Meet the Team

Nicola Candlish

Chief Executive

Nicola joined BYO in April 2018. Following a decade as a freelance opera Company and Stage Manager, Nicola moved to the Royal Academy of Music where she was Company Manager for Royal Academy Opera from 2014-18.

Nicola has a PhD in Electroacoustic Music from Durham University and spends much of her spare time volunteering with Girlguiding.


Stuart Barker

Director of Training and Productions 

Stuart Barker originally joined BYO as a trainee assistant director in 1994, and was appointed Director of Training and Productions in 2014. In addition to directing shows and running workshops for BYO, Stuart regularly works with singers at the major UK music colleges. He has a particular interest in combining opera with puppetry.


Lionel Friend

Music Director 

After conducting two productions for British Youth Opera, Lionel was appointed Music Director in 2015. His work as an international opera conductor has taken him to many parts of the globe, including Germany, France, Denmark, Poland, Australia and the USA. For 13 years Staff Conductor with English National Opera, he has also conducted concerts and opera productions at all of London’s music colleges as well as Birmingham Conservatoire and Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.




Charles Lewis

Head of Communications

Charles began his marketing career working in the orchestral world, including roles at the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and London Chamber Orchestra. He has a professional interest in getting rid of the pretension that surrounds classical music and opera.  

Charles joined BYO in March 2019.