Take 5 Project
No this was not a concert based on Dave Brubeck’s most famous composition...
This was based on an altogether different art form bringing together 5 music hubs in a brand new collaboration. This three day opera course at the end of July, was organised by the Royal Opera House and targeted at students from the Thames Gateway Region of Thurrock, Havering, Barking and Dagenham, Essex and Southend.
Carmen - Bizet’s signature work was chosen as source material for the summer school which brought together 83 young musicians, 25 professional musicians, two professional opera singers (Katy Batho and Darron Moore) and the conductor Tim Murray who pulled everything together.
The students had the opportunity to explore the themes of Carmen from Micaëla’s angle; the challenges she faces as she watches Don José change before her eyes, and the decision she makes to confront him. As well as performing 5 of the most well known pieces from the opera the students also had the opportunity to create their own music in response to specific events in the plot.
The three days were particularly intense with much material to be covered and it was fascinating to watch the students from such a wide geographical area respond so positively and work together with such a sense of purpose. On the first morning students sat around the edges of the meeting room studiously avoiding making eye contact with anyone they didn’t know. By the morning of day three they were greeting each other as old friends would and there was a definite buzz in the air.
Things really came together in the Sitzprobe (a seated rehearsal featuring both the cast and orchestra). The arrangements created by Martin Ward were so cleverly created that, whatever the instrumentalists’ age or ability, our young musicians could each contribute to the music making. The professional musicians from the ROH and Hubs were there throughout to support, mentor and offer top tips!
The final performance to a packed auditorium was truly inspirational and all the more remarkable due to the fact that none of the young musicians had seen the music before the course started. The audience response and subsequent feedback has left no doubt that this type of partnership working bring young people and professional musicians together is highly valued and that Opera is still as relevant in today’s society as it has ever been.
Posted by Thurrock Music Services on August 1, 2013