This year marks 100 years since the birth of one of Britain’s greatest composers – Benjamin Britten. His opera Noye’s Fludde was written in 1957 for a cast primarily of amateurs with a request that it should be performed in a church, not a theatre. The piece is beautiful, evocative and perfectly written for amateur singers and musicians.
With this in mind, Harrogate Grammar School is presenting 2 performances of the work at the fabulous Grade 1 listed St Wilfrid’s Church Harrogate on Friday 14th June at 7.00pm and Saturday 15th June at 11.00am with a cast and orchestra made up of 200 members of the community including schools, parents, grandparents and teachers.
Rehearsals have been taking place over the past three months in schools and village halls.
The art department and students of Harrogate Grammar School have been tirelessly working on creating 200 amazing animal heads.
Schools taking part include Western, Rossett Acre, St Peters, Pannal, Oatlands, North Rigton primaries and Prince Henry’s Grammar School Otley. On top of these are a number of professional musicians and singers.
The role of Noah is being sung by local opera singer John Cunningham who has performed roles for all the major opera houses including most recently Opera North and Covent Garden. Mrs Noah is to be performed by Margaret McDonald whose concert and opera work take her around the UK including Scottish Opera and English National Opera.
The work will be conducted by Peter Selwyn who has worked in major opera houses around the world including Covent Garden, Opera North, Singapore Opera and Britten’s spiritual home, Aldeburgh. The professional musicians are some of the finest in the country and are joined by, amongst others, the Leeds Handbell Ringers, 25 recorder players and an extended percussion section including whips, slung mugs and wind machine.
The part of God is to be performed by internationally renowned actor, Samuel West. Samuel has appeared in many films including his BAFTA nominated performance in ‘Howards End’, Zeffirelli’s ‘ Jane Eyre’ and ‘Notting Hill’. His stage work includes the title roles in Hamlet and Richard II for the Royal Shakespeare Company and most recently in Uncle Vanya in the West End