Vocal Futures’ latest production with The English Concert was a rarely performed gem in Handel’s repertoire, The Choice of Hercules. The evening was also centred around a new work by Toby Young (twice winner of the BBC Proms Young Composer of the Year), specially commissioned for this production to reflect on Handel’s legacy. With a selection of rousing choruses and a sumptuous duet from Solomon, this was an evening of decadence set amongst revellers at Hercules’ 21st birthday party. It enthralled and tantalised the senses ending with Hercules’ choice between Pleasure and Virtue!
Pleasure SOPHIE JUNKER
Virtue RACHEL KELLY
Hercules CHRISTOPHER LOWREY
Attendant on Pleasure NICK PRITCHARD
14 - 15 OCTOBER 2015, 7PM
BRITTEN THEATRE, ROYAL COLLEGE OF MUSIC
Prince Consort Road, London SW7 2BS
Photos from the performance (by Nick Rutter)
more to follow!
On the day of each performance, our Young Ambassadors headed early to the Britten Theatre at the Royal College of Music for an afternoon of workshops relating to our production. This gave them a fascinating insight into the world of a professional opera company and the various things that go on behind the scenes to bring a production together. The 16-22 year olds had the opportunity to learn about how the set was planned and constructed from our Production Designer, Will Bowen, and to meet the Director, Jamie Hayes, to get to grips with his vision of uniting three works, old and new, to create The Choice, and the resultant storyline that was woven around these works. The Young Ambassadors also got to try their hand at production budgeting in an activity led by Vocal Futures' Founder and Artistic Director, Suzi Digby OBE, to get them thinking about the huge number of separate elements, and their cost, which come together in a staged production. The composer of our newly-comissioned work, Toby Young, explained how he had remixed Handel for some of the party scenes in our production and let some Young Ambassadors have a go for themselves on the DJ decks. Katherine Alcock led a session on modernising Handel's libretto in order to help the Young Ambassadors get to grips with the plot in light of the archaic language that Handel set to music. The Young Ambassadors also had the opportunity to meet our soloists and members of The English Concert to learn about their roles in the opera and their instruments, and about life as a professional musician. The interactive elements incorporated into the afternoon proved very popular, especially the chance to try out some of the production props. It is this high level of active engagement which is the key to captivate the interest of 16-22 year olds and introduce them to the world of classical music.
"Everything was amazing and it made me glad to have come on the trip."
"I'd like to see more to broaden my horizons. I discovered an interest I would have never thought I’ll enjoy."
"I expected it to be boring - it was excellent exiting and fresh good for young and mature audience."
"I didn't expect it to be so spectacular."
"Thank you for the amazing experience. Keep up the good work."
"It's an amazing project and I believe in the idea presented."
Photos from the Induction with the Young Ambassadors (by Nick Rutter)