THE artist who was the driving force behind a project which saw one of the town's parks renamed is to return to help people deal with their personal problems with the power of music.

Joshua Sofaer, who brought the Your Name Here campaign to St Helens, is looking to engage the community again this time with a scheme called Opera Helps.

The Heart of Glass is inviting applications for the project which sees professional singers visit people's homes and sing to them one to one, aiming to harness the power of opera to help with people's problems.

Joshua, a passionate opera enthusiast, says he finds it has a direct emotional impact on him and sees the initiative as a way of introducing new audiences to his passion and demonstrating the transformative power of song.

"Historically opera was always a popular art form," said Joshua.

"Yet now it is seen as something highbrow, for the rich and highly educated, inaccessible to most people. By relocating opera to the home and relating it to personal problems I truly think we can introduce people to the music who wouldn’t otherwise have given it a chance."

People who have a problem, which can be anything that they find worrying, can apply. The singer listens to their troubles, and selects something suitable to sing.

This is the first time Opera Helps has been presented in the UK having previously took place in Stockholm, Sweden where Joshua developed the project.

Performances will take place between Wednesday, April 20 and Sunday 24 and will last around 30 minutes and are completely free. Afterwards a suggested 'opera menu' is provided and a list of places where people can seek further help with their problem if they wish to.

A pool of nine professional singers are being specially trained by Joshua to listen appropriately and, not to offer advice or counselling, but to empathise and ask simple, open questions.

Anyone in the borough can apply by phone on 01744 623290 or online via Applications will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.