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introducing United Strings of Europe’s Apollo Resurrected

Apollo Resurrected - United Strings of Europe at Kings Place (Photo Dimitri Djuric)
Apollo Resurrected – United Strings of Europe at Kings Place (Picture Dimitri Djuric)

The United Strings of Europe will carry collectively juggling and string taking part in in a brand new present exploring themes of social and creative restoration. The world premiere efficiency of Apollo Resurrected takes place at Kings Place on 28 October 
with a second efficiency as a part of the Leeds Worldwide Live performance Season on 3 November. Inventive Director Julian Azkoul units the scene.

Classical music and circus arts don’t seem at first look to be apparent bedfellows. There aren’t any ballets for clowns or operas about jugglers. However, circus arts and juggling share many components with music: rhythm, timing, gestures, phrases, patterns, even shapes. As a string participant I got here to understand this once I took half in a present with the pioneering juggling troupe Gandini Juggling that explored commonalities between juggling and classical dance. Within the manufacturing, music was the glue that certain these disciplines collectively.

On the United Strings of Europe, we’re frequently in search of methods to re-imagine string taking part in and the live performance expertise. An enormous a part of that includes presenting bespoke preparations and commissioning new music. However greater than the rest, it’s our inter-disciplinary tasks that encourage us to maneuver past our coaching, to stretch our considering, and to search out new methods to have interaction and enthral our audiences. I’m fascinated with how narrative can form a live performance efficiency, and the way completely different artwork types can inform and illuminate each other.

Apollo Resurrected - United Strings of Europe at Kings Place (Photo Dimitri Djuric)
Apollo Resurrected – United Strings of Europe at Kings Place (Picture Dimitri Djuric)

All these strands come collectively in our new present Apollo Resurrected. The idea emerged throughout successive COVID lockdowns. A lifelong fan of Stravinsky’s music from the inter-war interval, I’ve been fascinated together with his ballet Apollo and His Muses and its richly orchestrated rating for string orchestra. I wished to discover a option to re-contextualise the work, to maneuver away from the summary Neo-Classical ballet blanc choreography initially devised by American choreographer George Balanchine (1904-1983) and to make it someway extra related to our instances. 

The unique work ends with Apollo’s apotheosis, suggesting a change has taken place due to the intervention of the Three Muses: Polymnia the muse of mime, Terpsichore the muse of music and dance, and Calliope, the muse of poetry. Within the depths of lockdown once we have been pining for regular life to renew, the related questions have been how as a society, and extra particularly as a creative neighborhood, we would recuperate. 

The inherently expressive, musical and interactive nature of juggling appeared a becoming metaphor with which to discover these questions. I reached out to my musician and thespian good friend Invoice Barclay of Live performance Theatre Works (Invoice was the Music Director on the Globe Theatre from 2012-19) and invited him to plan a brand new libretto for Stravinsky’s Apollo that will look at these notions.

 In our present, both facet of Stravinsky’s rating sit two modern works: Osvaldo Golijov’s Tenebrae which units the scene, and a brand new work One other Eden we commissioned from British composer Joanna Marsh which closes the present. Joanna’s temporary was to put in writing a piece that will place Apollo in his factor and in concord with the muses, having overcome the challenges he faces at the beginning of our story.

 Though there’s a very intimate high quality to our present, with solely six musicians and 4 jugglers on stage, it is usually one of many United Strings of Europe’s most formidable tasks up to now. Integrating and coordinating a number of inventive voices, from that of Invoice our dramatic director and librettist, our designer Ruth Paton, our juggling adviser Sean Gandini, and the priorities and pursuits of the forged and musicians, has been each difficult and really rewarding. For the ensemble this can be a blueprint for creating new and thrilling tasks that hopefully refresh the live performance format and assist increase classical music audiences.

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Elsewhere on this weblog

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  • Persian inspirations: UK-based Iranian composer Farhad Poupel talks about drawing on wealthy Persian tradition for his music – interview
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  • Music, merriment and mayhem: a day on the Oxford Lieder Pageant – live performance assessment
  • Coleridge-Taylor & Buddies: Elizabeth Llewellyn and Simon Lepper on the Oxford Lieder Pageant – live performance assessment
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  • Doing it with the requisite seriousness is essential: composer Noah Max & director Guido Martin-Brandis on bringing Holocaust story, The Boy within the Striped Pyjamas to the operatic stage – interview
  • Up shut and private with Farinelli: A Queer Georgian Social Season at Burgh Home – live performance assessment
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  • A brand new benchmark: the primary new recording of Tippett’s The Midsummer Marriage for over 50 years brings out all of the work’s intoxicating brilliance – file assessment
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