While I'm juggling a Carnival of the Animals with The Ugly Duckling, I'm also busy preparing for my "debut" with the brilliant and youthful Docklands Sinfonia, a fascinating orchestra set up by conductor Spencer Down to bring a bit of music making to the East End of London. Like me, he's very keen to reach the audiences that other orchestras cannot reach, and so we are collaborating on November 30th.
The concert will take place in St. Anne's Church, famous for its tall spire; inside the crumbling classical mouldings lend a Romantic air. It will be a very special setting for Hoffmann's dark tale of Drosselmeyer and the Mouse King, originally set at the turn of the 18th century - around 50 years after this church was built. The church has Navel associations - it's not far from Greenwich - and the heyday of the British navy dovetails historically with Napoleon's word, which Hoffmann touches on in his Georgian/Regency battles.
Although the concert starts at 7.30, as it's a Friday night (the night before advent) we hope that families will bring children to experience this very unique Christmas concert. I'll be dressed as Drosselmeyer to narrate the story - and illustrate it live in time to the music!
The programme includes wonderful music by Verdi, Respighi and a new work by Lucy Pankhurst, inspired by the musicians on board the Titanic; in this centenary year, her new work will be receiving it's World Premiere performance at this concert. So there are many reasons why it will be a truly memorable and magical evening. And you get to go on the Docklands Light Railway, which is always a good thing!
To book, and for full details visit the website of the orchestra here: http://www.docklandssinfonia.co.uk/concerts
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