Monday 20 April 2020

Cast members from productions in the UK & Belgium come together on-line Howard Moody's Push: Marking the 77th anniversary of a significant moment in the Belgian Resistance

77 years ago today, three men from the Belgian Resistance succeeded in raiding a Nazi  railway convoy, carrying 1600 Jewish deportees, with just one pistol; 238 men, women and children jumped off the train transporting them to Auschwitz. Among the escapees was an 11-year-old Jewish boy from Brussels, Simon Gronowski, who was pushed off the train by his mother.

In 2013, Gronowski told the story to composer Howard Moody and the result was Moody's community opera, Push which was premiered in 2016 at Bexhill, commissioned by the Battle Festival and a co-production with Glyndebourne. The opera has gone on to have a number of other performances and productions, including at La Monnaie in Brussels, Salisbury, London and Chichester.

All four productions of Push have drawn together a large community chorus from each of the cities in which it has been performed, together with children from local schools and amateur singers of all ages, actively engaging professional musicians with their local communities.

Now, on YouTube, singers from all four casts formed a giant virtual choir. 150 singers and musicians have recorded themselves in their living rooms singing the finale 'Ma Vie n’est que Miracles', including soloists James Newby, Sheva Tehoval, Tereza Gevorgyan, Ivan Ludlow, Lars Thorkildsen, Ciaran O'Donovan, Eleanor Farmer, Carlos Bruneel (flute) and Howard Moody (piano), mixed by film editor Shogo Hino.

The date of its release today marks the 77th anniversary of the Belgian Resistance's finest moment, the raid on the 20th Convoy. The final scene of PUSH is the moment when all the voices come together to express optimism in a dark world.

You can also catch the full production from La Monnaie in Brussels on YouTube, with James Newby as Simon.

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