Lord Mayor's Appeal project at the Guildhall
In June and July 2019, Garsington Opera worked in partnership with The Lord Mayor's Appeal on an opera project entitled Like Unlike, with 250 young people aged 11-18 from six London schools, many of whom had little previous experience of music and drama. Each of the schools - City of London Academy Highbury Grove, Drapers' Academy, Hammersmith Academy, Prendergast School, Prendergast Ladywell School and Westminster City School - received a one-day in-school workshop, before they paired up for three cluster days, ahead of the final performance.
Led by a professional creative team from Garsington Opera and inspired by Mozart's Don Giovanni, the students devised their own words, composed songs and sang repertoire from the opera. Some students were involved with stage management, and some art and design students helped design the set, costumes and an exhibition. This new take on the opera saw Don Giovanni cast as a YouTube star and examined the dangers of social media. The mini opera was performend for an invited audience of 150 in the historic Old Library at the Guildhall, City of London, on 16 July 2019.
To ensure studients can get the very most from participating in our workshop programme, teachers were provided with specially created learning packs. This resource included: a background and synopsis of Don Giovanni, the Director's concept for the production, descriptions of the characters, audio recording learning tracks, practical exercises for vocal and physical warm-ups, techniques for staging and storytelling which teachers can apply to other repertoire and subjects, useful writing, composition and costume design techniques. Many teachers are planning to develop the resources into a scheme of work to teach opera to other classes.
This project was part of an extensive programme of educational and charitable activities taking place during the office of Alderman Peter Estlin as Lord Mayor of the City of London, and this project will be documented in a short film created by the charity Positive Action through Creativity.
Like Unlike Creative Team:
Director Karen Gillingham
Music Director Omar Shahryar
Designer Bernadette Roberts
Vocal Animateur Jamie Wright (member of Spitalfields Music Creative Leadership Programme supported by Help Musicians Uk's National Grants Programme)
Soprano Samantha Crawford
Baritone Robert Gildon
Rapper MC Angel
Violin Ruth Heney
Clarinet Heather Ryall
Cello Akito Goto