Student Work Wows At Opera Festival

15 August 2018

Designs created by recent BA (Hons) Illustration graduate Sophia Watts will be used in the promotion of Northern Opera Group’s annual Left Bank Opera Festival.

The Left Bank Opera Festival is an annual event, drawing audiences from across the UK for a celebration of rare operas. For the 2018 festival, students from Leeds Arts University were asked to consider the long and sometimes contentious relationship between Western Opera and music and stories from Asia, creating artworks that would reflect this tension, but also attract and engage potential audiences to the festival.

Sophia’s winning submission drew on key themes from the three operas to be performed at the festival: ‘The Original Chinese Conjuror’‘Calcutta’; and ‘The Yellow Princess’; finding ways to marry these through her work. She told us she loved working on the brief because of its theatrical nature, having always loved performance and the imagery used within it.

Her designs impressed the judges, who voted unanimously to use her work to promote this year’s festival.

David Ward, Artistic Director, told us:

“We received many excellent and diverse entries; however Sophia Watts was the unanimous choice of Northern Opera Group and Left Bank. We felt that Sophia had really spent time getting to understand the Festival and the operas we're producing this year, and she produced a scheme which would promote a strong unifying visual identity for the Festival, but that could also be adapted to each individual opera.”

Sophia was awarded £500 for her submission, and her work can now be seen across the city and online for the Left Bank Opera Festival 2018.

Speaking of her experience, she said:

“I was thrilled to be told that the Northern Opera Group and Left Bank had chosen my work to promote their festival. It has been a brilliant opportunity for me to work in a professional setting, as well as having the freedom to express my visual voice. My work is often based on historical and cultural subject matters, elements of which I put into the artwork.”

Tom Dixon and Connor Hastie were chosen as runners up, and work by all three students will be on display at a free mini-exhibition held at Left Bank between 22 and 26 August as part of this years’ opera festival.

This is the first time students from the University have had the chance to collaborate with the Northern Opera Group to create designs for the festival, but it is an opportunity Artistic Director David Ward would like to repeat:

“It's been a pleasure working with the University and Sophia, and we thoroughly intend on running the competition again next year!”

Find out more about the Left Bank Opera Festival 2018 here.