About Opera Schmopera
Award-winning artist-producers of ground-breaking participatory projects
About Opera Schmopera
The art form of opera has long been associated with grandeur and extravagance, but did you know that opera can also be a powerful force for positive change? If we remove the expensive settings and old formalities, could we use the opera art form to tell stories that society really needs to hear, see and feel?

Opera Schmopera says - yes! We use opera to tell the stories of brilliant young people in brilliant ways, working with performing arts organisations to deliver unconventional participatory opera projects of all sizes with all kinds of people around the world, in accord with our key values of authenticity, excellence and empowerment.
Opera Schmopera was founded by composer-producer Omar Shahryar (www.omarshahryar.info) in 2016, and has played an active part in the steering committee of RESEO, the European Network of Opera, Music and Dance Education. In 2018 we won an international Young Audiences Music award (Best Opera for Young Audiences) for A Shoe Full of Stars, a comedy opera with and for teenagers about dealing with the effects of terrorist attacks.
Photo credits: Mark Bickerdike | Len Grant
Brian | Silvia Amoroso

Our services
Unique artistic process
In tailoring our artistic process to the needs of your stakeholders and participants, each project is uniquely rewarding and innovative
Top-class performance
We provide artistic performances of world-class quality, based on years of experience producing for the world's greatest art houses
Space for dialogue
We create a safe space for dialogue where every individual can discover new things about themselves and their community
Inspirational impact
Our methodology enables participants and audiences to inspire themselves with their own agency in overcoming new challenges
Training and mentoring
We deliver professional skills training for artists and educators so they can develop their own practice and creative legacy
A meeting of cultures
We facilitate cross-cultural exchanges that bring diverse peoples and traditions closer to one another in harmony
Photo credits: Julian Guidera | Mark Bickerdike | Len Grant
Young Audiences Music | Silvia Amoroso | Robert Golden

in focus
Opera & Special Needs
Omar has delivered workshops for young people with special educational needs between the ages of 8 and 21 years old. He was commissioned by English Touring Opera to work with Ruth Mariner on an opera for children under 5 and adults with learning difficulties. The Extraordinary Adventures of You and Me featured music co-created with SEND students from National Star College, and toured special schools and concert venues in the UK in Spring 2020.

Omar has a wealth of experience working with deaf people, teenagers with Aspergers Sydrome and Autism, seniors with dementia, teenagers at risk of exclusion and adults experiencing homelessness.
Opportunities through collaboration
Working with Opera Schmopera will give your participatory project several key advantages:
Feature #1 - Expertise in participant engagement
Whether with children, adults, professionals or those with special needs, Opera Schmopera has a 100% success rate in delivering enjoyable and inspiring arts projects suited to all participants
Feature #2 - Multi-disciplinary problem-solving
Opera Schmopera's use of music, theatre, visual art and participatory facilitation means each project uses a fresh approach to innovate and stimulate artistic enjoyment
Feature #3 - Intercultural facilitation
We engage artists from who live, work, think and act internationally who are deeply sensitive to all cultures. Building bridges and connecting people is in our DNA.
What our clients say
A Shoe Full of Stars was an ambitious opera with a contemporary and challenging theme dealt with in a courageous and complex way, with the performers clearly enjoying what they were doing. A successful piece of opera all round!
Tuula Jukola-Nuorteva
YAMAward Juror / Head of Education, Finnish National Opera & Ballet
Omar worked with us to create a nurturing environment where participants were encouraged to become increasingly aware of their potential as future creative leaders in Thurrock and beyond. As a director, Omar was insightful and inspiring, enabling each performer to fulfil their potential.
Gabrielle Forster-Still
Heading of L&P Thurrock Royal Opera House
Omar is one of very few individuals able to inspire groups of 40 school children in a morning workshop and a group of 30 adults in the evening, and all feedback from participants, audience and the local press suggests that there is a strong desire to run the project again.

Tim Pottier
Project Manager at Opera North
Watching the final piece performed by our pupils was a very special and powerful moment for us as a school. Their musical ability, dramatic skills and confidence has improved immensely, and there is a tangible sense of pride buzzing in our school community.
Dean Benoit
Assistant Head Teacher, Lansbury Lawrence/Wigmore Hall project
Tell us about your project
Whether you are an individual or an organisation with a full-blown project or the seed of an idea, tell us about it! We would love to discuss it with you
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