YORK Opera has celebrated its 50th anniversary with a gala dinner at the Novotel, Fishergate, York.

The company was constituted in December 1966 and has gone on to become a vital part of the city’s arts scene. Several founder members attended the October 14 event, including three who went on to enjoy professional careers in singing: Glenville Hargreaves, Barbara Kennedy and Ian Kennedy.

Five members past and present each described one particular decade in the company’s history, recalling some of the group's biggest achievement. Pauline Marshall, who as Pauline Chadwick had a successful career as a professional soprano, spoke about the first ten years, followed by Leslie Bresnen (1976-85), Clive Goodhead, president from 1986 to 1995, and Alasdair Jamieson (1996-2005).

Hilary Dyson, chairman since 2006, brought the story up to date, culminating in the imminent production of Puccini’s Turandot at York Theatre Royal from November 8 to 12.

The golden anniversary gala concluded with Pauline Marshall being presented with life membership to acknowledge her 50 years of service to York Opera.