The Black British Classical Foundation is a charity trying to address the situation where ethnic minorities are underrepresented in the field of Opera, and the classical arts in general.
Across society, powerful role models can inspire future generations, whether it is in sport, science, or the arts. By fulfilling this need we hope to encourage minority audiences to see possibilities for themselves, to say, "Yes, I can do that, too!"
Our major project is a biannual competition, "The Voice of Black Opera" for BAME singers from the British Commonwealth. This competition, supported by the Royal Opera House & Wigmore Hall, has the potential to change the lives of the winners. Twenty singers will be brought to London and after a series of heats are reduced to six, who will each perform a twenty minutes programme with a full orchestra at the Gala Finals.
The previous winner was Elizabeth Llewellyn from Jamaica who has gone on to sing a number of prestigious roles including the lead role, Mimi, in La Boheme with the English National Opera.
On 14 January 2016 John Bercow, the speaker of the speaker of Commons, hosted a special reception for The BBCF where our full programme for the year was presented in the impressive, historic surroundings of Westminster Palace. 2016 will be a challenging and exciting year for the Black British Classical Foundation. We will present from small recitals to a large three day outdoor music festival, in so doing achieving our aims of taking Opera to new audiences and venues.
"I commend the Foundation's efforts to engage and inspire both new performers and new audiences, bringing opera to many more and adding to the richness and diversity of British culture."John Bercow - The Speaker of the House of Commons
On 2 March 2016 we will be hosting an evening of operatic arias, duets and song at Covent Garden's legendary St Paul's Church. Tickets are just £20 (plus booking), and the evening will provide a showcase for two of Britain's finest black operatic talents in beautiful and historic surroundings.Purchase
As one of opera's most controversial artists, Grace-Melzia Bumbry continues to make headlines. With a 50-plus year career she is phenomenally preserved. Critics and audiences around the world continue to cheer this celebrated artist, who garners remarkable coverage and incredible ovations with reviews praising her as a national treasure, spectacular, spiritual and magnificent.
Former MP Paul Boateng became the UK's first mixed-race Cabinet Minister in May 2002, when he was appointed as Chief Secretary to the Treasury by Tony Blair. Following his departure from the House of Commons, he served as the British High Commissioner to South Africa and was introduced as a member of the House of Lords in 2010.
Trained at Birmingham Theatre School as an Actor and Teacher of Speech and Drama, Vincent has worked extensively in repertory companies including The National Theatre, and the West End. Vincent was the creator of the first Black Soap Opera - "Brothers and Sisters" on BBC2, before going on to become a successful entrepreneur, sponsoring the Brixton Open an Arts Competition from its conception. Now a campaigner, The Black British Classical Foundation is a continuation and expansion of the work Vincent began in those early days, and is now set to culminate in the Voice Of Black Opera.