Our Double Bill of Britten’s The Little Sweep and Edward Barnes’ The Hiding Tree was a huge success. We were particularly pleased to present the European première of the Barnes.
Starting out in the children’s schoolroom in the 1810 setting of The Little Sweep, Barnes’ The Hiding Tree took life as a story told by governess Rowan to the children in her charge. Gradually the story of the two sisters bravery in overcoming the Monster who decimates their island took over the stage. Alternately funny, dark and dramatic, the opera captured the imagination of participants and audience alike.
The performance featured nine of our senior singers as the older and younger sister and the seven singer Monster, who mastered musical and dramatic challenges to produce an extraordinary performance
The production was a major creative effort, supported by choreographer Julia Pond and costumier, Madeleine Fry. As well as the singers, the production involved art students from our partner school, Chesterton Community College and members of the CYO production team, who created the Monster and brought the show to life.
In deliberate contrast, The Little Sweep, told a simple story in clean lines. 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.