The Birth of Pegasus

 

1992 saw the birth of Pegasus Opera Company, now the leading multi-racial medium sized touring Opera Company in the United Kingdom.

I founded the company following my involvement in Porgy and Bess at Glyndebourne 1986-87 and later at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 1992. The Glyndebourne production of Porgy and Bess had an array of talented black opera singers and then the repeat production at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden had even more.



It was the beginning of a journey for me in the world of Opera. I never knew there were so many black singers and on reflection it was a really exciting time. Although, little did I know at that time that this journey would be such a difficult one and the struggle for opportunities in this, my new chosen field, would be at times almost soul destroying, especially after nearly 15 years as a secondary school teacher. It was like, “jumping out of the frying pan, into the fire”.


 
It was six years between the Porgy and Bess at Glyndebourne and the Royal Opera house, Covent Garden. On reflection, I call it “the great respite”. The birth of Pegasus was directly due to the extremely long gaps between opportunities for me to grow and develop as an artist and I am sure I was not the only one. Let there be no mistake, the world of Opera is a difficult one for all concerned. In my opinion, it was truly a meagre time and still is at times extremely difficult for black and other ethnic minority opera singers, indigenous to Britain.



My thinking was and still is that Pegasus would help us all to have the opportunities to develop and grow in the opera world, creating and ensuring an on-going chance for Black Artists primarily  but certainly not exclusively (evident in all our casting) to perform regularly and not to wait until Porgy and Bess or Show Boat returned to the opera houses.



I believe in breaking down stereotypical racial casting and to allow singers of all ethnic backgrounds an opportunity to play the roles for which they would not normally be cast. I believe that it is only through the nurturing of diverse talents that a new form of cultural harmony can be achieved in the arts, a harmony which encourages talent equally without regard to its cultural heritage or ethnic background.

 


Pegasus aims to model "Harmony in Diversity" by empowering those who are continually marginalised and feel pushed towards the periphery of the opera world. Pegasus seeks to de-mystify opera by making it accessible to as wide an audience as possible, actively involving a cross-section of the community, creating a legacy thus ensuring sustainability for the arts, for future generations.

 

Lloyd Newton

Founder / Artistic Director

Pegasus Opera Company