Development Manager

About the Company:

Opera Rara is an award-winning opera company whose mission is to rediscover, restore, record and perform the lost operatic heritage of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Established in 1970, Opera Rara is a charity which engages in musical archaeology, its unique purpose being to recreate neglected opera and to make them accessible world-wide via concert performance, broadcast, digital download and streaming platforms and CD recording. 

Over the past fifty years, Opera Rara has released over one hundred recordings, 61 of which have been of full-length operas. Well over 500,000 CD’s and digital downloads have been sold to an international market. Opera Rara has created 43 new performing editions of operas, bringing rare titles back into the repertoire and creating wider public awareness of many neglected masterpieces. 

Opera Rara has worked and continues to work with singers and conductors at the very top of their field internationally. A young Renée Fleming made one of her first recordings with Opera Rara and the company has formed regular partnerships with the UK’s leading orchestras, including the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, The Hallé, the London Philharmonic and BBC Symphony Orchestra. In 2019, Opera Rara made its first international collaboration with the Orquestra de la Communitat Valenciana on our most recent recording: Anima Rara with the acclaimed Albanian soprano Ermonela Jaho. 

In the past few years, we have achieved unprecedented artistic success, winning the Best Opera Recording at the International Opera Awards for Fantasio (Offenbach) and Les Martyrs (Donizetti) in 2015 and 2016.Although a fraction of the size of most Opera Companies, Opera Rara currently holds the record for the most wins at the International Opera Awards for any company in any category. Our recording of Rossini’s Semiramide won the 2019 International Opera Award for Best Recording, the ICMA Award and the prestigious Opus Klassik award in Germany. In 2018, Opera Rara gave the world premiere of Donizetti’s opera: L’Ange de Nisida at the Royal Opera House in London, and the live recording released in 2019 won the Opus Award for Best Recording in Berlin. 

Under the expert guidance of our new Artistic Director, Carlo Rizzi, we have a four-year plan to record and perform rare, unjustly neglected operatic masterpieces, working with the world’s leading orchestras, singers and conductors. 

Opera Rara has engaged a Fundraising Consultant working three days a month whose role is to oversee, advise and monitor progress on the delivery of our fundraising strategy. The Development Manager works closely with the Fundraising Consultant. They also work as part of a small management team of five, alongside a Director of Finance, a Production and Label Manager, all reporting to a Chief Executive. Press and PR services are provided by an external agency and freelance teams are recruited as needed for our artistic projects. Opera Rara’s headquarters are in attractive offices, next to Battersea Park, London.

The role:

This role is advertised on a permanent salaried basis. Applications for the post from freelance contractors working flexible hours and times remunerated by a daily rate may also be considered. 

The Development Manager implements Opera Rara’s fundraising strategy which includes major gifts and individual giving, corporate donations, grants from public and private bodies, including Trusts and Foundations, and other in-kind sources of contributed funding. The Development Manager leads the planning, management and delivery of Opera Rara’s programme of live and online events, including their presence and promotion on social media platforms, and delivers the design and production of our donor marketing materials.

Main Responsibilities:

  1. In collaboration with the Fundraising Consultant and the Chief Executive, to deliver Opera Rara’s agreed fundraising targets.

  2. Under the supervision of the Chief Executive, to build and maintain relationships with a range of stakeholders and individuals to advance the fundraising goals of the organisation. 

  3. Implement all fundraising activity (donor recruitment and retention, communications, writing bids, reporting) in accordance with ethical fundraising principles and in accordance with the Fundraising Regulator’s guidelines.

  4. Alongside the Finance Director, to monitor, evaluate and report against all fundraising activities to ensure that our fundraising targets are being achieved.

  5. Monitor trends in fundraising and adapt Opera Rara’s strategies as needed to deliver our fundraising targets. 

  6. Devise, manage and oversee the successful delivery of Opera Rara’s programme of live and online events, including the devising, and implementation of donor retention and new donor cultivation events. 

  7. Use the full range of social media platforms to host and promote our live and online events to the widest possible audience.

  8. Deliver the design in both physical and online media of Opera Rara’s donor marketing materials, including, but not restricted to, website material, fundraising brochures, leaflets, newsletters, invitations.

  9. Ensure that all Opera Rara’s communications with donors and other stakeholders are compliant with current GDPR legislation.

Other Responsibilities:

  1. As part of the small management team, to contribute proactively and constructively to Opera Rara’s current and future business plans and artistic projects 

  2. This post will, as required, provide occasional administrative support to the Production and Label Manager to ensure the smooth running of the busy Opera Rara office 

Essential experience and competencies: 

Candidates must demonstrate: 

  • At least two years’ experience working for a professional arts organisation as a member of the administrative team 

  • Proven track record of successful delivery of fundraising strategies and targets 

  • Experience in leading, planning and running live and online fundraising events and other charitable events 

  • Excellent interpersonal skills 

  • Demonstrable experience of developing strong and successful relationships with a wide range of funders, donors, partners and other stakeholders 

  • Knowledge of and enthusiasm for, the operatic or wider classical music sector in the UK and/or internationally 

  • Ability to work collaboratively as part of a small team 

  • Ability to self-organise to deliver a demanding and varied workload according to agreed deadlines and priorities 

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills 

  • Excellent presentation skills and ability to pitch persuasively • Methodical approach to research and planning 

  • Proven experience of using Database applications to support fundraising and events management 

  • Experience and familiarity with using social media platforms as a hosting, marketing and fundraising tool 

  • Computer skills using the Microsoft suite of products, Photoshop and InDesign

Desirable experience and competencies: 

Candidates should ideally demonstrate:

  • Understanding of Gift Aid and tax implications of private giving 

  • Ability and willingness to work occasionally outside normal hours 

  • Experience of producing and promoting recorded audio/visual material e.g. videos, podcasts, Instagram, stories etc. 

During more normal times, the Development Manager will work from our office next to Battersea Park in London. We will be responsive to the Covid-19 situation as it develops and are happy to consider longer term flexible working / working from home arrangements if mutually convenient.

Application process 

In order to apply for the role, please send a letter of application of no more than two pages along with a CV. Please refer in your letter of application to the experience and competencies detailed in this job description, detailing your reasons for applying for the role and the skills and experience that you would bring to this role at Opera Rara. The deadline for applications is Monday 23rd November 2020 at 5pm. 

All applications, which should be in one single PDF document, must be sent by email only please to, stating ‘Development Manager’ in the subject line. 

Interviews via Zoom will be held between 2pm and 5pm on Wednesday 2nd and Thursday 3 rd December 2020. 

For an informal conversation about the role, please contact Henry Little, CEO, Opera Rara at

  • Position: Development Manager 

  • Reports to: Chief Executive 

  • Hours: 3 days a week (0.6 FTE) 

  • Holiday: 25 days (Pro Rata) 

  • Salary: £28,000 to £32,000 (Pro Rata) dependent on experience