Sunday, 19 January 2014

To Hell and Back with Orpheus

English Pocket Opera's Ring project in 2011
English Pocket Opera's Ring project in 2011
On Tuesday 21 January, English Pocket Opera are performing Gluck's Orpheus and Eurydice at Central St. Martin's School of Art as part of an on-going project there designed to open opera up to students at several different levels of their education: from undergraduates to primary school pupils. This is the 7th year of English Pocket unique collaboration - between an undergraduate course within an art school, an opera company, a theatre and several London schools. Students from Central St. Martin's will be engaging with all aspects of the design process and to realise their design ideas. Children and young people get to work with undergraduates and everyone gets to work with professional singers and theatre practitioners.

To Hell and Back with Orpheus is at the Platform Theatre, Kings Cross from 21 to 26 January 2014. In addition to the schools matinees and evening perfomances, there are family performances on Sunday 26 January. The event is a promenade operatic journey where the cast of professional soloists journey to Hell and back through the new Central St. Martin's building. There are 9 scenes, each designed by different up and coming designer, each one in their final year of the BA(Hons) Performance Design and Practice Course.. The cast includes Paul Featherstone as Orpheus and Pamela Hay as Eurydice.

The event is part of a 2013/14 project with the Camden Music Hub (55 schools, Camden Music Service, the OAE and EPOC). The project has already involved over 15,000 school children and culminates in a performance of a shortened version of Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice at the Royal Albert Hall with choirs and orchestras from 55 schools in March 2014.

Founded by Mark Tinkler in 1993, English Pocket Opera creates opera for, by, and with children and young people; offering them opportunities to work closely with professional artists, participate in singing, acting, musical composition, art and design. They work with over 50,000 children per year in 300 schools. Previous projects have included Ambroise Thomas Hamlet which was seen by over 1000 children who then went on to write their own piece based on it, and Wagner's Ring Cycle done in 90 minutes!

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