2011: Original Features
The happiness on the faces of 85 kids at the end of the show makes you realise what an important thing W11 is. It’s been fascinating to do another year with W11 – especially to see new voices and talents emerge. I can certainly say that in my whole year, this undoubtedly gives me more satisfaction than anything else.
Phil Sunderland, W11 Opera Music Director
How extraordinary that it takes a group of kids to reveal what a ‘gesamtkunstwerk’ really is…Such was the commitment of the performances, the assured musical preparation, the marriage of direction, choreography, design, costume, sound, video and all, it was really like being transported into an alternate world, with no allowances for youth needing to be made.
Julian Grant, Composer Original Features
Gorgeous and haunting opera – an English Sunday In The Park With George.
Maureen Paton, journalist
I saw Original Features last night and was thoroughly impressed. It made me realise what an important part of my life participating the W11 Opera from 1989-1994 was. It is one of my most valued early experiences. I am so happy that the W11 is still thriving.
Lily Bevan, Artistic Director, Osip Theatre
Just to say how much I enjoyed Original Features last night. It is such a wonderful thing that you do to involve so many children and young people in an opera production and it was great fun.
Caroline Steane, Tête-à-Tête
Many thanks for yesterday it was fantastic; so wonderful to see so many young of all ages working so well and creatively together.
Lavinia Wallop MBE, Chairman of the BAND Trust
The production values were extremely high…What was most impressive was the complexity of the piece, through the music and the writing; the young people rose to this challenge. Their work was focused, telling the story with passion and meaning. Achieving a production of such clarity, they had obviously been able to work together through rehearsals, supporting each other, with an awareness of the needs of the piece. It is a shame that the opera had such a short life; it would be wonderful if it could be seen again, giving it further exposure to a wider audience.
Eunice Robert, professional actor / teacher / Trinity-Guildhall examiner
New libretti and new music with talented young casts: a truly exciting combination – long may it flourish.
John Davies, Television Director
Many congratulations on a truly wonderful achievement for the W11 production of Original Features. I was really impressed with what I saw and heard. It was very exciting to see so many young performers on stage together in such a gripping story, told through music. Felix sat transfixed throughout the entire piece, which he has not done so before at the many plays he’s attended.
Nicky Shaw, Opera Designer
I was deeply impressed by the quality of the production and the huge number of people hours that must have gone into getting the show on the road. It was really interesting to see how everyone was working well together and seemed to be a really good team.
Sheila Maloney, New London Children’s Choir
… I loved the idea that we were all about to attend the auction of a property. Every detail of the production was handled with such care; from the Pidgeons to the Pictures. Robert Sosner, in his depiction of the work of the leading character, made the whole stage a vibrant pallete. The contribution from each member of the cast had been thoughtfully and carefully developed… But it was the depth, sensitivity and marvellous melding of the libretto and music that made it such a resounding success.
Elaine Wallace, Senior Lecturer, Central St. Martins School of Art and Design
We had a wonderful evening, and we thought the production was incredibly charming. It was such a unique performance with a spirit and energy that can only be celebrated!
Anthony Lau, Stage Director
The production was wonderful, I loved the ‘pigeons’ especially! Congratulations to all of you for putting on such a great show, and our New York pics looked good too!
Tess Hines, Picture Researcher, Mary Evans Picture Library
What a wonderful evening – we loved it. I loved the story, beautifully portrayed, the children were great, the costumes were perfect and what a fantastic opportunity you gave to all those children.
Margaret Davies, Foreign Versions language agency
It was marvellous. The show itself it had so many layers all of which worked in their own right and as a collective. It was a great show.
Rodney Worth, Wardrobe Supervisor Royal Opera House
… many congratulations on the show which was up to W11’s usual unbelievable standard. I thought the lighting in particular was spectacular, and your music director is clearly a fitting successor to Philip C…My son also enjoyed the show, especially the wonderful effect with the painting, which intrigued him. Well done on another W11 spectacular!
Bernard Hughes, composer Chincha-Chancha Cooroo
Just a quick note to say a huge congratulations to you and the rest of the team for a fabulous production. It was lovely to see everyone again and a particular treat to see the leverets doing so well
Kate Camiller, Associate Producer, Opera Holland Park
Thank you for the opportunity to meet the W11 Opera trustees and to see the show on Sunday. I was very moved by it especially at the end, and enjoyed the opportunity of seeing Julian and Christina again after 12 years …and seeing their work. I’m so glad they’re still writing operas together.
I did find myself thinking during the performance ‘Please let me write for these young people!’
Elfyn Jones, composer
As usual the programme was the best there ever is at a theatre… and costumes, lighting and set were fantastic. William and Christina did a great job too and they constructed a great visual experience which made for a good understanding of the story line…I think it can be truly said that our 40th anniversary commission has been a complete success all round.
Cherry Harris, ex Trustee and Company Manager
My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed it and thought that the production and the performances were excellent.
Lucy Rose, Queen’s Gate School
After attending your beautiful “Original Features” performance last Sunday, where our Goddaughter was singing, my daughter who is ten years old was very inspired and has asked if she could audition for next year.
Cécile Belaman, audience member
I would like to say that the performance was brilliant. I thought the singing and acting were world class. The props used were amazing, I didn’t imagine such quality was still around. The setting in the house gave me a great sense of being back in time when I used to watch my favourite TV series, Upstairs Downstairs. Rhianna told me she loved being part of W11, has made so many friends and did not want it to end last night. She also said that she would love to do it again next year.
Marcia Levi, cast parent
Well done to another successful production of W11 Opera! Thank you for all your hard work and just to say Claudia enjoyed W11 Opera 2011 very much.
Mei Teck Wong, cast parent
Many thanks for a wonderful production. It was a great success…All our guests had very positive comments to make, mostly about the children’s performances….and the costumes too
Muriel Bokkerink, cast parent
Thank you so much for making it such a fantastic experience. We loved seeing the production and marvelling at so much talent from so many young people. Daisy had a great time – and is bubbling with delight at having been part of it again. So many stories, so many friends, she’s still buzzing and singing.
Sally Abrahams, cast parent
Tim+I very much enjoyed the opera and it is a great credit to you+your team who I know worked tirelessly for months.
Mary Beale, cast parent
Thank You so much for all you did to make the opera the success it was. I really can’t believe all the time: months, days, hours and hours you put in to it all… Theo and Zoe absolutely adored their experience of the W11 Opera. I think it was an amazing experience for them (and all the kids), on so many levels, and the thing is I know that they realise that…. The music of course, and the ambition of the Original Features, was fantastic, and fantastic for the children to be a part of… but then also the professionalism extended to everything else, from the day to day schedules you created for every rehearsal, to Caroline and her genius with the costumes, to the brilliant direction of William and Christina… And Kate and Laura… so many of you making sure it ran like clockwork. And it worked and I think we were all lucky to be a part of it. Thank You.
Ines Alfille, cast parent
Thank you so much for inviting us to ‘Original Features’ – the children and myself absolutely adored it. They were completely engaged with the whole production and I can truly say mesmerized!! Of course we would love to come next year. It is fast becoming a highlight of the Christmas term.
Michael Schumm, Headteacher, St. Stephen’s CE Primary School
We thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the show; it was hugely engaging and wonderfully performed. We all thought that the set was fabulous and having the different levels was great for us to see all the action. The chorography was excellent and it was well-paced. We also liked to projections onto the screen, another terrific idea. The costumes, and the costume changes, also were most impressive!The children felt that having had a workshop beforehand was really useful, as they knew what to expect and that is so important; they sang on the bus all the way back to school!
Anne-Louise De Buriane, Headteacher, Langford Primary School
Thank you so much for inviting us to the performance, the children really enjoyed the show, as did I, and we particularly loved seeing Mila on stage! We were amazed by the technology behind your show and this was discussed on the way home.
Amy Smith, teacher, Addison Primary
My first W11 Opera! Thank you for such a lovely experience…. I thoroughly enjoyed the show and was impressed and pleased with the accessibility of the story to children.
Pete Dunmall, Headteacher, Addison Primary