Monday, 7 March 2016

The Glass Knight - Saffron Hall's first opera commission

Saffron Hall - The Glass Knight - Philip Sunderland
Saffron Hall, the concert hall which combines an international concert season with being part of Saffron Walden County High School in Essex, has a strong learning and participation programme and in celebration of this they have commissioned Essex-based Philip Sunderland's opera The Glass Knight, (with a libretto Gareth Prior) the hall's first opera commission. Produced in partnership with Saffron Walden County High School, the performance will involve 300 school children, who will be joined by a cast of professions. Philip Sunderland is the music director and Anna Moorhouse and Benjamin Occhipinti, with designs by Neil Irish.

104 students aged 11 to 18 will be performing, with 80 students in backstage roles, along with 190 under-11s from local primary schools, in addition to two professional singers and a twenty-piece orchestra blending professionals with the school’s finest instrumentalists. Young people are involved in a number of backstage and production roles including technical, stage management, marketing, prop and costume-making and front-of-house.

Philip Sunderland is music director of W11 opera and has conducted numerous productions for English Touring Opera including the recent Tales of Hoffmann (see my review). The Glass Knight is based on the local legend about a mysterious knight who saves Saffron Walden from a basilisk.

The opera runs from 9 to 12 March 2016, full information from Saffron Hall website.

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