A mass grave, containing 51 decapitated Viking skeletons, was found when the Weymouth relief road was constructed in advance of the Olympic sailing events. The road building was delayed, but the event inspired Stephen McNeff's opera-oratorio The Chalk Legend. The work was commissioned by Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra as their London 2012 event.
It has received four performances already in Dorset and now the work is receiving its London premiere on July 14th at The Forum, Kentish Town, NW5. London Concert Choir will be joined by Twyford C of E High School Chamber Choir, Heath Mount School Choir, Kokoro, Dorset Youth Orchestra, Ealing Youth Orchestra, actors from Drama Centre London and soloists Erica Eloff (soprano) and Toby Stafford-Allen (baritone). All conducted by Mark Forkgen. Sounds quite an event!
Stephen McNeff is the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra's former composer in residence and for Chalk Legends he wrote a series of works, starting at village hall level and finishing with a huge performance of the full work in May 2012, a huge Dorset community-based music and dance based project.
McNeff's other music theatre works include Clockwork, an opera based on a book by Philip Pullman, The Gentle Giant, based on a book by Michael Morpurgo, and Tarka the Otter. This latter, which was premiered in 2007, was performed at the 2011 Buxton Festival.
More information from the Chalk Legends website.