective is running a series of Formations masterclasses.

The formations in question are three new opera commissions, and the classes are led by, among others, composer Robert Saxton, conductors David Parry and Stephen Barlow, and directors Stephen Unwin and the artistic director of the Royal Opera, Kasper Holten. Since ‘formation' is also the French word for training, the objective is clear: these are page-to-stage masterclasses.

Founded in 2012 by Ella Marchment, the Helios Collective was formed in order to foster and promote new opera productions, and to nurture burgeoning talent.

The three short operas under the public microscope this week are:

Glasstown - composed by Leo Geyer to a text by Martin Kratz. Loosely based on the childhood imaginings of the four Brontë siblings.

The Exile - composed by Solfa Carlisle to a libretto by Gillian Pencavel. It looks at the author James Joyce when he lived in Paris and was estranged from his wife, Nora.

Io Transfigured - composed by Daniel Chappell with words by Dominic Grove. Currently at an early stage of development, it relocates the ancient Zeus/Io myth to a contemporary club environment.

Following the week of masterclasses with audience participation, all three works will be performed at the Arts Theatre on Friday 13 November at 2.00 pm. Tickets for that, and full details of the week's daily workshops, are available from the Arts Theatre.