Silver Birch, 2017

Garsington Youth Opera Company rehearse Silver Birch
Silver Birch: A People's Opera

Silver Birch, our new People's Opera, crafted so beautifully by Jessica Duchen (librettist) and Roxanna Panufnik (composer) over many months, has now begun rehearsals.

We have over 180 people from the ages of 8-80 from our local community (and some from further afield) who have joined our Silver Birch Company to bring the opera to life. The Company are rehearsing alongside our top opera professionals and perform on Garsington Opera's main stage as part of the 2017 season. 

Silver Birch is a celebration of music, drama and poetry for all the family (age 8 plus). It is a beautiful original story about courage and aspiration, centring on themes and issues of relationships and family ties which are tested when two boys go off to fight in a present-day war, while drawing upon Siegfried Sassoon’s poetry for echoes of the past. Sassoon was a regular visitor to Garsington Manor in Oxfordshire during the First World War.

The Cast:

The Silver Birch company is over 180 strong and includes professional singers and instrumentalists, child soloists, primary age children from seven local schools, a youth company of singers and dancers (age 10-20), an adult company, student instrumentalists, a team of Foley artists (acoustic sound effects), and representatives from the armed forces community, all working alongside a dynamic creative team.

"It is not only the fulfilment of a dream; this creative process, deeply collaborative at every level, has been entirely new to me , and it's one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences I've been lucky enough to encounter. The theme is the impact of war on soldiers and their families, tying together Siegfried Sassoon's World War I poetry and the experiences of those serving in modern warfare. It is designed to appeal to opera regulars and first-time attenders alike. It is fast-paced and action-packed; emotions run high and Roxanna Panufnik has written some incredibly beautiful music, as well as letting her hair down a bit in the battle scene!"
Jessica Duchen, Librettist

Cast pages

If you would like to support this important aspect of our work, please email Johnny Langridge or call on 01865 368201.