Saturday, August 24

Agreed

- March 8, 2019

A recent post on social media reminded me how the UK Government is starving education of funding when it comes to the arts. Gone are the days when art in its many forms was an essential part of school life, and in particular music.

Thank god then for institutions like Glyndebourne who, with some cemtral arts funding, continue to reach out into the community, both young and not so young, and create amazing projects that are truly inclusive. It may be percieved that Glyndebourne is a rather exclusive and high brow club but nothing could be further from the truth and this is evident when you experience the work done by their Community Chorus and Youth Opera at work with their New Generation Programme.

This year they have come together to present a new work by Howard Moody, Agreed. Agreed is a story of a community divided by authority, a topic that is all too familiar at this present time. The staging is stunning, Cordelia Chisholm’s set beautiful and the lighting by Paul Pyant equally impressive. So too are the professional soloists, both the singers and on stage musicians, as are the always impressive Orchestra of The Age of Enlightenment.

But the real stars here are that extraordinary ensemble that is the community chorus, impressively professional in every sense, from music to movement, a group of dedicated and well drilled music loving and living people who give of their free time to create something really very special.

As for Agreed, it has some very fine moments, some well juxtaposed musical genres, from world to jazz alongside the more classical choral core of the work. On the whole it works well. Sadly I felt that the libretto was less well formed, the story is a little confused and the words sometimes lacking musicality or poetry. Despite being performed in English I too often found myself reading the supertitles.

But let this not detract from what is such an important force in the world of music, and one that should be used or copied more often and more widely, even if only to kick our philistine government in the backside as a reminder that a world without arts is a bleak and dreary place.

Without the support of so many private funders this important work would no doubt be impossible so hats off to them and of course to Arts Council England. The moral though has to be that we need more music education in our schools and not leave it to great organisations like Glyndebourne to ensure a future for what has always been our rich musical heritage.

Glyndebourne

2 March

Andrew Kay

Rating: ★★★★☆


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