Knight Crew Summary Document

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The story of a new opera for young people 2007 – 2010

Gly ndebour ne

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The Glyndebourne Festival was founded in 1934 by John Christie and his opera singer wife, Audrey Mildmay. They began with two Mozart operas, but the repertoire has expanded to include works from the baroque to the contemporary. New works premiered at Glyndebourne include two by Benjamin Britten, 13 new commissions on the main stage and over 20 more through the Education programme. Crucially, Glyndebourne has remained financially independent since 1934. Although it receives valued Arts Council England support for the Tour and Education, the Festival receives no public subsidy. Glyndebourne is a registered charity, funded by box office income, its members and supporters. Today the Festival runs from May to August with a programme of six operas in a world-class 1,200-seat opera house. Together with Glyndebourne on Tour it presents about 120 performances each year to a total audience of around 150,000. Its resident orchestras are the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Glyndebourne began the Tour in 1968 to bring opera to new audiences and create performance opportunities for young singers in the Glyndebourne Chorus. As part of Glyndebourne’s commitment to developing new talent, the Chorus plays a vital role in discovering and training young singers. As part of Glyndebourne’s mission to reach new audiences, it has maintained a widely respected Education programme since 1986. Glyndebourne also offers reduced-price tickets to under-30s for selected performances, and has pioneered the use of recordings to open up its work to a worldwide audience through broadcasts, cinema screenings, DVDs and internet streaming.

Glyndebourne Objectives

An Introduction to the Project On 3 March 2010, Glyndebourne staged the world premiere of Knight Crew, by composer Julian Phillips and librettist Nicky Singer, the latest in a series of new operas designed to be performed and enjoyed by young people and the local community. In total, over 450 people between the age of 11 and 19 engaged with the opera as singers, with 65 of these going on to perform on the main stage at this internationally renowned opera house. They were joined on stage by six professional singers, a chorus of 20 women from the local community, and an orchestra comprising professional musicians and young aspiring instrumentalists. Over the four performances, which included a dedicated schools matinee, the opera was seen by over 4,500 people and received outstanding critical acclaim. The process from introductory workshops to opening night formed the basis of Gareth Malone Goes to Glyndebourne, a three-part documentary broadcast on BBC2 in June 2010, reaching a staggering two million people each week. Through Knight Crew we aimed to: ••

Create a new work that builds on Glyndebourne’s reputation for presenting innovative and groundbreaking work

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Meet our overarching audience development aims by creating an ‘entry point’ work that will attract a diverse audience, many new to opera

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Achieve local engagement with national significance that will raise the profile of Glyndebourne – an opera house that is very much part of its community

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Have a strong educational reach, with participants drawn from local and partner schools and our local community, especially young people from disadvantaged areas

To present opera of the highest quality, exploring and pioneering new initiatives and discovering new artistic talent.

To remain financially independent, without reliance on government subsidy for Festival performances.

To make our work available to as broad an audience as possible through live and digital initiatives and a programme of learning and participation.

To balance well-known repertoire with new and less familiar work, and explore ways of developing the art form.

••

To provide audiences with memorable Glyndebourne experiences, with excellent service, quality and value for money.

Provide vocational learning through the 14 – 19 agenda Creative and Media Diploma and Work Placements

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Create a documentary film and website presence to ensure that the project has greater reach than the four performances at Glyndebourne and raises the profile of the range of work Glyndebourne does.

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To provide a stimulating and inspirational environment for all.


Contents

page 4 page 5 Chapter 1 page 7 page 8 page 9 page 10

Chapter 2 page 15 page 16 page 17 page 19 page 20 page 21 page 22 page 23

Chapter 3 page 25

Knight Crew was made possible by the generous support of a large number of individuals and organisations, including the National Lottery through Arts Council England, East Sussex County Council, Brighton & Hove Music, Arts and Study Support and 3ev. We are extremely grateful to all of our supporters for making this project possible. A full list of supporters can be found at the back of this publication.

Editors: Freya Wynn-Jones and Katie Tearle Photographer: Dave Illman Design: Annie Rushton Print: Evonprint

page 26 page 28 page 30 page 34

Chapter 4 page 35

Foreword Timeline “Reach beyond what you know” The Early Stages How it all began Development Composition

“Together we can shape a new world” The Round Table Project Finding Project Partners Recruiting the Knight Crew and Danny Choruses Knight Crew Chorus Danny Chorus Mothers’ Chorus Orchestra Work-Related Learning

“Knight Crew Legends” The Performances The Rehearsals The Production Process The Performances Audience

“Loyalty now and forever” After Knight Crew

page 36 page 38 page 39 page 40 page 41

Evaluation Legacy The Knight Crew Website Twenty Twenty Television Last Word

page 42 page 44

Further information about Knight Crew Knight Crew Credits and Supporters 3


Foreword

Welcome to this publication celebrating Knight Crew, a new opera for Glyndebourne’s main stage that received its world premiere performance on 3 March 2010. What made this new opera so extraordinary was the journey both Glyndebourne and the participants embarked on. We hope that this publication will give the reader an insight into the process and the people who made it happen. Involving children and young people in performing opera has been part of the canon since Monteverdi’s time – the first known example in England being John Blow (1649 – 1708) whose first through-composed opera Venus and Adonis, involved the boys choir of the Chapel Royal playing cupids. More famously there is a children’s chorus in Bizet’s Carmen (1875) but as we move into the twentieth century opera begins to come out of the opera house and work is composed for children and young people to participate in, either in their school or in other community settings. Pioneering work happens in both Europe and the USA with operas such as Paul Hindemith’s Wir bauen eine Stadt (Let’s Build a Town) (1930) and Aaron Copland’s The Second Hurricane (1936), both of which have children as the main protagonists. The Composer who in Britain has most famously championed children and young people participating in opera has been Benjamin Britten with The Little Sweep (1949) and Noyes Fludde (1958). In more recent years, many opera houses across Europe have commissioned Composers to write operas for children and young people. And indeed at Glyndebourne, it is this strand of work that has been at the forefront of commissioning new work in recent years. The Knight Crew project was initiated by Glyndebourne Education, placing work with young people and the community centre-stage with a new opera commission and a programme of participation and Work-Related Learning. Since 1990 Glyndebourne has commissioned large-scale operas for the community and young people to participate in, in order to build wider audiences for opera. The first community opera involved over 300 people on Hastings Pier and was composed by Jonathan Dove, who went on to write two more community operas for Ashford and Peterborough. The youth operas Misper and Zoë (John Lunn/Stephen Plaice) and the Hip Hop version of Mozart’s Così fan tutte – School 4 Lovers brought the community to Glyndebourne with the operas 4

presented on the main stage and Glyndebourne gained a reputation for presenting innovative and groundbreaking work for and with young people. We began work on Knight Crew in 2007, commissioning Julian Philips (Glyndebourne’s Composer in Residence 2006 – 2009, for his first work post-residency), author Nicky Singer and Director John Fulljames, to adapt Nicky’s novel, Knight Crew based on the King Arthur myth into a full-length opera for six professional singers, youth and community participants and a full orchestra of professional and young players. Keeping with the Arthurian legend we developed The Round Table Project, an umbrella title for a programme of participation workshops to recruit young people and the community to be in the opera and a separate programme of WorkRelated Learning linked to the new Creative and Media Diploma. Working very closely with colleagues from East Sussex County Council and Brighton & Hove City Council we planned a programme of participation workshops across the region in the autumn of 2009. This involved meeting young people from schools, colleges, youth groups and support groups, many of whom had little or no previous experience of the arts. We also ran workshops with our own Youth Opera Groups which we run year-round for over 120 young people. This process was led by Director, Karen Gillingham and Chorus Leader, Gareth Malone. We encountered over 450 young people who wanted to be part of Knight Crew as well as women from the community, who auditioned for the Mothers’ Chorus. Alongside this process was the task of finding an orchestra of young players (Grade 7 and above) to work alongside professional players led by Conductor Nicholas Collon. We also developed a website to support the participation and learning programme at www.knightcrewopera.co.uk


“…one might think that the campaign to widen opera’s audience has been terminally hijacked by showbiz. But that would be to discount the heroic work done by opera-company education departments up and down the country, and above all their brand-leaders at Glyndebourne.” The Independent, Michael Church

Twenty Twenty Television was commissioned by BBC Two to make a three-part documentary series about Knight Crew. Gareth Malone of BBC Two’s The Choir was Chorus Leader, and the series followed him from the audition process to the first night performance.

project was Dr Richard Ings, who captured what was ‘of value’ for the project. His work focussed on the young people from the workshop stage and explored the aesthetic/intellectual, technical, personal and social learning intrinsic in the process as well as the tension between the two, seemingly opposite poles of access and excellence.

Rehearsals began for Knight Crew in January 2010, with a full schedule for our professional Production Team, singers and youth and community participants. Evenings and weekends were given up to this project, with a huge amount of support from parents, carers, teachers and youth workers, enabling young people to develop skills and be part of, what we now know was a life-changing experience for many. Working with us to evaluate this

One of the rules of the Round Table was to seek after wonders and with this project we certainly took up the challenge of the quest and learnt many things on the journey. Katie Tearle Head of Education, Glyndebourne

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Knight Crew set delivered Knight Crew set assembled to Glyndebourne by at Glyndebourne Cardiff Theatrical Services

First Creative Team meeting at Glyndebourne

•Sharing Day held at Glyndebourne to Projection Designer celebrate the recruitment workshops Finn Ross joins the •Orchestra recruitment begins Production Team •Costume designs delivered to Glyndebourne Movement Director Ben Wright Development workshop held with Glyndebourne Youth Opera joins the Production Team •Costume fittings for chorus members begin •Mothers Auditions are held Glyndebourne approached by TwentyTwenty begin filming of TwentyTwenty Television Gareth Goes to Glyndebourne •Production Rehearsals start with choruses and principles Es Devlin’s initial designs delivered •Auditions with principal artists begin to Glyndebourne • Knight Crew micro-site is launched

Development workshop held at The Drill Hall

• Open workshops are held • Round Table Project is launched

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Orchestra Rehearsals begin Stage and Orchestra is held Final Rehearsal is held to a small audience Knight Crew Gareth Malone Goes to opens Glyndebourne 3-6 March aired on BBC2 Mar 2010

• Skills workshops are held • Auditions for Knight Crew / Danny choruses

Oct 2009

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CHAPTER 1 “Reach beyond what you know” (Act 1, Scene 3)

The Early Stages This chapter introduces the early stages of commissioning a new youth opera for the Glyndebourne main stage. It gives an insight into the commissioning process and introduces the Composer, Librettist and Director that made up Knight Crew’s Creative Team.

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How it all began

In the autumn of 2006 Glyndebourne invited Creative Teams to tender for a new commission. We were looking for a new work to excite young minds and promote opera as a relevant art form for young people. We were looking to build upon our reputation for presenting innovative and ground-breaking new work and commission an opera that would be an ‘entry point’ work that would attract a diverse new audience. We were also looking for a project with a strong educational reach so that we could draw participants from local schools and the community; particularly young people aged 14 – 19 years who would not normally come into contact with opera. Glyndebourne’s then Composer-in-Residence Julian Philips, Brighton-based author Nicky Singer and John Fulljames, Artistic Director of The Opera Group, responded with Knight Crew, a re-telling of the King Arthur Legend in a modern gangland setting. The proposal appealed to Glyndebourne for several reasons: the underlying story of the Arthur legend is well known and the subject inherently operatic – with grand themes of passion, loyalty, betrayal and reconciliation; there was an obvious youth connection as the piece asks questions about current knife culture, examines parallels between chivalric ‘honour’ and modern day ‘respect’ as well as touching on young love, social exclusion, the lack of connection between young and old and the ‘Holy Grail’ of something beyond ourselves; it also places a group of young people at the core of its story where the chorus is the central ‘character’, onstage throughout. The Knight Crew proposal was accepted and the first full Creative Team meeting with Glyndebourne was in June 2007.

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Development

Once the commissioning process was complete and the Creative Team was in place, a phase of research and development began. This provided an opportunity for the Creative Team to flesh out their concept theoretically, musically and aesthetically. Knight Crew is based on the novel of the same name by Nicky Singer. The majority of her research had been conducted on a London estate whilst formulating her story. Now was the time to discover how that book would translate into an opera and how young people and community groups would respond with the text and subject matter. The themes and material developed in these workshops provided a starting point and an independent perspective for the Creative Team, contributing to the developing vision of the opera they were creating. This development phase started with a series of development workshops with artists and young people.

In May 2008 Julian Philips, John Fulljames and Nicky Singer ran a workshop with professional singers at the Drill Hall in London, to develop the music and explore the character of the six principal roles. The singers improvised with the text and with music that Julian introduced. This workshop started to develop each character’s musical theme. A month later the creative team ran a workshop with participants from the Glyndebourne Youth Opera programme to realise some of the music, language and drama of the developing piece. The young participants improvised with the rhythm of the text and explored the nature of the harmony and rhythmic profile of the Knight Crew chorus. Nicky also investigated the story and characterisation in her developing libretto. The youth opera participants were able to make candid comments about how they perceived the young people in the Knight Crew story and contribute their own ideas, particularly about youth culture and language. John also worked with the group to explore the physical energy of the gang and how they would interact with each other.

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Composition

Composer Julian Philips reflects on the compositional process of writing the opera Knight Crew. Knight Crew needed to satisfy very specific constituencies, whether a group of 14–19 year old performers, many of whom had little familiarity with singing or opera, a chorus of women with little or no choral experience, or a youth orchestra of varying musical abilities. What such a clear set of resources presents to a Composer is a set of challenges around musical difficulty, performability and the approachability of the basic compositional material. While the professional core of six singers could be relied on to carry a grand operatic narrative with the requisite vocal energy, younger voices needed to be handled differently, both in terms of balance and stamina. From the outset, for example, it was clear that the young people’s material would need to be vocally sympathetic in terms of register, and easily graspable, while the women’s chorus—many of whom were parents of the young people participating—needed to be practical and any harmonic textures easily achieved with simple parallel chords. Similarly, the orchestral writing had to find exactly the right kind of challenge to enable the 38 young players to flourish supported by 32 professionals. All of these factors had to be assimilated into the compositional design without losing sight of deeper creative concerns. The great strength of Nicky Singer’s book is its strongly drawn characters, its bold action and powerful tragic sweep. In terms of the specific youth opera remit, of course, it also crucially places a group of young people at the centre of its story. Knight Crew had the potential to be a ‘chorus’ opera, the chorus is the central ‘character’, onstage throughout, as its young performers were later to recognise: “We had the title role! So we already had a lot to live up to…” “We were the structure of the opera, as all the events happened in or to the Knight Crew.” “We are the moving force behind the opera. We are the ones who affect the soloists and their characters’ lives.” “The chorus brings the story to life and helps narrate the story.” Knight Crew Participants

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The creative opportunity that emerged early on from this chorus-driven narrative was the chance to investigate a traditionally informed grand operatic model, in which the individual experience of its central characters (professional singers) might play out against a canvas of dramatised chorus. The aim was to reanimate traditional operatic values by deploying a neo-Verdian approach in which a high, grand operatic aesthetic could embrace more popular, contemporary musical registers. Certainly on a basic level, this was a question of ‘solving’ the challenges of the commission’s specific performing constituencies; however, more fundamentally, Knight Crew concerned itself with reconciling the grand operatic tradition with late twentieth and twenty-first century contemporary musical practice, while exploiting the different musical registers this implies as a way of building a convincing narrative. Inevitably the ‘popular’ elements in the Knight Crew score relate chiefly to the youth chorus, the Knight Crew itself. The story’s main focus, the Crew is onstage throughout, hence Es Devlin’s remarkable stage design, which suggested council estate as much as climbing frame, and facilitated the gang’s constant presence. As a consequence, the Knight Crew would inevitably be confronted by a very substantial amount of musical material in rehearsal, and the score needed to find a strategy for enabling the young people to confidently inhabit this over two substantial acts. The solution was to respond directly to the practical challenge this presented, while reinterpreting this pragmatic response as an aesthetic principle in relation to building the operatic narrative. The Knight Crew material is thus derived from a precise pool of pitches which then runs as a through line throughout the opera. On a practical level, this could facilitate the learning process by ensuring an intervallic consistency in all the Knight Crew’s music; on a conceptual level, this almost monomaniac obsession with the same basic set, not only suggested the gang’s brutality but also clarified its position in the narrative structure. This approach is not a question of reminiscence themes or leitmotif; rather, a desire to use pitch DNA for character building.

Knight Crew by Julian Philips and Nicky Singer Music Copyright © 2009 by Hinrichsen Edition, Peters Edition Limited, London Text Copyright © 2009 by Nicky Singer Reproduced by permission of Peters Edition Limited, London


Example 1: Knight Crew pitch collection

This Knight Crew cell was first generated from one of the many gang chants written into the libretto. Partially introduced offstage in the Prologue it appears complete in scene one when the defiant gang is first revealed: Example 2: Knight Crew (Figure 20 - 21) 20

20 137 1 E. G 2

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= !5 4 = = = 5 4 = 4 = 5 4 = 5 = 5M 5 55M 5 5M 5 5M 5M 5 5M 5 5M 5 5M ff = 4 5 = !5 = = 5 4 5 = 4 = 5 = = 5 = = 5M 5M M 5 5M 5M E5M 5M 5M

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Example 2: continued

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= 5 G = 5 = 5 5 5 5 M 55M 5 5 5 mf = 4 55 = 5 M 5M 5

Pno.

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= = = = 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 E5 M E 5M5 55M 5 5 5 55M = 5 4 55 = 4 5 M 5M 5M E5 =

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5 = E5 4 55 = 4 = E5 = 5 55 5 5 5M 5M E5 5 M ff 5 = 4 5 = 4 = 4 5 5 5M 5M 5M

55 = 5 = 5M 55M 5 = E5 = 5M E 5M


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21

1 E. G 4 2 155

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1 4 2 1 4 G 2 4

21

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0

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= = = 4 = 4 = 4 = = =E 5 4 = 4 5 5 5 5 5 E5 E5 E5 E5 5M 5M 5M M M 5M 5M E 5M E 5M

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“Philips has never shied away from co-opting contrasting musical styles for dramatic purposes, and his score is a riot of references, taking in popular and operatic lyric idioms in a way that allows seamless interaction between professional soloists and chorus.” The Guardian, Guy Dammann “It’s strong and powerful music that helps you to get into the right mood.” Knight Crew Participant

This core material, its intervallic structure and triadic harmonisation, constitutes one of the central narrative threads of the opera. While it is certainly true that whenever the Knight Crew is theatrically present, this material is treated, it is nevertheless treated more as a pool of pitch shapes, harmonies and melodic material than formalised repetition. Certainly the gang chant quoted above is repeated directly when the drama demands it – most strikingly in the fight between Art and his half-brother Mordec at the end of Act 2 – but elsewhere this pool of pitches is manipulated in a freely developmental way, whether the playful ‘big yard, charge card’ number in Act 1, scene 3 or the orchestral fight sequence Act 1, scene 8 in which the Knight Crew cell is splintered and developed in a symphonic interlude. While conceptually this approach to the Knight Crew music is informed by post-Stravinskyian serial practice, its immediate characterisation deliberately alludes to more popular, vernacular musical styles – Act 1, scene 3 evoking a musical theatre register which resonates with the gang’s obsession with glamour, while in Act 1, scene 6, electric guitars allude to rock music traditions with repetitions of a funky riff derived from the Knight Crew’s basic set. From the outset, no attempt was made to directly refer to the popular musical material that such a street gang might identify with today – the opera’s sense of ‘reality’ needed to remain, paradoxically, poetical – but rather to take on some of the colour, timbre and rhythmic profile of contemporary popular musical practice. Of course, it is in the area of voice that Knight Crew’s different performing constituencies are most directly experienced; the trained operatic voice colliding with untrained teenage singing. Considering the care with which Glyndebourne devotes so many resources to nurturing its choral sound for the main Festival season, a chorus of non-professional women, placed centre stage is a radical gesture. On one level, the mixed sound that results is a given for community-specific work of this nature, even considering the expressive benefits that result: “What you can sometimes get in a community opera like this is something that may be a little crude in the way that it is sung or performed compared to professional, but what the amateur has that the professional sometimes doesn’t is performing as though their life depended on it. So you may not get excellence in terms of artistic standards, as you would with professionals, but a level of emotional involvement that can sometimes exceed what professionals could deliver.” Richard Ings, External Evaluator 14

However, for the purposes of operatic form building this kind of clear differentiation between even contradictory styles of vocalisation is highly valuable. It enhances the musical profile of different characters in the story, allowing the music to achieve a wider range and scope. In Knight Crew, operatic lyricism is inevitably the domain of the principal characters but this grand operatic register is used for psychological ends rather than just being ‘put on’ in an artificial way. Myrtle’s un-reality is enhanced by her heightened operatic lyrical style, the vocal register communicating magic and difference, regardless of whether a line of text has been absorbed by the audience. If the operatic registers of Knight Crew are used to intensify character, so the deployment of two musical theatre voices for Elayne and Lance provides a useful middle ground between operatic and untrained teenage voices. On a social level, this incorporation of a more popular vocal style, one which would be far more familiar to a majority of the young participants, helped to demystify operatic singing and in an invisible way, emphasise that the vocal sound of popular contemporary music is no less stylised or mannered than an operatic vocal sound. Inevitably, youth or community opera can sometimes explore only a very casual relationship to the operatic tradition resulting in a kind of standard musical theatre style under the operatic banner. This is of course a direct consequence of trying to incorporate untrained voices, whether young or adult, into the genre. What Knight Crew tries to achieve is a convincing synthesis of highly trained operatic voice, musical theatre voice and raw, untrained young and adult voices. And in the end, it was the sheer physical impact of the operatic voices that appeared to engage and inspire the young people the most, reinforcing the primacy of opera as lived experience: “How different opera is to what I thought it would be. I thought it was boring but this has changed how I feel about opera. Opera is cool!” Knight Crew Participant

Julian Philips Extract from “Investigating New Models for Opera Development”, September 2010, submitted for a Doctor of Philosophy in Musical Composition, Sussex University.


CHAPTER 2 “Together we shape a new world� (Act 1, Scene 11)

The Round Table Project This chapter discusses the launch of the Round Table Project which was established by Glyndebourne to run alongside Knight Crew. The project was created for two purposes: to recruit young people and community groups to take part in the project, and to involve schools in a series of WorkRelated Learning initiatives. Over the next few pages you will learn more about the stages we went through to find the participants, as well as how other people and schools have engaged with the project.

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Finding Project Partners

In order to start recruiting young people from the local community, Glyndebourne needed to find project partners to work with, including those providing opportunities for young people and the arts. We worked in consultation and partnership with East Sussex (ESCC) and Brighton & Hove (BHMAS) local authorities and Children’s Services (incorporating schools, youth groups, the youth offending team and ‘Looked After Children’ in care) to identify the young people that we would ultimately work with. A steering group was set up with members of the Music Services from ESCC and BHMAS as well as the local authority Education and Equalities Departments and the Glyndebourne Education team. By working with a steering committee of local authority representatives as well as Glyndebourne Heads of Departments, we had an ongoing dialogue about the progress of recruiting and supporting participants. This ensured that we could widen the search for participants and find those who would not normally come into contact with opera. The Steering Group was also used to advise on how to make the process of recruitment as enjoyable as possible for all those taking part. We also wanted to ensure that Knight Crew had national resonance and in the early stages of the project national stakeholders were also identified. This included the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, Arts Council England and the National Skills Academy for Creative & Cultural Skills (NSA) to raise awareness of the Creative and Media Diploma.

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“When I first discussed the prospect of Knight Crew with Katie Tearle and colleagues at Glyndebourne in 2007, I set them quite a challenge. I asked them to extend their reach for this production beyond the usual schools and musically gifted young people they have provided fantastic opportunities to in the past. I asked them to prioritise schools in areas of high deprivation, and within them, some of our most vulnerable children and young people – to engage them in an activity they would normally never be exposed to. The fact that Glyndebourne rose so magnificently to this challenge should surprise no one, because I know that they share my belief in the transformational power of participation in the arts for young people. This power was exemplified in Gareth Malone’s excellent documentary about Knight Crew (NB a teaching job in East Sussex awaits Mr Malone anytime he wants one!). Seeing the final production in 2010 was a memorable and deeply moving experience for me. I saw some of our most vulnerable students excelling in an art form previously unknown to them, in a professional production in one of the world’s great performance spaces. To see young people in care to my authority, glowing with pride and excitement at their personal achievement as they absorbed the applause on that famous stage, was to appreciate both the power of art and the power of Glyndebourne.” Matt Dunkley, Director of Children’s Services for East Sussex County Council


Recruiting the Knight Crew and Danny Choruses

The launch of the Round Table Project’s participation and recruitment thread began in September 2009. This was delivered as a programme of participatory workshops to develop singing and movement skills with young people. We provided introductory workshops across the region in schools, colleges, youth groups and support settings, as well as with our own Youth Opera Groups. The workshops were to be stand-alone to give everybody involved a positive experience, regardless of whether they were invited on to the next stage. The material used in the workshops included Julian’s music for the opera, in particular the music of the Knight Crew gang. There were two consecutive series of workshops leading up to the final audition. At the end of each workshop, the workshop leaders decided which young people would proceed to the next stage. In total over 450 people took part in workshops. Following the initial workshops we held further skills workshops for 169 participants, before auditioning 101 young people.

Skills workshops 8, 9, 21, 23 Oct 2009 – 4 workshops 169 invited, 152 attended, 101 invited to audition The two-hour skills workshops were held in Lewes, a step closer both metaphorically and, in most cases literally, to Glyndebourne’s main stage. Gareth Malone and Karen Gillingham adapted their workshop style to a session that was less ‘open’ and more intent on coaching in the skills needed for the production (and more immediately for audition). Their brief was to “focus the young people on singing and give them belief in what they are singing” but the session itself was also meant to be “a fun and useful workshop for any performance opportunity that they may have in the future”. Of the 450 young people invited to participate in the open workshops and the 40 members of Glyndebourne Youth Opera that joined at the skills workshop stage, 101 participants reached the auditions.

External Evaluator Richard Ings summarises the way these workshops were held in his final evaluation: The open workshops First Stage Workshops – 9 Sept – 9 Oct 2009 19 workshops, 450 young people attended The two-hour open workshops were intended to encourage participants to get involved in the process and, through that, to demonstrate their potential suitability for the production. The sessions were run by Gareth Malone and Karen Gillingham, both gifted facilitators of this kind of participatory arts practice, able to control, support and inspire large, disparate groups of non-professionals. By beginning at this basic level of play, the workshops succeeded in supporting participants’ first attempts to demonstrate their potential as singers, dancers and actors.

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“If you believe in yourself, you will be able to achieve things that surprise you.” “...the way Karen and Gareth dealt with us made me feel more confident” “...everyone supported each other and were friendly even when they hadn’t met before.” Workshop Participants on what they had learned during the audition process

Auditions 21, 27, 28 Oct 2009 – 13 sessions 101 young people The remaining participants were divided into groups of approximately ten people, and each group was invited to attend a 30-minute audition, either in Lewes or at Glyndebourne, run as a ‘mini-workshop’ by Gareth Malone and Karen Gillingham. This time, however, the workshop was to be closely observed by Director John Fulljames, Conductor Nick Collon, Head of Education Katie Tearle and Project Co-ordinator Sarah Cant. Although some candidates had experience with Glyndebourne Youth Opera, most had little to draw on apart from performing in the odd school show. It soon became clear that many had also never had to sing solo before to an audience of strangers – and perhaps not even in front of their peers. However, an attempt was made to provide as supportive an atmosphere as possible for the young people, several of whom appeared extremely nervous. John Fulljames was apparently happy for the audition to be adapted to suit the confidence of each group and he agreed to hear the young people sing either in small groups or individually, depending on what stage they were at. The audition was the crunch point, when the desire and need to maintain professional standards meant that some young people were excluded – around half the young hopefuls here would be rejected. This was mitigated, of course, by the aim, clearly stated from the first workshop, that there would be a Chorus of around 50, so those at the audition knew that they had but a 50/50 chance and, familiar as they are with the competitive culture of Pop Idol etc, were presumably prepared for exclusion at this stage. From the accounts I have had subsequently from teachers, not being chosen was a disappointing but not generally a traumatic experience for most of their students. Richard Ings, External Evaluator

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Sharing Day Between the audition and final selection process, a Sharing Day was held at Glyndebourne. Friends, family, teachers, youth workers and members of the Glyndebourne company were invited to watch the group perform a section of Bizet’s Carmen. This provided a performance opportunity for the young people and celebrated the success of making it through to the audition stage of the workshops. Glyndebourne also took the opportunity to highlight pathways into the arts available both at Glyndebourne, locally and nationally to provide guidance, highlight opportunities and further support those who attended. This provided a suitable conclusion to the experience for those who would not go on to take part in the final performances of Knight Crew.


Knight Crew Chorus

Vasil Angelov Keely Bitout Stefan Bodle Claire Campbell Amy Chapman Billy Charlesworth Gaile Consolacion Sophie Couch Bronté Coyne Elsie Edgar Natalie English Billy Eriksson Ryan Funnell

George Gasson Rory Giles Louis Gower Sian Griffiths Florence Grover Lydia Hague Max Hale Desi Hayward Jessica Jackson Chris Johnston Amelia Jolley Kai Kinsey Chloe Laskey

“…what the amateur has that the professional sometimes doesn’t is performing as though their life depended on it. So you may not get excellence in terms of artistic standards, as you would with professionals, but a level of emotional involvement that can sometimes exceed what professionals could deliver.” David Pickard, General Director, Glyndebourne

Rebecca Leggett Owen Lewis Toby Lockyer Tendai Mtambara Ellen Muriel Anu Ogunmefun Georgina Pashler Alice Pashley Jonathan Raggett Amelia Read Alexander Rohmat Mickaela Sands Freya Sansom

Lewis Sargent Marie-Elaine Sexton Olly Southwell Josh Speer Jonathan Stephens Lloyd Thomas Rebecca Tutt Emma Walker Eden Webber Liberty Weller George Willard Damon Willer Nikiya Willis-Brown

“With our reputation for taking drugs and so on, everyone judges us, but this will show that we can do other things, we can be mature, we can put on an opera out of nowhere.” Knight Crew Participant on the stereotyping of young people

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Danny Chorus

“One day I was talking about Danny, the boy who my hero murders… and I accidentally said ‘Dannys’, plural. That was a light-bulb moment: could, I wondered, the murdered child of the book, who comes to haunt my hero, become a whole host of Dannys? A chorus of lost souls who represent a single child and also the victims of knife crime everywhere? In opera – he could. We had a chorus of unbroken-voice Dannys. Singing together in their ghostly tracksuits, they were enough to make you weep. And people did – every night.” Nicky Singer, Librettist

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Rory Afrizal Hayes Oliver Beard Jack Callaghan James Carpin Charlie Carr Harvey Cash Jacob Hopkins

Sam Jacks Joseph Robinson John Sawney Louis Watkins Brogan Webber Adam Wiggins


Mothers’ Chorus

Once the Knight Crew and Danny choruses were cast, we began our search for the Mothers’ Chorus who would join the young people on stage, lamenting the lost youth of their children. It was hoped that this chorus would be recruited from parents of the young people involved as well as people from the local community. We invited parents and carers of the Knight Crew chorus to audition, as well as parents from Glyndebourne’s Youth Opera Group, Glyndebourne staff, women in the local community and Pegasus community choir: a London based choir that Glyndebourne has strong links with. At the end of the audition we had a chorus of 20 women: seven of whom were parents of our young participants.

“For a ‘community’ opera this is an extraordinarily accomplished piece of work, with the Mothers’ Chorus – some of whom are real-life mothers of the fictional gangsters – being outstandingly good.” The Independent, Michael Church

Mothers Maxine Anderson Sally Carr Cate Couch Amanda Foley Sian Griffiths Gemma Howard-Jones Sarah Hunter Jessica-Ann Jenner Debbie King Ruth Loughton

Hannah Lovelock Judy Mackerras Karen Murray Penny Raeside Alison Read Belinda Sharp Catriona Shepard Rachel Taylor Emma Walker Freya Wynn-Jones

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Orchestra

Planning for recruiting the orchestra began in February 2009 through consultation with East Sussex and Brighton and Hove Music Services. Recruitment was to be targeted at the instrumental students involved in these two services through either instrumental lessons or music service ensembles, and was to include students of Grade 7 and above. Out of 69 young people who applied and auditioned, 38 student players were joined by 32 professional players to make up the orchestra for Knight Crew.

Knight Crew Orchestra’s Youth Players

First Violins Alexandra May Hill Jaya Hanley Evelyn Eastwood Bethan Morgan-Williams Jenni Pirault Juliette Gregg Second Violins Corey Wickens Olivia Holland Miriam Verghese Violas Polly Richey Joanna Patrick Adam Pickard Cellos Sewek Gasiorek Oliver Pickard Double Basses Louis Bickler Duke Quinton

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Flutes Natalie Bird Ashley Beauchamp

Horns Alexei Watkins Bryony Prior

Piccolo Ashley Beauchamp

Trumpets Harvey Hall Lucy Sullivan Luther John Vine

Oboe Benjamin King Clarinets Henry Melbourne Perry Webber Sam Hiscox

Trombone Sam Byard Bass Trombone Amy Schofield

Soprano Saxophone Rachel Parry-Ridout

Tuba Tom Heath

Tenor Saxophone Georgia King

Percussion Alexander Evans Fabian Edwards Katherine Miles Rosie Bergonzi

Bassoon James Turbett


Work-Related Learning

Once the young people and community singers were recruited for Knight Crew, the Round Table Project had fulfilled one of its aims. The second of the projects desired outcomes was to create more learning and participatory opportunities for young people.

As part of the Round Table Project, Glyndebourne worked with schools from two different consortiums delivering the Creative and Media Diploma. Delivery was tailored for each school according to the modules their students were undertaking.

For almost a quarter of a century Glyndebourne’s Education Department has been at the heart of the organisation’s commitment to reaching and integrating wider audiences through its work with schools and individuals. To achieve the second aim of the Round Table Project, Glyndebourne went beyond this and supported the delivery of the new work-related qualification, the Creative and Media Diploma. This was a Government integrated education initiative that explored creative and vocational learning and participation and gave young people the chance to interact with a professional company when undertaking their studies.

At Ringmer Community College, students were asked to create a marketing and publicity campaign for the release of Nicky Singer’s novel Knight Crew. To prepare them for this, the class was visited by Nicky and by Education Project Co-ordinator Sarah Cant to introduce them to the opera and the project brief. They were also visited by members from Glyndebourne’s Marketing Department to discuss how to create a promotional campaign. Oriel High School undertook a similar project, creating publicity material for the opera in their area (Crawley and West Sussex) with an emphasis on promoting Knight Crew to new audiences. As part of their other modules they also attended a props workshop at Glyndebourne, created a performance piece in response to the opera and created a documentary on the Diploma process. Students from both schools developed their publicity materials independently before returning to Glyndebourne and pitching their ideas to a Glyndebourne panel. They had created online resources as well as print and campaign ideas and several of these were used on the Knight Crew website and in the Knight Crew programme. The young people involved seemed to benefit from working on a project that pertained to the real world and many were driven to have their work used in the final publicity campaign. By producing their work for a company rather than a fictitious situation, the majority felt that their work was more meaningful. The young people also visited Glyndebourne and the Creative and Media

Creative & Production Team -

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Diploma co-ordinator at Ringmer iterated how impressed the young people were by seeing the opera house and how it added weight to their assignments. External Evaluator Richard Ings noted the ways in which Glyndebourne had engaged and benefitted from the Work-Related Learning programme: “The genuine contribution made by Diploma students to the real-world marketing and promotion of Knight Crew should not be overlooked. The Diploma process was not one-way but benefited the company as well as the young people. According to Gillian Brierley, Glyndebourne’s Head of Marketing and Communications, young people helped her to develop a more nuanced approach to reaching the target audience for Knight Crew, a very different target audience from that of the Festival: ‘It was great for us, as we normally talk just to the Designer and the Director about a show, so we sometimes end up producing something a little more formulaic than it should be. The Diploma students gave us a different impetus.’ Having been introduced to the science of marketing – and learning that it is about more than just having a good idea – students backed up their ideas with practical suggestions about appropriate imagery and copy, supplied attractive merchandise, notably the much coveted Knight Crew tee-shirts, and opened up effective ways of promoting the opera to young people. Indeed, one of the most useful and effective pieces of advice they offered was on the use and potential of social media, Facebook in particular, to develop a young audience. Such facilities are vital, especially for a venue that has no walk-up sales and that has to rely on remote marketing. In this case, the separate Facebook page for Knight Crew put the word out on the street.” Richard Ings also noted that both threads of the Round Table Project were in fact intertwined. As the rehearsals progressed, the young people making up the Knight Crew choruses were themselves the recipients of WorkRelated Learning due to the very nature and standards of the environment they found themselves working in.

National Skills Academy for Creative & Cultural To raise awareness of how the Creative and Media Diploma was developing in its practice, Glyndebourne worked with the National Skills Academy for Creative & Cultural. The Skills Academy (a network of creative organisations, trade associations, FE Colleges and other training providers) used the Work-Related Learning which Glyndebourne was doing around Knight Crew as a case study for other National Skills Academy members and beyond to demonstrate how young people can take a more ‘hands-on’ approach to learning. On 3 March 2010, over 50 young people, educationalists, employers, dignitaries and other interested parties came together to experience presentations from diploma consortiums based at Ringmer Community College and Oriel School/Central Sussex College on work they had produced relating to Knight Crew. Chaired by Robert West from the National Skills Academy, they then took part in a lively panel debate comprising Diploma students from Ringmer and representatives from Skills Academy Founder College Sussex Downs, the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, Skillset and Glyndebourne. The delegates then went on to enjoy a networking lunch followed by a performance of Knight Crew. “The Skills Academy was delighted to work with Glyndebourne. The integration of Knight Crew with the Diploma in Creative & Media demonstrated the potential of bringing together genuine skills development with artistic excellence. This is a model of how our industry members can use Work Related Learning to engage with schools and colleges throughout the country.” Robert West, National Skills Academy Education & Curriculum Manager

www.nsa-ccskills.co.uk Creative and Media Diploma students working on Knight Crew: “I enjoyed the visit to Glyndebourne as it’s so near but I haven’t visited it before or been to an Opera.” “It was good to meet someone who had written the book so we knew what the Opera was going to be about.” “We saw the Opera and were pleased that we had been a part of it.”

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CHAPTER 3 “Knight Crew Legends” (Act 1, Scene 3)

The Performances Once the aims of the Round Table Project were complete and all our choruses were recruited, the procedure became a very different one for the young people involved, and a more familiar situation for Glyndebourne as production rehearsals got underway. In this chapter you will learn more about the progression of the participants’ journey and the positive impact working in a professional environment had on them. You will get a taste of what it was like to watch Knight Crew in performance and see some of the reactions of those involved in the production, audience members and local and national press.

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the Rehearsals

“The professional players who were alongside us were extremely warm, friendly and at all times helpful. Playing alongside professional players was very inspiring.” “I found it extremely helpful and rewarding to work alongside professionals and to be involved in something on such a grand scale. The section principal [professional] was very helpful in guiding me and it has made me think about doing more orchestral playing.” Youth players in the orchestra

Rehearsals for Knight Crew began in January 2010 with the Knight Crew Chorus rehearsing Wednesday evenings and all day Saturdays, and the Dannys’ and Mothers’ Choruses rehearsing Thursday evenings and some Saturdays. The professional cast also began rehearsing at Glyndebourne in January. The rehearsal process was an intense experience, far removed from the workshops held during the recruitment process. The emphasis was now on learning the complex score and putting the opera on its feet and onto the set. For the last two months of rehearsals, the group had virtually no time off but, as External Evaluator Richard Ings discovered: “The general consensus observed in the young people was that this was the price you paid for working at Glyndebourne – and that it was worth paying... I witnessed the energy and commitment of the Chorus strengthen as they got to grips with the growing reality of Knight Crew and the increasing demands. From the stalls, it looked as if at least four or five people were ‘directing’ them but they seemed to make sense of what they were being asked to do. They had begun, in a way, to merge into the whole business of getting the opera ready for the public – part of the machinery of the plot and the music, part of the world defined by Es Devlin’s gantry.”

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Working with Professionals In February 2010 the orchestra met for the first time at Blatchington Mill School. The 38 youth players were playing alongside 32 professional musicians who acted in a mentoring capacity. They rehearsed for three days before moving to the pit at Glyndebourne and joining the singers. During these three days the rehearsals were broken down into a number of full sessions, sectionals, and mentoring sessions, in which the students worked closely with their section principals. The relationship between professional and aspiring musicians was a key factor in the success of this project, especially during the intensive rehearsal period.


“Ben [Wright] doesn’t just say ‘do it’. He will go over it and make sure you understand. He will stop if you are having problems and see what he can help with. He will say, ‘If you don’t feel comfortable, change it.’ ” “The professionals helped us with singing, acting and moving. They are really good friends. It was good to ask them questions about what they have done.”

The positive effect of the relationship between professional and non-professional was also apparent amongst our choruses. Once rehearsals got underway at Glyndebourne, our youth and community groups also found themselves submerged in a professional working environment surrounded by a highly skilled Creative and Production Team. Those involved were observed to benefit technically, socially and emotionally from interacting with professional cast members and practitioners. The professionals took every opportunity to share their experience with the young people, offering tips to the young singers about technique and preparation. This extended beyond the rehearsal room, with many of the professionals using Facebook as a way to communicate with the cast. This was recognised by Richard Ings in his final evaluation: “It is due to the work of this Professional Team that those involved came to have such ownership of it [Knight Crew]. Several people noticed how adept John was at encouraging and supporting the Chorus, mainly through eliciting ideas and suggestions from them about how they might react to a particular event, such as the sight of Elaine captured by the rival gang, or how they might move around the set – giving them, in Assistant Director Lucy Bradley’s words, ‘ownership of the space before it all kicked off’. According to Nicholas Collon, John is very good at saying, ‘I’ve got a problem here: how can we make this believable?’ By carefully framing the questions he asked, John was able to give young people a real sense of power without relinquishing his authority as a Director. Ben Wright had a similar approach, describing it as a paradox: giving very clear direction but also enough space for young people to be intuitive. The fact that John Fulljames and the Production Team invited their suggestions had also encouraged them [the participants] – ‘we have a say in what goes on’. One opined that the opera ‘was written for us’, implying a growing sense of ownership, which would explain the group’s generally enthusiastic commitment to a rather gruelling regime.”

“For that brief moment of time that was Knight Crew we were each treated like and made to feel that we were in fact Pro’s ourselves. No matter what happens in the future nothing will quite match this as an experience.” Knight Crew Participants

Yet one thing that was not anticipated was that this would be a mutually beneficial relationship between performer and participant. The experience of participating in Knight Crew contributed to the continued development of the professional performers; acting as mentors whilst benefiting from the enthusiasm and energy of the young people. Principals noted a heightened awareness of the importance of working with young people as well as channelling the vibrance and raw energy that the young people brought to performances.

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The Production Process

Like any opera at Glyndebourne, Knight Crew received the full involvement of the Technical Department and was devised and realised by the Creative and Production Team in the same way as it would be for any other piece of work on the main stage. Working alongside Director John Fulljames, Designer Es Devlin formed the visual concept for Knight Crew. This was delivered to Glyndebourne for approval in February 2009. Once designs were costed and agreed, the scenery was built and painted by Cardiff Theatrical Services, one of the foremost set building companies in the country. The set was delivered to Glyndebourne in the autumn of 2009. It was assembled by the Glyndebourne Stage staff in December of 2009 in the Jerwood Studio ready for the first rehearsals in January 2010. Props for the production were made in the Glyndebourne Props Department working to Es’ initial designs and further developed and added to as required by Director John Fulljames as rehearsals progressed. Projection Designer Finn Ross created the film sequences for the projections which were all filmed with the cast and chorus at Glyndebourne with the exception of the underwater sequence which was filmed at a studio in London. Lighting Designer Bruno Poet created the lighting for the production when it moved on to stage in February. “It’s exciting to have 60 people on a stage and I think 60 people in this big revolving structural cube, singing their hearts out will be great…The music is very watery, very lyrical, there’s a lot of almost Debussyish watery rhythms going through it and our set is the opposite to that. It’s entirely brutal in structure, it’s very much responding to the structure of estates, boxes, cages. So it’s important that the projection that covers a lot of our structure cuts right through that graphic rigidity and brings to bear the musical qualities of liquid.” Es Devlin, Designer “Add to the mix Es Devlin’s ingenious stage design and Nicholas Collon’s excellent, transparent conducting and the overall effect was exhilarating, and not a little humbling.” The Guardian, Guy Dammann “Es Devlin’s moveable steel cage of a set variously hemming in the teenage warriors, so bursting with misdirected energy, or extending to become platforms along which they strut and fight.” Gramophone, James Inverne

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As part of her role as Designer, Es Devlin also worked intensively with Glyndebourne’s Costume and Wigs Departments. Designs were delivered in November 2009 and Es worked particularly closely with our Head of Costume to sample, shop and realise them. The costume department spent hours of work in the dye room during the Knight Crew process, fitting everyone on stage and distressing the costumes to fit in with the design of the piece. “Nearly everything is bought from a shop which you would recognise. Stuff that kids would wear, if they were in a gang in Peckham. A lot to do with covering your face, hiding your identity. Layers to beef up the figure and to suggest power. Boots, chunkiness. So that sort of deals with the contemporary side of it for immediate reference. Then, to try and move it beyond that into a creative world, which the music suggests, and into the Arthurian allegory we’ve treated these things. So you might dress someone in a layer of a hoody and then a puffer and then an old cycling mask and hats and then get some pewter foil and pass it over the whole front of the costume so it gives the impression of armour. A fused world. A fused world from two diverse ranges of reference. Because, on one hand I need the audience to recognise these people, and to know immediately what the hierarchy is, what the status of these people is from their own knowledge of what people wear now. And on the other hand, I want to take them beyond that into a world that’s created and imagined.” Es Devlin, Designer


“You can’t even tell who we are right? On stage that will be a good thing. No embarrassment, you just zip the hoody up.” Knight Crew Participant while in costume

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The Performances 3 - 6 March 2010

“…most of all I love seeing over 100 young people learning and achieving so much together and clearly…enjoying every minute of the experience.” The Stage, Susan Elkin

“Where I had rather expected something energetic and willing but creatively box-ticking, Knight Crew delivered a genuinely superb theatrical experience.” Gramophone, James Inverne

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â€œâ€Śthis was a well-told tale that really packed a punch, and could not have hoped for a more gripping or committed performance. The legendary Glyndebourne production values are applied as assiduously to these youth operas as to anything in the festival season, and they really pay off.â€? Classical Music Magazine, Keith Clarke

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“The integration of professional artists from one generation with non-professionals from another was not simply a case of one leading the other. There was chemistry and an exchange between the two that, for many audience members, made it hard to discern the line between the amateur or community presence in the opera and the professional.� Richard Ings, External Evaluator

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“…when Knight Crew make their appearance – dimly lit and drably costumed like creatures from the underworld – one senses Director John Fulljames’s characteristically sure touch... Soprano Claire Wild and tenor Pascal Charbonneau are wonderfully convincing as the chief protagonists, with mezzo Yvonne Howard doubling brilliantly as the bag-lady and Arthur’s despairing mother.” The Independent, Michael Church

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Audience

In total, 4,536 people saw Knight Crew. 44% of ticket bookers were new to Glyndebourne. As well as engaging young people at Glyndebourne through the recruitment of our choruses, Knight Crew also provided an opportunity to engage new audiences, many of whom were new to opera. To ensure there were no barriers to attending the performances, we capped the ticket price at £14 with a wide range of concessions to reflect our target audience. One third of Knight Crew’s audience comprised young people under the age of 18. Glyndebourne also put on a free bus service from Lewes station to make sure that the production was accessible. One of the ways we were able to engage new audiences was through a schools matinee performance in which every seat was available to school and youth groups from the surrounding area for a subsidised price. A total of 944 pupils and their teachers filled the auditiorium. We are also exploring the possibility of making the full opera available through digital technology.

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“ ‘Man, what did we come here for?’ came an inquiry nearby just before the Conductor arrived. Minutes later, no answer was necessary.” The Guardian, Guy Dammann “I enjoyed the way the opera addressed modern issues in a way that was culturally relevant to today’s society. I felt it appealed to both younger and older audience members alike.” Audience member “I enjoyed the clever use of the stage scenery, and how smoothly changes of feel, mood and location were utilised. I also enjoyed the chorus’s enthusiasm, and the fact that the Opera shows both points of view from the parents and the youths, and how the score clearly reinforces the attitude of anger and concern in both parties. Also – being a young musician myself – it was nice to see other young people playing and performing.” Young audience member at the schools’ performance “I was a member of the audience last night (not related to any of you!) and would like to tell you all I thought it was fantastic! I’ve been to Glyndebourne several times and to opera around the world many times and I think that was a very professional production. From the Conductor and orchestra to the chorus, principals and the set and costumes, absolutely first class!” Audience member’s comment on the Knight Crew facebook page


CHAPTER 4 “Loyalty now and forever” (Act 1, Scene 11)

After Knight Crew Glyndebourne was keen to evaluate the Knight Crew process as it unfolded. We commissioned Richard Ings to observe and evaluate the process from the first workshop in schools until after the performances had ended. His 64-page report assessed the impact of the participatory strand in the Round Table Project, focusing on the development of the chorus for the Knight Crew. It identified: • what was achieved in terms of developing young people’s engagement, learning and well-being through their participation at each stage of the project

This chapter will look at what skills young people gained from participating in the project and the long-term legacy that Knight Crew has left behind for all those who may have encountered the project including our chorus members and the company as a whole. It will also discuss Glyndebourne’s continued engagement with Knight Crew’s participants and audiences through the use of the Knight Crew website and the subsequent Twenty Twenty Television feature Gareth Malone Goes to Glyndebourne.

• the extent to which ambitions for engaging the hard-to-reach were achieved, from the recruitment process through to the performance • how successful Glyndebourne was in squaring the circle of maintaining high artistic standards whilst encouraging wider community engagement.

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Evaluation

External Evaluator Richard Ings’ report assesses the impact of the participatory strand in the Round Table Project, focusing on the development of the Chorus for Knight Crew. He set out to discover, first, what was achieved in terms of developing young people’s engagement, learning and well-being and, secondly, the extent to which Glyndebourne’s ambitions for engaging the hard-to-reach were achieved. More generally, he was intrigued to see how successful Glyndebourne could be in squaring the circle of maintaining high artistic standards whilst encouraging wider community engagement. The report begins by defining what kind of ‘education project’ this was, arguing that – unlike other programmes run by the Education Department – it was determined by the ‘givens’ of mounting a newly commissioned opera for the main stage. Like the other strand in the Round Table Project – the delivery of the Creative & Media Diploma in two local schools – Knight Crew was ultimately about Work-Related Learning. The report therefore looks at what happens when you place young non-professionals in a very demanding professional environment. He writes in the report: “No lasting learning or well-being outcomes are possible without genuine engagement. This was measured by observation and both written and oral responses from young people, tracking their progression from disengagement to curiosity to involvement to acceptance and, finally, to success. For the majority of participants this was a smooth and productive process. In terms of engaging the most ‘hard-to-reach/engage’ young people, the critical shift is the one from disaffection to curiosity and there was some notable success here, with several such participants passing the audition, as well as some disappointments due largely to the subsequent pressures of involvement, intensified by a squeezed timescale and a move away from workshop exercises to the more demanding format of rehearsals. At each stage of growing ‘ownership’ of the process, the learning of participants was measured in terms of their development of technical skills (movement, acting and singing), personal skills (greater confidence and self-esteem), social skills (teamwork and negotiation) and intellectual/aesthetic awareness of opera itself. Those participants who reached the final performance had made considerable progress in all these areas, from discovering an unsuspected gift for 36

singing to appreciating the power of music to convey mood and drama. Finally, the well-being of participants was measured against the evidence-based criteria proposed by the New Economics Foundation: ‘five simple actions’ that can improve well-being in everyday life. These include building supportive and lasting social relationships, physical activity and exercise, reflection, trying something new, and cooperative behaviour. Participation in Knight Crew encouraged the development of all of these to a high level.” The report notes the overwhelmingly positive response of audiences and national critics to the performances of Knight Crew and the considerable artistic achievement of the 65 young non-professionals in the Knight Crew Chorus, three-quarters of whom had had no previous experience of opera. This notion of quality is set within a longer discussion that informs the whole report, which tries to “unpick the apparent paradox of a premier opera company setting out to maintain its high professional artistic standards whilst widening its remit for social inclusion (or community engagement) further than ever before for a main stage production”. Richard Ings argues that Glyndebourne’s achievements and its failures should be judged as “moments when it came close to or fell away from keeping these twin aims in equilibrium”. Although there were learning points from the evaluation, summarised as recommendations for the company to consider, the overall assessment of the project was very positive: “Nothing should obscure the remarkable achievement of Glyndebourne’s Education Department in recruiting, engaging, skilling up and empowering a large number of young people, most of whom came from areas of social and cultural deprivation and who were completely new to opera and the company. By making this the first community opera to involve all the departments at Glyndebourne, it was able to provide young non-professionals with a real-life experience of the arts industry, with all the learning, challenge and pleasure this implies. More broadly, this project has clearly demonstrated that education work is no longer an add-on to artistic development but is intrinsic to it. The Cinderella has come to the Ball. Glyndebourne is, therefore, not


simply to be congratulated for producing an excellent new opera or for going the extra mile in widening local engagement but for doing both at the same time, providing a striking example of an integrated artistic vision and in the process, as Composer Julian Philips remarked, ‘pushing the artform on’.

Opera may be, as Julian Philips remarks, the ‘most social’ of all the artforms. In this latest of a series of increasingly brave experiments with participation, Glyndebourne has proved his point. It may also have opened up new possibilities for its own future as an organisation dedicated to bringing opera to the people.”

To use an appropriate metaphor, the gauntlet has been thrown down to the rest of the opera world. The challenge? To rethink our easy compartmentalising of ‘education’ and ‘mainstream’ or ‘artistic’ work, as if one did not feed the other. To question whether, in fact, a firm line can be drawn between the two. For those in the Artistic Team, the process of creating a work like Knight Crew is the same whoever is participating, professional or ‘amateur’ – there are just different starting points. The artistic results, as this production spectacularly demonstrated, can match the best in the repertoire.

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legacy

“We are one in the Knight Crew, we all work together. I am part of the team. Everyone’s important. All are equal – it wouldn’t be the same if one of us was missing.” “I can now say, ‘I was part of that’. We should be proud of what we’ve done.” Knight Crew Participants

One of Glyndebourne’s aims when commissioning Knight Crew was to introduce opera as an art form for young people and to excite young minds. As part of our evaluation we wanted to assess the impact and legacy Knight Crew would have on those that had come into contact with it as participants and audiences. Richard Ings report demonstrated that, through participation in the project, young people had acquired or refined technical skills of movement, acting and singing, had developed personally in terms of greater confidence and self-esteem, had grown socially in terms of a greater willingness to work collaboratively and an ability to negotiate and had gained a greater awareness of opera itself and the challenges and rewards of creating and experiencing it.

Several of the group expressed an interest in pursuing a career on stage with one young person applying to study Music at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Following Knight Crew several chorus members have accepted the invitation to join Glyndebourne Youth Opera.

“One boy had an interesting journey. We had a difficult relationship in the beginning: he would play up – ‘yes, Nick, whatever Nick’ – as he wanted to be the funny one, the cool one. But he came up to me after a performance and said, ‘I didn’t get it at the beginning: how important it would be.’ It was a kind of apology. He went on, ‘This has made a huge difference to me’. He had lost all that behaviour. He wasn’t suspicious of me and he seemed so mature.” Nicholas Collon, Conductor

“If it wasn’t for Knight Crew I would never have just downloaded the whole Katherine Jenkins album onto my iPod.” Knight Crew Participant comment posted on the facebook site.

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“…it’s been the most fantastic experience for her. She has loved every minute of it and there’s a definite atmosphere of anticlimax around here! She has loads of exciting things coming up but doesn’t think they will compare at all with playing at Glyndebourne! She changes her mind often about what she wants to do, but as a result of her Glyndebourne experience she’s decided (this week!) that she’s not going to Oxford after all but to music college and then wants to play in pits for operas!” From the parent of a youth player in the Orchestra

“You have all changed my life so much in so many ways. My opinion on music, my self confidence, and most probably and hopefully my future.” Knight Crew Participant comment posted on the facebook site.


The Knight Crew Website www.knightcrewopera.co.uk

So far the Knight Crew website has had over 14,920 unique visitors. Over 2,000 visitors have downloaded the full opera from the site to listen to at home. To support the delivery of the Round Table Project, Glyndebourne developed a microsite for Knight Crew www.knightcrewopera.co.uk. This assisted the recruitment thread of the project by providing participants with access to rehearsal schedules and downloads of the rehearsal music. It also helped with Glyndebourne’s desire to broaden engagement by providing a space to find out more about the opera, to showcase the work of the Creative and Media Diploma and to provide learning resources to schools and individuals outside of Glyndebourne’s 25 mile radius of engagement. The microsite contributed to the legacy of Knight Crew by developing a web presence for those that took part. It also allowed those who may have seen the performance, or who may have missed it to discover more. Blogs and social networking sites were utilised as well as Flickr galleries, documenting the process of Knight Crew. After the performances had finished, a free audio download of the music was uploaded to the site so that participants, audience members and other interested parties could hear the opera retrospectively.

Knight Crew microsite designed by

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Twenty Twenty Television

Glyndebourne had always planned to document the making of Knight Crew and were in various discussions with filmmakers when it was approached by Cesca Eaton of Twenty Twenty Television. They were looking for an opera project for Gareth Malone, who fronts the BBC Two series The Choir. Gareth had previously worked with Glyndebourne Education as a Music Director with its Youth Opera Groups and was keen to work with Glyndebourne again. Knight Crew seemed a good fit for Gareth who was brought on board as Workshop Leader for the recruitment workshops and as Chorus Leader for the production. The three television programmes, Gareth Malone Goes to Glyndebourne were transmitted on BBC Two on 17, 24 June and 1 July 2010 and averaged audience figures of 2 million per week. This was a fantastic achievement given that the broadcast had to compete with both the football World Cup and Wimbledon. The filming of the project by Twenty Twenty Television for the BBC also played a part in raising awareness for Glyndebourne’s Education work.

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“Gareth Malone had worked wonders before turning young people and adults who thought they couldn’t sing into exuberant choirs, but now it was time for him to enter the entirely different world – opera. It was back in 2008 when I first approached Glyndebourne about the possibility of filming a television series about the making of an opera. I was in luck as Head of Education Katie Tearle and the whole of the mighty Glyndebourne machine were in the process of setting the ball rolling with Knight Crew. There were lots of hoops through which to jump and many meetings to be had with Glyndebourne, East Sussex Music Services and Brighton and Hove Music Services. Both Local Education Authorities had to give their blessing before we could start filming, which we did in May 2009. From early production meetings, through auditions for the principals, to the huge recruitment drive for the 50 strong Knight Crew chorus, we were filming all the way. Gareth and the Production Team trekked across the East Sussex coast on the hunt for the finest young people they could find, who showed enough promise to be able to cope with appearing in an opera on the main stage of an internationally renowned opera company. From the first rehearsal to curtain down on the final night, our cameras captured it all, filming hundreds of hours of footage which ended up as three hours of memorable television. Thank you Glyndebourne for trusting Gareth and my team.” Cesca Eaton, Series Producer/Director


Last Word

More than a year and a day have passed since the performances of Knight Crew at Glyndebourne and this has given us time to reflect on the delivery and evaluation of the project. Many objectives have been met and as an organisation we have learnt an enormous amount. Glyndebourne strives for excellence in everything it does, pursuing its founders’ desire to produce “not the best we can do but the best that can be done anywhere”. Young people were challenged to think and act like professional performers to produce an opera of the same high standard as would be seen during the Glyndebourne Festival. As Richard Ings’ evaluation suggests: “Glyndebourne set out deliberately – and paradoxically – to do two things at the same time; to maintain its high professional artistic standards and to widen social inclusion (or local/community engagement).” Glyndebourne aims to deliver projects of this scale every three years. We have now commissioned Imago, our new community opera for 2013 from composer Orlando Gough, writer Stephen Plaice and director Susannah Waters. In planning and delivering Imago we take forward all we have learnt in delivering Knight Crew. As outlined, a key objective for Knight Crew was to widen social inclusion, encouraging young people to take part who would not normally have this opportunity. This proved to be one of the project’s greatest challenges and we have learnt that we need to do more to reach out to those who are hardest to engage. We will work closely with all our partners, be they schools, colleges, youth centres or local authorities, to find champions to work with us as advocates for young people and opera. From the young people we have also learnt that we need to adapt some of our rehearsal practice and will look to slightly shorter rehearsal sessions.

“Once performers from the community are put into a professional theatre with a professional stage management, in a theatre in which distinguished international opera singers have sung, the whole level goes soaring up.” David Pickard, General Director

focusing on the specific needs of the young people they serve. We are now working to build on this partnership, delivering a new project starting in 2011. We are also working towards creating an environment that supports the development of young people’s skills and confidence in singing and performance over a longer period of time than we were able to deliver with Knight Crew. To this end we have put in place a new programme of development work, Glyndebourne Young Voices, in local schools and youth settings, aimed at those local areas where we recruited for Knight Crew. This work will look in particular at the vocal development of boys, as well as offering more performing opportunities to young people, including being part of Imago. We have asked Nicholas Collon to bring his dynamic Aurora Orchestra to work alongside young players for the 2013 orchestra with a longer developmental period to better prepare them for Imago and the challenges of their future musical lives. Glyndebourne raised over £400,000 to deliver Knight Crew, with support from Arts Council England, 16 Trusts and Foundations, 6 individuals and 50 donations through the 2009 Big Give Challenge. They were our partners in every sense of the word – individuals and organisations who saw the potential of what we were trying to achieve, had the courage to help make it happen and then were able to enjoy its success with us. The challenge now for 2013 is to create a new vision that will excite our supporters, build on the artistic partnerships we developed through Knight Crew and deliver a project which will take the work we do with our community to new heights. I have no doubt that we can achieve this. David Pickard General Director

We are delighted to have formed closer links with Brighton Youth Offending Service following Knight Crew. Glyndebourne’s recent work with young offenders has predominantly been through our work with HMP Lewes, with whom we enjoy a very productive partnership. During Knight Crew young people accessing the YOS worked with Glyndebourne Education through the workshops, auditions and rehearsal process but, despite two young men getting through the audition stage, none of these participants performed in the production. Whilst participants undoubtedly benefited from the experience of participating in Knight Crew, we believe that the YOS would be better suited to a more customised project, 41


Further information about Knight Crew

Production Hire Knight Crew Production Hire Glyndebourne has an extensive repertoire of productions available for hire including Knight Crew. Visit www.glyndebourne.com/ production-hire For hire information please contact: Dave Locker, Technical Director Tel: +44 (0)1273 812321 dave.locker@glyndebourne.com

Knight Crew is an essential project for an ambitious opera or theatre company looking to establish new audiences, introduce opera to young people, and establish the continuing relevance of opera in the 21st century. Cast: ART Tenor MORDEC Bass MOTHER/MYRTLE Mezzo-soprano ELAYNE Medium voice* QUIN Soprano LANCE High voice* *Roles to be sung by music-theatre performers. KNIGHT CREW 50 Chorus (14-19 yr olds) Including: HELLRAZOR Baritone BIG SHANK Baritone BORZ Baritone DUANE Baritone PELS Baritone DANNY CHORUS 12 Boys (11-13 yr olds) MOTHERS’ CHORUS 15 voices

Publisher

For further Information please contact: Peters Edition Ltd 2-6 Baches Street London N1 6DN Tel: 020 7553 4000 Fax: 020 7490 4921 Email: newmusic@editionpeters.com www.editionpeters.com Award Shortlisted for the RPS Music Award in Education for Outstanding Achievement in 2010.

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DURATION Act 1: 70 minutes Act 2: 55 minutes Instrumentation: Professional players Flute, Saxophone, Bassoon, Trumpet, Horn, Trombone, 2 Percussion, 2 Guitars (classical, electric), Keyboards, 2 Violins, Viola, Violoncello, Double Bass Youth Orchestra 2 flutes (one doubling picc), 2 oboes, 3 clarinets, 1 saxophone, 1 bassoon, 3 trumpets, 3 horns, 2 trombones, 1 tuba, Strings 11.9.7.5.3 3 percussion

Julian Philips Born in Wales in 1969 and brought up in Warwickshire, Julian Philips studied music at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and is one of Britain’s most versatile and busy composers. Varjak Paw, an opera based on the stories by S.F. Said, was premiered in Autumn 2008 by The Opera Group and followed notable earlier success with Welsh National Opera, for whom Philips was commissioned to compose two chamber operas, Dolffin and Wild Cat, as part of WNO’s Land, Sea, Sky trilogy. Philips’ chamber opera, The Yellow Sofa written for the Jerwood Chorus Development Scheme as part of his period as Glyndebourne Composer in Residence was premiered in 2009. Philips has an impressive trackrecord in composing for the theatre. He has enjoyed a particularly fruitful artistic partnership with director Michael Grandage, and English National Ballet staged his commissioned work The Snow Queen (2007) in early 2009. 2010 saw the world premiere of Ricochets Between commissioned by Britten Sinfonia for its lunchtime concert series. A vital force in education, Philips holds the post of Head of Composition at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and was made Honorary Fellow there in 2007. Nicky Singer “A story for this generation . . . written with love, passion and intelligence.” Benjamin Zephaniah on Knight Crew. Singer’s writing began with lyrics for a cantata, Jonah and the Whale, published when she was just 16. Since then she has written four novels for adults and two books of non-fiction. Her first novel for children, Feather Boy, won the Blue Peter ‘Book I Couldn’t Put Down’ Award and the overall Blue Peter ‘Book of the Year’ Award. Feather Boy’s current incarnation is as a musical; first performed as part of the National Theatre’s Shell Connections series in July 2006. Other books for young people are: Doll; The Innocent’s Story and GemX.


Glyndebourne Productions Limited Lewes East Sussex Registered No 358266 England Registered as charity No 243877l


Knight Crew

An opera in two acts Licensed by arrangement with Peters Edition Ltd, London Composer Julian Philips

Chorus Leader Gareth Malone

Librettist Nicky Singer

Electronic Sound Michael Picknett

Conductor Nicholas Collon

Assistant Director Lucy Bradley

Director John Fulljames

Assistant Conductor Graham Ross

Designer Es Devlin

Music Preparation Nicholas Bosworth Lesley-Anne Sammons Mark Dickman

Lighting Designer Bruno Poet

Movement Director Ben Wright

Art Pascal Charbonneau

Myrtle Yvonne Howard

Mordec, Art’s older brother Robert Winslade Anderson

Lance Nadim Naaman

Assistant to Projection Designer Adam Young

Mother, Mordec’s and Art’s Big Shank, a Saxon mother Damon Willer Yvonne Howard HellRazor, a Saxon Lloyd Thomas Quin Claire Wild Danny MacMahon Louis Watkins Elayne Harvey Cash Keisha Amponsa Banson

Cardinal Newman School Caterham School Causeway School Chailey School Dorothy Stringer School Eastbourne Technology College Falmer High School Hailsham Community College Hampton School Hurstpierpoint College Lancing College Moira House Girls School

Our Lady of Sion School Park College Patcham High School Priory School Ringmer Community College Rye College Seaford Head Lower School St. Bede’s Prep School St. Bede’s School, Upper Dicker St. Bede’s School, Redhill Steyning Grammar School Sussex Downs College

Yoruban Consultant Akin Oyetade

Projection Designer Finn Ross

Cast in order of singing

Fight Director Alison de Burgh Schools and Colleges Our youth participants appeared by kind permission of the Head Teachers and Principals of Bexhill College BHASVIC Blatchington Mill School Brighton and Hove High School Brighton College Burgess Hill School for Girls

Sussex Downs EVOC College The Grove School The Skinners’ School Tideway School Uckfield Community College Varndean College William Parker and Helenswood Federal Sixth William Parker Sports College Worth School Worthing High School

Knight Crew supporters

And thanks to our 2009 Big Give Challenge Knights in Shining Armour:

We would like to extend our special thanks to the following supporters for making Knight Crew possible: The National Lottery through Arts Council England East Sussex County Council Brighton & Hove Music, Arts and Study Support 3ev The Donald Albert Anderson Charitable Trust Allen and Overy The Andor Trust The Peter Beckwith Trust J Paul Getty Jnr Charitable Trust Paul Hamlyn Foundation

Mr Richard B Allan Mr Paul Allatt Dr Dagmer E Bird Mr J H C Boodle Mr M Brewer Mr Anthony G Bruce Mr G Burne Mrs Lynda J Cass Miss Sarah M Dalton Mr Geoffrey Dawson Rev. Brian Dodsworth Ms Kate Donaghy Mrs C L Douse Mrs D A Duff Mr John Duffy Mr B Elliott Miss D A Fones Dr A J Frank Mrs M Frizzell Dr M Gantley Mr Michael I Godbee

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The Idlewild Trust MariaMarina Foundation Charles Peel Charitable Trust The Philanthropic Collaborative PRS Foundation for New Music RVW Trust The Reed Foundation Martin Smith The Bernard Sunley Charitable Trust The Michael Tippett Musical Foundation Tufton Charitable Trust Mr W J Weston George and Patti White 1 x Anonymous

Mr P Gray Mr Raymond Greenberg Mr Peter W Greenleaf Miss J E Herrin Mr A Higgins Mr Andre Hoffmann Mr J Hoyland Mrs Anne M Instone Mr Christopher M King Mr Jonathan M Lang Mr Neil D Manthorpe Mr G L Matthews Dr and Mrs D S J Maw Mr J A McCarthy Mr A Miller Mrs P A N Norland Dr Ian Nussey Mrs E S Ogle Mrs D S Patterson-Fox Mr David Pickard Mr B J Rothwell

Mr A P Sainer Mr Brian Stevenson Lord Stevenson of Coddenham, CBE Ms Katie Tearle Mr D W Thompson Dr M S B Vaile Miss A R Walker Mr William J Weston 1 x Anonymous If you are interested in supporting the continued work of Glyndebourne Education, please contact Andrew Higgins, Head of Membership and Development, on 01273 815415 or email andrew.higgins@glyndebourne. com


The story of a new opera for young people 2007 – 2010

Gly ndebour ne

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The Glyndebourne Festival was founded in 1934 by John Christie and his opera singer wife, Audrey Mildmay. They began with two Mozart operas, but the repertoire has expanded to include works from the baroque to the contemporary. New works premiered at Glyndebourne include two by Benjamin Britten, 13 new commissions on the main stage and over 20 more through the Education programme. Crucially, Glyndebourne has remained financially independent since 1934. Although it receives valued Arts Council England support for the Tour and Education, the Festival receives no public subsidy. Glyndebourne is a registered charity, funded by box office income, its members and supporters. Today the Festival runs from May to August with a programme of six operas in a world-class 1,200-seat opera house. Together with Glyndebourne on Tour it presents about 120 performances each year to a total audience of around 150,000. Its resident orchestras are the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Glyndebourne began the Tour in 1968 to bring opera to new audiences and create performance opportunities for young singers in the Glyndebourne Chorus. As part of Glyndebourne’s commitment to developing new talent, the Chorus plays a vital role in discovering and training young singers. As part of Glyndebourne’s mission to reach new audiences, it has maintained a widely respected Education programme since 1986. Glyndebourne also offers reduced-price tickets to under-30s for selected performances, and has pioneered the use of recordings to open up its work to a worldwide audience through broadcasts, cinema screenings, DVDs and internet streaming.

Glyndebourne Objectives

An Introduction to the Project On 3 March 2010, Glyndebourne staged the world premiere of Knight Crew, by composer Julian Phillips and librettist Nicky Singer, the latest in a series of new operas designed to be performed and enjoyed by young people and the local community. In total, over 450 people between the age of 11 and 19 engaged with the opera as singers, with 65 of these going on to perform on the main stage at this internationally renowned opera house. They were joined on stage by six professional singers, a chorus of 20 women from the local community, and an orchestra comprising professional musicians and young aspiring instrumentalists. Over the four performances, which included a dedicated schools matinee, the opera was seen by over 4,500 people and received outstanding critical acclaim. The process from introductory workshops to opening night formed the basis of Gareth Malone Goes to Glyndebourne, a three-part documentary broadcast on BBC2 in June 2010, reaching a staggering two million people each week. Through Knight Crew we aimed to: ••

Create a new work that builds on Glyndebourne’s reputation for presenting innovative and groundbreaking work

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Meet our overarching audience development aims by creating an ‘entry point’ work that will attract a diverse audience, many new to opera

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Achieve local engagement with national significance that will raise the profile of Glyndebourne – an opera house that is very much part of its community

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Have a strong educational reach, with participants drawn from local and partner schools and our local community, especially young people from disadvantaged areas

To present opera of the highest quality, exploring and pioneering new initiatives and discovering new artistic talent.

To remain financially independent, without reliance on government subsidy for Festival performances.

To make our work available to as broad an audience as possible through live and digital initiatives and a programme of learning and participation.

To balance well-known repertoire with new and less familiar work, and explore ways of developing the art form.

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To provide audiences with memorable Glyndebourne experiences, with excellent service, quality and value for money.

Provide vocational learning through the 14 – 19 agenda Creative and Media Diploma and Work Placements

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Create a documentary film and website presence to ensure that the project has greater reach than the four performances at Glyndebourne and raises the profile of the range of work Glyndebourne does.

To provide a stimulating and inspirational environment for all.


Glyndebourne Productions Limited Lewes East Sussex Registered No 358266 England Registered as charity No 243877l