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Matt Peacock

The Essay, A Passion for Opera Episode 2 of 5

15 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 01 June 2010

Matt Peacock is the originator of Streetwise, the community opera project for the homeless set up in 2002. A classically trained singer, he reflects on the way opera has changed the lives of people he's met during the past ten years.

Whilst Matt certainly doesn't claim that Streetwise has solved the problems of homelessness, he speaks with passion about how opera is for everyone. He argues that the teamwork necessary in opera is a perfect way of engaging the 600 homeless people around the UK who undertake the weekly opera projects. If you can't sing a solo, you can join in the chorus. If you don't want to sing, you can make props or help with costumes. The massive scale of an opera means that, for his team, there's a role for everyone and a reason to turn up every week.

Over the years, his opera company have received warm reviews for their performances. And the somewhat surprising success of using opera as a means of support and rehabilitation of homeless people is now being tried in other countries.

Producer: Sarah Taylor.



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