It began with open workshops in community halls across County Durham, from ancient places sheltered in mountain valleys to younger ones, grown up around pits that closed a generation ago. Not all those who came had much idea what taking part in a community opera might mean, but they knew they enjoyed singing or music or simply joining in. On the day, they met a team of artists from Opera North: Will Todd, composer; Caroline Clegg, director; Tony Walsh, poet; and Louise Collett, mezzo-soprano. They heard Louise sing the Toreador aria from Carmen, learned to sing and perform a chorus from the same opera, wrote with Tony about what home meant to them, and finally sang their own words shaped into a song by Will. In a couple of hours work, a group of strangers had created a small piece of art that none of them could have imagined, still less made when they’d got out of bed that morning.