Opera for Change was set up in 2011 by Andy Staples, Louis Watt, Poppy Savage and Sarah Harvey. Together with a wider group of volunteers, they are giving their time and energies to make this project happen. Brought together by a common interest in music, story-telling, cultures, communities, travel, and the need to achieve something other than success in their own careers, the team meet regularly in London and keep in close touch from where ever they are in the world.
Andy Staples is an Opera singer and Director. He has a performing arts company called Vignette Productions. Andy sings at Opera Houses such as the Royal Opera House, Hamburg State Opera and La Monnaie in Brussels with conductors such as Daniel Harding, Simon Rattle, Yannick Nézet-Séguin and sings concerts in venues like Wigmore Hall, the Royal Albert Hall, The Philharmonie, Berlin, the Sydney Opera House and the KKL in Lucerne, with orchestras such as the LSO, Berlin Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic and Swedish Radio Orchestra. With Vignette, he has directed and produced touring productions of Le nozze di Figaro, Così fan tutte, La bohème, La Cenerentola; a production of Dido and Aeneas in Wilde Renate (a techno club in Berlin) with Kiez Oper; and a staged concert version of The Magic Flute at the KKL in the Lucerne Festival with Daniel Harding and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. He is a trustee of the Choir of London with whom he works and performs in the Palestinian Territories.
Louis Watt is a consultant with the Boston Consulting Group where he specialises in business strategy, social entrepreneurship and healthcare. He is passionate about the performing arts and has worked on several start-ups in the area, most notably Aurora Orchestra which he co-founded in 2005 and of which he is now Chairman, winning a Royal Philharmonic Society Award for best new ensemble in 2011. Louis is also an executive producer with Vignette Arts and a trustee of the Arab British Centre. In 2011 he was asked to advise on the development of UK arts policy for DCMS and the Arts Council.
Poppy Savage has over 10 years experience of planning and implementing international tours and tailor-made projects for individuals, groups charities and private firms. As Operations Manager for Specialised Travel Ltd, she managed the international choral events for Concerts from Scratch and also designed and co-ordinated bespoke development projects for the Patrons of British Arts organisations including the Royal Opera House, the National Theatre, Academy of Ancient Music and The Hallé. She currently works as a Tour Manager for ACFEA Legato Tours, managing customised concert tours for semi-professional and amateur music ensembles throughout the world.
Sarah Harvey is a strategy consultant who has worked for some of the leading organisations in both the public and private sector. Sarah has worked extensively in Africa, including Uganda, DRC, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania and Senegal. She has previously worked for Diageo and Bain & Company in both London and Africa and has co-founded a charity in Uganda. Sarah holds an MA in English Literature from Cambridge University.
Other key people involved with the organisation include Violinist and Journalist Rosenna East; Event Manager and Producer Alan Doyle; Marketing and Management Consultant Stephen Colgrave and his colleague Karen Mitchell; PR Account Manager Victoria Ford from WildKat PR and her boss Kat Alder; Actor Jack Fishburn; Actor and Director Sophie Hunter; Conductor Daniel Harding; Conductor and Musical Educator Lucy Griffiths; Management Consultant Nicolas Sukitsch. Opera for Change is very grateful to Sir Vernon and Lady Ellis for their support in the early stages of this project.