Across The Sky

Image: Still Moving

Across The Sky

10 months of workshops, rehearsals and intensive planning culminated in one of the most exciting events ever produced by Cheltenham Music Festival – a brand new, specially-commissioned community opera in July 2019.

Across the Sky was the final phase of a five-year community project in and around Hester’s Way in West Cheltenham. The opera told the touching story of a family in turmoil relocating to Cheltenham from Eastern Europe. The story, the songs and the music were co-created by children and young people in local schools and members of the newly formed community choir Local Vocals.

They all helped bring the story to life in two sold-out performances on Sunday 14 July 2019 alongside the Gloucestershire Youth Chamber Ensemble #Inspire and an amazing team of soloists. The audience comprised core Music Festival-goers together with family and friends of the cast, chorus and creative team, many of whom had not visited Cheltenham Music Festival or Cheltenham Town Hall before, let alone watched an opera.

Everyone involved, from the creative team to the soloists and chorus, really rose to the occasion and delivered two unforgettable and very special performances.

Behind the scenes of our Community Opera

Wow! It really was proper opera!

Audience member

I was expecting a wonderful show, but it exceeded all expectations. The children were brilliant & the orchestra magnificent. Well done.

Audience member

I was amazed that we were able to learn and perform a totally new opera.

Singer, Local Vocals

It’s been wonderful to be part of a project which was both satisfying musically and also had a sense of contributing something worthwhile to society.

Suzie Purkis, Soloist

Read more about the synopsis, key facts and feedback about the project here.

The Community Opera has been awarded funding from the National Lottery and the Foyle Foundation


The creative team: Composer and Musical Director Michael Betteridge, Librettist Miranda Walker, Director Bryn Holding, Conductor Glyn Oxley, Soloist and Singing Workshop Leader Gina Baker. Project delivery: Project Manager Philippa Claridge and Project Coordinator Shirley Halse.