THE LONDON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA AND SIR SIMON RATTLE GIVE THE WORLD PREMIERE OF SIR PETER MAXWELL DAVIES’ LAST MAJOR WORK, THE HOGBOON, A CHILDREN’S OPERA
Sun 26 Jun 2016 7pm, Barbican Hall
The London Symphony Orchestra and Sir Simon Rattle perform the world premiere of The Hogboon, a children’s opera by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, on 26 June at The Barbican. It is the second in a series of LSO commissioned mixed-ability operas, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, and featuring musicians from the local community and the Guildhall School, performing with the LSO.
Maxwell Davies’ last major work, following his death earlier this year, The Hogboon has been written for musicians of all ages and of different abilities, and is directed by Karen Gillingham with design by Rhiannon Newman Brown. The LSO's Discovery Choirs (made up of children aged 7 to 18), the London Symphony Chorus (comprising talented amateur singers from all walks of life) and musicians from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama will all perform alongside the Orchestra. For the production the choirs are guided by an expert team of choral conductors: David Lawrence, Lucy Griffiths and Neil Ferris, led by LSO Choral Director Simon Halsey.
LSO Music Director Designate Sir Simon Rattle said, ‘The LSO has always been a ground-breaker in music education, and believes that we all have a responsibility to share our art with as many people as possible. Their work with children all over London is inspiring, and was one of the reasons I was so attracted to work with the Orchestra. We have embarked on a series of commissions, realising that there were very few works in the mould of Britten’s Noye’s Fludde, in which children, adults and professionals could all perform together. Max’s last piece is a magical addition to that canon, and enables the LSO to work together with the greatest variety of amateur musicians, from the ages of 6 to 65, and bringing in the hugely gifted musicians of the Guildhall as well. This is vital work for us all, and I am thrilled that this kind of project will be a constant theme over the next years.’
LSO Managing Director Kathryn McDowell, said: ‘Sir Peter Maxwell Davies' works for children are amongst the finest of his entire output – creative, imaginative and always pitched at a level which both inspires and stretches his participants and enables them to achieve their best. When the LSO and Sir Simon Rattle developed the idea of commissioning a series of three children’s' operas it seemed completely natural that one should be from Max. He responded with characteristic enthusiasm – even writing his own text on the Orcadian legend of the Hogboon – and completing the work in the final months of this life.’
Adapted from a local folktale from the Orkney Islands in Scotland, where Sir Peter lived and worked, The Hogboon tells the story of a boy, Magnus, who must save his family and community from Nuckleavee, a vengeful and terrible sea-monster who lives in the waters around them. Luckily for Magnus he has the help of his Hogboon, a familiar spirit which lives in each house in Orkney, looking after the wellbeing of the family that lives there.
The programme is completed by Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, which also features Guildhall School musicians – many of whom are studying on the Orchestral Artistry postgraduate specialism delivered in association with the LSO - performing side-by-side with members of the LSO. Sir Simon Rattle will take on the role of Artist-in-Association with the Guildhall School and Barbican Centre, alongside his appointment as Music Director of the London Symphony Orchestra from the 2017/18 season.