Our Double Bill of The Little Sweep and The Hiding Tree was a huge success. Starting out in the children’s schoolrom in the 1810 setting of The Little Sweep, The Hiding Tree took life as a story told by governess Rowan to the children in her charge. The performance featured nine of our senior singers as the older and younger sister and the seven singer Monster. Alternately funny, dark and dramatic, the opera captured our audiences’ imagination. Its success is a testament, not only to the enormous work put in by the singers, but also to a very effective collaboration between choreographer and movement coach, Julia Pond and costume maker Madeleine Fry in helping create the Monster. The Monster costume was a major creative effort, involving art students from our partner school, Chesterton Community College and members of the CYO production team.
In deliberate contrast, The Little Sweep, brought a simple story to life in clean lines and an almost monochrome setting. Back in the schoolroom, the touching story of the rescue of young Sammy from a terrible fate, stuck up a chimney, was delivered with enthusiasm and panache by a talented group of younger singers as the children, helped by their young governess. The adult roles in this opera gave us the opportunity to involve emerging young singers, who provided inspiration for their younger counterparts. The young chorus performed beautifully in the audience songs, joined in the first by choirs from Chesterton Community College and Michaelhouse Chorale and in the Finale by the whole audience, just as Britten intended.