Silver Birch Score Completed

Silver Birch

Silver Birch has been gradually unfolding over the past year following completion of the libretto by writer Jessica Duchen. Here, Producer Kate Laughton brings us up-to-date on all the latest developments and what is still to come.

Silver Birch is an original story bringing contemporary themes and issues of war and its impact on family relationships to the forefront, with echoes of the past through Siegfried Sassoon, a regular visitor to Garsington Manor during WWI. For librettist Jessica Duchen, the exploration of these themes of war and loss has taken her on an extraordinary journey ranging from interviews with close relations of Siegried Sassoon, workshops with local school children and adults, to capturing life stories from soldiers recently returned from war.

Now, most excitingly, after nine months of intensive creating, composer Roxanna Panufnik has completed a draft of this highly dramatic and moving piece and is working with our professional cast and production team to give it the final polish. Our Artistic Director Douglas Boyd, who will conduct the opera, has already had a preview: "I have been a fan of Roxanna's music for many years and, having seen the score, I know that Silver Birch has been brilliantly created, is truly vivid and pictorial yet accessible to all ages." We are also developing a stunning acoustic soundscape for the piece with exciting partnership news to be announced soon.

The creative team has grown and alongside director Karen Gillingham, Roxanna, Jessica and Douglas, designer Rhiannon Newman Brown and animator Mischa Giancovich are creating some stunning visuals - sketches only so far but now we cannot wait to see the completed designs. We are also delighted to be working with movement director Natasha Khamjani and vocal animateur Suzi Zumpe who will put our local cast through their vocal and physical paces. 

Over the next few months we will be holding workshop auditions for people in our local community to join the company and we look forward to including them in the next chapter and bringing the opera to life. This is an incredible opportunity to work alongside our top opera professionals and appear as part of the Garsington Opera main season. Silver Birch stands alongside the other operas for 2017 as a testament to the creative professionalism to be found in us all, whatever our age, background or ability.