U.K. charity Music and Theatre for All has been awarded a major grant by The Arts Council, which they will use to fund three new projects.
The first project is Urban Opera, which will gather participants from across the United Kingdom. Over the next year, the organization will work with local communities, youth groups, choirs, local bands, designers, industry professionals, and more, to create all aspects of a new show that will reflect the heart and color of the city.
This project draws from Royal Opera House’s “Write an Opera” program, and over the next 20 years, MFTA plans to bring Urban Opera to cities across the country. They will begin in 2022, in the London Borough of Culture Lewisham.
Next is “The Secret Library,” a new opera inspired by rebel fighters who created a secret library in Syria in 2014. The work comes in collaboration with Together Production’s Sing for Freedom Choir and Orchestra of Syrian Musicians, who will help in its development.
Finally will be “Schubert 200,” a celebration of the composer’s three great song cycles set to be performed as part of a tour on the 200th anniversaries of each respective cycle; “Die schöne Müllerin” in 2023, ”Winterreise” in 2027, and “Schwanengesang” in 2028. These performances will feature puppetry to re-create the parlor atmosphere of the time as they engage new audiences with the works of Schubert.
“Music and storytelling have a unique ability to draw together a multitude of different elements and people in moments that can integrate, identify and inspire communities,” writes MTFA Founder and Artistic Director Thomas Guthrie. “These three ambitious projects, the first of many, will address the areas that most need change, care, and investment: opera’s role as an elemental human method of storytelling; the opportunities it presents to tell emotionally powerful new stories, and the need for established classics to be reinvented and made available to all.”