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The Orpheus Particle

A group of students from Marlwood Secondary School in Thornbury and New Siblands School in Alveston works with English Touring Opera to create a new opera about science and Greek myth.

ETO returned to Marlwood School in Alveston near Bristol for another exceptionally creative, ambitious and enjoyable week. As before we worked with students from both Marlwood Secondary School and from New Siblands Special School. Nearly 60 students in all from both schools took part in the project, as singers and actors, as musicians and as technicians.

The story of the week is told in this cartoon strip.

The new opera we made was called The Orpheus Particle. There is a strange luminosity about the Severn. Our friend Eurydice goes swimming in the river and almost immediately gets sick. She has swallowed some water and dies. It turns out the water is contaminated with strange particles. These are taken by a group of scientists to the Large Hadron Collider where the resulting collisions bring back Orpheus. It was particles from his head that remained in the water. Orpheus is persuaded that the only honourable thing to do is to return to the Underworld and try to bring back Eurydice for a second time. As ever the journey is fraught with danger.

The week in Marlwood culminated in two sell-out performances.

The ETO team of Russell Hepplewhite (composer), Jude Munden (designer) and Tim Yealland (director) was joined by soprano Lorna Bridge and cellist Rebecca Hewes. We were joined also by excellent students from the Royal Academy of Music: Helena Gourd (flute) and Sam Rapley (saxophone).

As ever huge thanks to Becky Ferguson, and to all the exceptional staff at Marlwood and New Siblands. Their remarkable efforts and planning greatly contributed to the success of this project.

Showing At

  1. Marlwood School
    1st Jul 2013 - 12:00 am
  2. Marlwood School
    2nd Jul 2013 - 12:00 am
  3. Marlwood School
    3rd Jul 2013 - 12:00 am
  4. Marlwood School
    4th Jul 2013 - 12:00 am
  5. Marlwood School
    5th Jul 2013 - 12:00 am
  1. Marlwood School — 1st Jul 2013 - 12:00 am

    BS35 3LA

  2. Marlwood School — 2nd Jul 2013 - 12:00 am

    BS35 3LA

  3. Marlwood School — 3rd Jul 2013 - 12:00 am

    BS35 3LA

  4. Marlwood School — 4th Jul 2013 - 12:00 am

    BS35 3LA

  5. Marlwood School — 5th Jul 2013 - 12:00 am

    BS35 3LA

Comments by adult members of the audience for The Orpheus Particle:

The group vocals were amazing. The music really added to the atmosphere. I found it very moving and exciting. It’s seamless – the young people work as one unit and just seemed to bring out the best in each other. [They gained] understanding, empathy, teamwork – so much better than a week as an office junior! It was just awesome!

[I enjoyed] all of it! Very impressive. All performers seemed involved, excellent performance. I love [opera], I’d like to see everyone experience it. [They gained] interest, fun, cooperation + + + Please please do it again!

The value must be immeasurable – to create a production in such a short time – working with students of all abilities – will never be forgotten. A fascinating project – long may it continue!

I have seen many operas but I particularly enjoy it in a school context. It shows how opera incorporates so many elements and that anyone can participate in the genre. Great confidence building and I’m sure all of them found they could do something they never realised or imagined they could. Congratulations, fabulous show.

Showing At

  1. Marlwood School
    1st Jul 2013 - 12:00 am
  2. Marlwood School
    2nd Jul 2013 - 12:00 am
  3. Marlwood School
    3rd Jul 2013 - 12:00 am
  4. Marlwood School
    4th Jul 2013 - 12:00 am
  5. Marlwood School
    5th Jul 2013 - 12:00 am

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