Garsington Opera has commissioned a ‘people’s opera’, Silver Birch, designed to be performed by professional singers together with community and children’s choruses aged 8 upwards.
A dynamic creative team has been engaged to create the 70-minute opera including Roxanna Panufnik (composer), Jessica Duchen (librettist), Karen Gillingham (director) and Garsington’s Artistic Director, Douglas Boyd (conductor). The work aims to appeal to the broadest audience of all ages and levels of opera experience.
During the 2017 season the ‘people’s opera’, which is part of Garsington Opera’s Learning & Participation programme, will be performed on the main stage following on from the successful community opera mounted in 2013.
Recruitment of the 150 participants has already begun in local schools and community centres. Devising workshops took place in which schoolchildren and members of the local population joined the creative team to explore the theme of war and its universal impact on families, as well as the significance to them of World War 1. Both the character and poetry of Siegfried Sassoon will play an important role within the piece, connecting the 2017 World War 1 commemorations with modern-day warfare. Performers will include 5 professional singers, 2 child soloists, 50 primary school, 40 secondary school, 30 teenage dancers, 40 adults, 17 professional and 20 youth instrumentalists.