Friday 5 February 2021

Garsington Opera announces two new operas for community performance in 2021 and 2022

Garsington Opera has announced two major opera commissions for 2021 and 2022, both for community performance with professional soloists. John Barber's The Selfish Giant (with a libretto by Jessica Duchen) will be premeired by the Garsington Opera Youth Company in July 2021, and Roxanna Panufnik's Dalia (with a libretto by Jessica Duchen) will be premiered in Summer 2022 by a company consisting of local participants together with emerging artists. Both works will be directed by Karen Gillingham, Garsington Opera's creative director, learning & participation.

Garsington Opera Youth Company gives young people the opportunity to develop singing, creative skills, stage experience, experience backstage roles and theatre design. It is open to all; fully funded places are awarded to successful auditionees who don’t need any previous training or experience.

John Barber's The Selfish Giant is based on Oscar Wilde's story; the work is a co-commission with Opera North. Garsington's production will feature 90 members of the Youth Company aged 7-25, performing alongside young professional singers.

An excerpt of the music, Our Haven (see video above on YouTube), was recorded and performed by the Youth Company during the first lockdown in the summer of 2020. To produce the film, 93 young people worked with filmmaker Claudia Lee, director Karen Gillingham and vocal directors Suzi Zumpe & Lea Cornthwaite. They learnt songs from the piece and filmed themselves on their own devices and talked to camera about their ‘Haven’ during lockdown.

Roxanna Panufnik's Dalia centres on young girl of 12 who arrives in Britain as a refugee from Syria having lost her family in traumatic circumstances. The opera has been commissioned by Garsington Opera to engage local participants of of all ages from diverse backgrounds in community performance. The objective is to use music and drama as tools for social integration over three years (2021-2023) in our diverse local communities, uniting participants to work together across perceived boundaries of race, faith, age and rural locality. 

This builds on Garsington Opera's successful community performances of the last 10 years where it has built partnerships with 16 local state schools. Dalia follows Garsington Opera's highly successful community performance of Roxanna Panufnik and Jessica Duchen's Silver Birch in 2017.

Further details from the Garsington Opera website.

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