I see that Gareth Malone is returning to his roots on Sunday, July 22. He is going to direct more than 200 young people from across the country in a special performance on the main stage of the Royal Opera House, having worked with ROH Education since 2005.
The performance is to the world premiere of Hot House, a new music and dance work based upon a key moment in the history of the ROH - the price riots of 1809.
The line up of young performers includes musicians from the Halle Youth Orchestra, Centre of Advance Training (CAT) dance students from The Lowry, The Place and Dance East, and the Royal Opera House’s Youth Opera Company.
The show opens with a special performance by Youth Music Voices - a choir of some of the UK’s most talented young vocalists who will perform Sure On This Shining Night by Morten Lauridsen and Solid Four arranged for Youth Music Voices by Harvey Brough.
Hot House - with new music composed by Julian Grant and libretto by Stephen Plaice - recalls that over 200 years ago, after the theatre had burnt down for the second time, ticket prices rose upon re-opening. That led to protests from audience members during a performance. Then magistrates had to read the “riot act” on stage.
Four professional singers are taking part in Hothouse: Gweneth Ann Jeffries, Heather Shipp, Andrew Rees and Richard Burkhard. They will be joined by four Royal Ballet dancers Gary Avis, Sander Blommaert, Camille Bracher and Thomas Whitehead. The piece is designed by Rhys Jarman, who has worked with five set designers and five costume designers selected from colleges in Thurrock. Local community groups from the Thurrock area, where ROH’s Production Park is, are working to build and make the sets and costumes in time for the premiere on Sunday 22 July.
Sounds a pretty promising event to me. Who says opera is elitist?