Delea Shand

classical singer, music educator, writer, comedian, actor

Toy Opera

Imagine a world where opera, puppets and accordions exist together... Would it be fun? Would be it funny? Is it worth doing? Well, let's see if it is. This is Toy Opera and that's the world I want to explore. 

I'm Delea Shand. Soprano, new music champion, opera singer, music educator, aspiring puppeteer, accordion enthusiast, and mother of two. That last part is important. Having kids and staying home with them drastically changed the way I could engage with music making. Then one day, I read about this thing called The Artist Residency in Motherhood. And I thought, Great! Is that something I can apply to? Get funding for? Go to and get away from my kids so I can create some work for once? As it happens, No, it isn't. It isn't an escape from Motherhood. It's a re-framing of Motherhood. A way of re-examining your experience as a parent and integrating it into your creative work. A way of taking what's left of your time and using that time-confetti to make something. Which brings us back to Toy Opera and my interests at the moment:  puppets, accordions and making opera with these things - but, actually, not just accordion. Ukulele, toy piano, slide whistle, bells, shakers, drums, tambourines.... all the stuff I have lying around. Stuff I play on with my kids. 

For my first video, I'd like to introduce to you Little Hildy. I made her on a puppet course at the Little Angel Theatre with puppet maker Raven Kaliana. And here she is, in Toy Opera's ukulele remix of O mio babbino caro, by Puccini.