AFTER more than a year of lockdown frustration, members of York Opera are hoping to be able to start live rehearsals in the next few weeks.

Covid permitting, they hope to stage a production of Mozart's The Magic Flute at York Theatre Royal in November.

"I am delighted that we may be able to resume singing in the next few weeks," said York Opera chairman Paul Richardson. "It is 15 months since we were last able to sing together and everyone is looking forward to being able to meet again. We have completed a Risk Assessment. As soon as we get the go-ahead – we are ready to go!"

York Opera would normally have staged a major production in the York Theatre Royal last autumn, and minor productions in the National Centre for Early Music in Spring 2020 and 2021. Now all their focus is on this November.

The choice of The Magic Flute - Mozart’s last great operatic masterpiece - was deliberate.

"The Magic Flute... has several wonderful solo roles but a limited commitment for the chorus," a spokesperson for the group explained. "Not knowing what restrictions might apply, it seemed a sensible, yet popular and rewarding choice."

Though no date has yet been fixed, opera members say they can't wait to get back into rehearsals.

"It will be so brilliant to be able to get back together again and to sing and perform – and it will be wonderful to see all our friends and colleagues whom we haven’t seen for such a long while," said mezzo soprano Rebecca Smith..

John Soper, who is designer and stage director for the production, added: "As a company we have really missed singing together. Let’s hope it all happens soon - with a bit of magic!"