Contemporary arts festival Deloitte Ignite returns for its sixth year curated for the first time by Stephen Fry, actor, writer, comedian, television presenter and lifelong Wagner fan, alongside The Royal Opera. Deloitte Ignite this year explores the work and creativity of Verdi and Wagner celebrating the 200th anniversaries of their birth with a range of events from a unique installation in Covent Garden Piazza by Es Devlin, to a one-man show by Simon Callow, to live radio broadcasts and choral work.
This year’s Deloitte Ignite also marks the start of a new five year partnership between Deloitte and the Royal Opera House building on the success of the previous five Deloitte Ignite festivals. Deloitte Ignite 2013 also extends over four weekends rather than just one, with both free and ticketed events.
Es Devlin, designer of the London 2012 Closing Ceremony, Take That’s Progress Live tour amongst many other rock/pop, opera, dance and stage shows, has created a unique installation offering an intriguing introduction to The Ring Cycle by Richard Wagner which will be displayed in Covent Garden Piazza throughout September. It’s an interactive sculpture creating an immersive experience using behind the scenes footage taken on 21 separate cameras from a performance of Act III from Die Walküre at the Royal Opera House in 2012. Working in partnership with Capital & Counties Properties PLC (Capco), the sculpture will also be lit at night, continuing to be a visual spectacle nestled in the shadow of the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden’s iconic Piazza.
Eminent writer, director and actor Simon Callow will write and star in a new one-man show commissioned especially for this year’s festival. Inside Wagner’s Head sees Simon Callow portraying the composer Richard Wagner in the style of his previous one man shows based on the lives of Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare. Simon Stokes directs with designs by Robin Don. Performances will be in the Linbury Studio Theatre throughout September. Tickets are £25.
Stephen Fry said: “This is an incredible year for opera lovers. The two hundredth birthdays of Verdi and Wagner and the centenary of our Britten’s entry to the world. Very proud and pleased to be associated with Deloitte Ignite's contribution to this celebration and the opening up of opera to as wide an audience as possible.”
Kasper Holten, Director of The Royal Opera commented:
“I am thrilled that we are taking Deloitte Ignite even further this year, extending it to a longer festival to celebrate the opening of the Season, and integrating it further into our world. We use it as an opportunity to celebrate two giants of European cultural history, the composers Richard Wagner and Giuseppe Verdi, both having their bicentenaries this year. But we are planning to do it in a lot of different and unexpected ways that hopefully will be interesting and entertaining both for long-time opera lovers and people who have never yet been to the opera.
“We are so excited to be curating the festival with Stephen Fry, and the variety of the programme will hopefully make sure there is something for everyone, opening up the historic building to audiences all through September and literally spilling out into the Covent Garden Piazza with a ground-breaking installation. I personally cannot wait for the experience to be inside the opera-machine at work, with the big installation featuring footage shot backstage from Wagner's Die Walküre on our main stage”.
Heather Hancock, Deloitte’s managing partner for talent and brand said: “Five years ago, the Royal Opera House and Deloitte set out to create a fresh landmark event in the arts calendar, one that would bring new audiences to experience new ideas within one of the greatest arts institutions in the world. We are delighted with the success of Deloitte Ignite. It is already an established part of the arts season, has attracted critical acclaim, and is evidence of our shared interest in new ideas, new talent, and creative solutions. To date, Deloitte Ignite has achieved a collective audience of around 44,000 and over 4,000 of our clients and nearly 6,000 of our employees have got close to the work of the Royal Opera House through an active participation programme.
“Over the next five years, we will collaborate with the Royal Opera House more closely than ever before. We have ambitious ideas to develop Deloitte Ignite. We will be sharing our skills and expertise to support the Royal Opera House in achieving its own business objectives. I am confident that our shared appetite for innovation and widening access to the arts will continue to build on the impact already created by Deloitte Ignite, challenging traditional perceptions of both the Royal Opera House and Deloitte.”
Deloitte Ignite 2013 – Friday 6–Sunday 29 September
Friday 6 September
Opening of Es Devlin’s installation in Covent Garden Piazza
First night of Simon Callow’s Inside Wagner’s Head
Other events during Deloitte Ignite 2013 include:
Pop up performances in the Paul Hamlyn Hall by a variety of different artists who have been inspired by Verdi and Wagner. These include Gandini Juggling’s wildly original take on Die Walküre, hand mime artist Andrew Dawson performing a potted version of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, comedy dance duo New Art Club, aka Roden and Shenton, present their own interpretation of Verdi operas, and Royal Ballet Choreographic Affiliate Mayuri Boonham will also perform new work created especially for this year’s festival.
Royal Opera House composer-in-residence Elspeth Brooke has created a unique sound installation for the Crush Room using recordings of people from all walks of life across the world singing Va Pensiero, the slaves’ chorus from Guiseppe Verdi’s opera Nabucco. Special percussion workshops for families based on the Anvil Chorus from Il trovatore will take place in the Clore Studio Upstairs exploring how this distinctive section of Verdi’s opera is performed. A live broadcast of BBC Radio 3’s Music Matters takes place in the Clore Studio Upstairs. In the spirit of this year’s festival theme, the programme will focus on the music of Verdi and Wagner. There will be limited availability for this event.
A special choir day will take place where audiences can experience a range of performances inspired by Verdi and Wagner sung by a variety of different choirs and jazz pianist and composer Julian Joseph will also perform a special one off concert in the Linbury Studio Theatre of Tristan Songs.