A voice for babies and toddlers
What is 'Stolen Moments'?
B’Opera’s short animated film about babies separated from older relatives during lockdown uses young children’s voices woven into newly composed music in a beautiful soundtrack by composer Chloe Knibbs. With hand-drawn animation by Samantha Clark, ‘Stolen Moments’ tells the story of lockdown from the point of view of Baby Leo and his great grandmother Merine. Merine suffers from dementia but dotes on Leo, and without his regular visits she became low. Lydia was able to capture and send us a video of their reunion, inspiring this heartwarming story, produced by Emilia Moniszko of Blunt and Brave.
Why we made the film:
Three years ago, B'Opera started with the question "What would happen if someone made opera inclusive for babies and toddlers - of all backgrounds - and their families, in Birmingham?" Three hugely successful years later, we know the answer. So when lockdown happened and live sessions stopped, Zoë wanted to find a way of continuing B'Opera's mission. 'Stolen Moments' was conceived as a way for families to explore and process the trauma of separation and isolation that this pandemic brought. It was also a way to quite literally give babies and young children, often excluded from grownup art, a voice in an artistic project. And finally, we wanted to find a way of maintaining a connection with the diverse, amazing and vibrant community that has come together around B'Opera over the last three years.
What the participants say:
"That's very emotional. Leo and his great grandmother have such a strong bond and you've really captured that. Thank you so so much for doing this."
- Lydia, 'Stolen Moments' participant
"A positive experience which opened the conversation with my family around being physically separated from one another and how this made us feel. The thought of being part of a collective and considering how others feel was also thought provoking and had a positive impact on us."
- Rebecca. 'Stolen Moments' participant
"I love how you are combining the old generation with the new generation."
- Sarah, 'Stolen Moments' participant
"This feels like her voice will be stored in a time capsule. It opened up conversations with grandparents who were interested in the project and they reflected to me about how my childhood voice has been lost."
- Dawn, 'Stolen Moments' participant
“Zoe, you will never know how much I appreciate you and everything B’Opera has done for me since I became a mum. I’ve been so overwhelmed since having my little one, and my emotions can run wild sometimes so when I think of you and the team it brings me joy and calmness that is hard to describe.”
- P, B'Opera regular and 'Stolen Moments' participant
Meet the participants
The soundtrack for this film was created using recordings of babies' and childrens' voices
Merine & Leo
featured in the film
Baby Leo is a regular at Birmingham Hippodrome B'Opera sessions. His great grandmother Merine suffers from dementia but dotes on Leo and looks forward to his regular visits. Unable to see him, she became low during lockdown. Leo's mum Lydia was able to film their touching reunion, and the family kindly gave us permission to use the footage in 'Stolen Moments'.
We would like to thank everyone who took part
Meet the creators
B'Opera Founder and Director Zoë is a Birmingham-based performer and educator. She worked as Choral Director for 8 years at Junior Trinity Laban Conservatoire in London, runs multiple singing projects with Welsh National Opera, including early years sessions for refugee families, and through B'Opera, introduces the magic of opera to thousands of young children each year.
25-year-old artist/animator Sam graduated from De Montfort University, Leicester in 2019 with a first class animation degree. Since then she has worked on a number of projects and has recently joined the team at Crosscut Media - a video production company based in Leicester - as their Animator / Motion Graphics
View Sam's portfolio and her beautiful 4 minute animation 'Lone' here
Chloe's compositions have been included in the British Music Collection, and include works for opera and music theatre, orchestra, chamber music, art song and choir. Her music
has been featured on BBC Radio 3 and performed by a number of ensembles including the Riot Ensemble, Birmingham Opera Company and Project Instrumental. Chloe's work has also received support from PRS Women Make Music Scheme and Jerwood Arts.
Wai Sum Chong
A graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Wai Sum Chong likes to combine the two strands of her specialisms as a classical pianist and dance musician into her work as a music educator. She is the founder-director of Rhythm Circle, a music education initiative based on multi-sensory methods.