New Opera Composed in Local Loft

Malcolm Singer's "The Jailer's Tale" will premier in Finchley

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The Jailer’s Tale will receive its premiere staged performances at the Pentland Theatre - artsdepot, Finchley on Friday February 26th and Saturday February 27th 2010. Tickets £14 - Concessions £10 - Under 16s £6
Box Office 020 8369 5454

Acton composer Malcolm Singer rehearsing
Malcolm Singer (right) with Grace Rossiter rehearsing with three members of Finchley Children's Music Group

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Malcolm Singer, a composer who has lived in Acton for 22 years, has been spending every spare moment for many months hidden away in his converted loft in Acton working on an opera which will be premiered in Finchley next week. The libretto is by the poet Nick Toczek.

The Jailer's Tale will be premiered by three professional adult soloists together with some 170 young people, aged 5 to 18 years, from the Finchley Children’s Music Group (FCMG) with the orchestra from the Yehudi Menuhin School conducted by Grace Rossiter.

Malcolm is Director of Music at the Yehudi Menuhin School, and a professor of Composition at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. He has worked with young musicians throughout his professional life, and has composed much music either for young performers, or for a mixture of young musicians and professionals.

While Making Music (1983) was written for the children’s audience of the Robert Mayer Concerts (but performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra), H.D.’s Song (1991) is for children’s choir and children’s instrumental ensemble.

A Hopeful Place (1996) was commissioned for Lord Menuhin to conduct at his 80th birthday concert in the Royal Albert Hall; it is scored for children’s choir (with soloists), string octet and symphony orchestra. Malcolm has composed several works for beginner violinists to perform alongside professional musicians. Fantasia on Yehudi’s Theme (1998), written especially for the ‘Menuhin’s Children’ project was followed by Rondoletto (2003). More recently he wrote Suite: from the Shtetl (2007), which has had many performances all over the country.

Malcolm Singer first worked with the poet Nick Toczek on Dragons (1997), a cantata commissioned by Surrey County Arts for children’s choir and youth orchestra. Encouraged by the success of this work, which was published internationally by Music Sales and performed all over the country, they collaborated on a football cantata – Perfect Pitch (2004). The Jailer’s Tale (2009) is their first opera.

Grace Rossiter, Musical Director says: "The Jailer’s Tale is a powerful piece and offers vocal, musical and dramatic challenges to all our members. FCMG draws in children from all walks of life from all over London and the neighbouring counties, with one major thing in common – a desire to sing and perform, and a thirst for learning music. Rehearsing the opera and giving performances in North London and Surrey will offer a strong bonding experience for our members, encourage deeper relationships with local schools, and broaden our links within the musical community."

FCMG was formed to mount a production of Benjamin Britten’s children’s opera Noye’s Fludde. "The Jailer's Tale" was commissioned to mark the 50th anniversary of the group.

The opera tells the tale of Citizen X – the man in the street – an archetypal scapegoat, put on trial for the woes of the world. It is also the story of his community who move from anger and protest, to silent collusion and the forces that act upon them to create their silence. The story is universal and timeless, but also very much of today.

February 16, 2010

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