On November 26 2017 the curtain fell on GrowOP! 2017 after a vibrant fortnight full of activities, leaving us looking towards GrowOP! 2019.
The first Danish opera festival dedicated entirely to young audiences proved to be a roaring success, with most activities and performances sold out. The programme comprised of 55 activities and performances at 20 different venues in 6 different municipalities and towns in Central Denmark, thus proving that European Capital of Culture Aarhus 2017 is an important international culture event not only for the city of Aarhus, but for the region as a whole.
The motto of Aarhus 2017, “Let’s Rethink” inspired the organisation of the festival as well as the many new partnerships that were forged throughout the creative process.
Performing theatres from four countries and international guests from the UK, Hong Kong, Portugal and Italy joined us during the first week. Shows from no less than four RESEO members were presented with a great number of performances.
In addition, we opened and closed the festival with brand new productions including New Beginnings, an amazing site specific coproduction with young talents from Opera North Youth Choir and Talent U (Den Jyske Opera/Danish National Opera) and as a grand finale Snow White by Operaen I Midten, a main stage young talent production and commission by Broadway composer Paul Schwartz.
The artistic quality of the productions and of the programme as a whole was greatly appreciated. This is the raison d’être of festivals such as GrowOP: the need to develop the quality of opera for children and young people, thus making opera a relevant artform for modern humans of all ages. Education work and audience development activities are essential, but their impact is limited without productions of the highest artistic quality.
A whole evening of inspirational sharing and celebrating was organised with all the artists and creative teams of the participating theatres. Over 40 professionals discussed, shared, presented, toasted and enjoyed being part of a community where every one of the participants shared a passion for communicating with children through art.
The view of the performing artist is often forgotten in conversations between producers, educators, managers, composers and directors, but at GrowOP! Festival we value this perspective and consider it essential to the advancement of the process.
Aarhus 2017 will soon be coming to an end, but for GrowOP! it’s just the beginning! We look forward to welcoming you in the autumn of 2019 and in the meantime wish you all a very merry Christmas and a wonderful and prosperous 2018.
Birgitte Holt Nielsen
Festival director and producer,
Den Jyske Opera/Danish National Opera