2007 – Shadowtracks – AUDIENCE Feedback

2007: Shadowtracks

What a terrific piece and an intriguing subject. Such a good idea and interestingly treated. The whole thing looked terrific too. Such magnificent costumes particularly. Bravo to all and all power to your collective elbow.
Jeremy James Taylor, founder of NYMT

Wow! I am impressed: an extraordinary achievement and what an impact on those young lives.
Mark Featherstone-Witty, Director, Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts

I loved everything about it and thought the children were so touching in their performances.
Maggie Cole, distinguished harpsichordist

What a wonderful event. I remember exactly the moment when the penny dropped about who the bag lady was – it was when the little girl who was going away said she would wait for her sister ‘Under the clock’. It was the way she said it, quietly but there was a hush, and on the ‘k’ I got the message – who’s waiting under the clock – Sarah – she must be either this little girl or her sister. A brilliant, brilliant show.
Emma Tristram, writer and musician

Many thanks for a fabulous afternoon: it was so well produced, directed, acted, sung – everything. We loved it.
Mark Holford, producer Opera Les Azuriales, Cap Ferrat

It was a triumph, and the kids were just great – great direction too. I loved just sinking down into my seat and being so totally surprised as the opera unfolded. Brilliant – and very moving, seeing all those little (and not so little) ‘uns being so assured and confident, and making the piece their own. Thank you for a tremendous production …and thanks for masterminding such a complex operation with such total aplomb…. Thank you for making the opera LIVE! Without you it would be a pile of paper with silly dots on!”
Julian Grant, composer Shadowtracks

Just a quick note to congratulate you and the whole company for Shadowtracks! Donald and I were both hugely impressed at Sunday’s matinee, and we enjoyed it immensely.
Stuart Hancock and Donald Sturrock, composer and librettist

Thank you for encouraging me to attend yesterday’s production which I enjoyed very much. The stage design and the direction were particular highlights. It will be interesting for you to watch the development of some of your very talented young singers.
Bill Bollinger, founding Patron of Independent Opera

Once again congratulations on another excellent production to you and all involved. It is such a strength of W11 that the operas are so different from year to year – I can’t wait to see what next year will have to offer!
Bernard Hughes, composer

It was absolutely great to see so many kids having such a good time in something so well written and delivered.
Bill Bankes-Jones, artistic director, Tête-à-Tête Opera

Ian and I had a fantastic time and I was hugely impressed by the standard of everything – from conception to staging. I think it is fantastic that children of all ages can be introduced to art at such a high level without the need for “dumbing down” or “patronizing”. Again my highest congratulations to you and the team.
Fraser Grant, director

I thought Julian did a wonderful job at creating a piece that worked cohesively whilst still giving many young people opportunities to perform and shine. It was definitely one of the best W11 productions I have seen for a while.
Heidi Pegler, head of singing, St Paul’s Girls’ School, ABRSM examiner, co-author of “The Language of Song”

It was a pleasure to watch the cast in what was a most enjoyable and professional production…It was particularly good to see a number of Queen’s Gate girls involved and also to meet three others in the audience. The latter were very envious of the opportunities and may be possible recruits for the future! Please do pass on my congratulations to the cast and the production team, all of whom must have worked tremendously hard to bring this to such a successful fruition.
Mrs Rosalynd Kamaryc, headmistress, Queen’s Gate School

I am so pleased to have been involved with such a fantastic production. The looks on every one of the cast’s faces at the end of last night was worth every pricked finger and ripped seam. The principals were faultless and the chorus enthusiastic without exception. As for the costumes! Please let Mike know what a triumph his designs were and how great they all looked together.
Sally Ingell, parent and costumes’ coordinator

How wonderful it is to have a libretto where important plot points are repeated clearly in chorus several times rather than sung quickly in the top register in harmony just once… We were so thrilled to be there and part of this lovely event again.
Sarah Johnson, parent

I just wanted to let you know that at the community performance there was a real evacuee (she was 5 when she went) and she loved it – I think you should let all the team know as it was a special moment when I introduced her to Olivia and she wanted to say how fantastic all the children were.
Tara Meehan, mother of Evacuee cast member

Just to say I thought the production was really amazing and we were all very moved by the children and the wonderful work everyone has done.
Rachel Suddaby, parent

What a lovely show last night! We really enjoyed it. Thank you and well done for a magnificent effort.
Isabelle de Hennin, parent

Shadowtracks was fantastic – Francis and I both enjoyed it enormously! You must be so pleased it all worked out so well. It must have been a monumental amount of work and you’ve done a brilliant job – well done. Francis is still on a high and totally exhausted so can’t imagine how you’re feeling.
Sarah Melville, parent

Just a note to say what a triumph the show was. We loved watching it and the children loved performing it. Please pass on congratulations to everyone who contributed to the production. It was obviously very hard work and a labour of love but it certainly paid off.
Deborah and Nicolas Kent, parents

We loved the opera and the girls had a really spooked night – shows how good it was!
The Lewis Family, audience members

It was a memorable evening, a beautiful production and a joy to see the talent and enthusiasm on display – well done.
Mary MacEwan, audience member

“Shadowtracks” was the best show I have seen at W11 in recent years. The narrative worked very well with a real sense of wanting to solve the mystery. Musically, this was well balanced between accessibility and challenge for young singers. There were lovely identifiable groups – the “clock” was a triumph – but good individual characters and small roles for lots of participants. The production values are always very high at W11, and this production was no exception but the overall achievement of a story with some depth, pattern and yet humour was very successful. I do hope the cast enjoyed it as much as the audience did.
Nicola-Jane Kemp, coloratura soprano, voice teacher to choral scholars at Clare College Cambridge and at St Paul’s Girls’ School and co-author of “The Language of Song”

Even by your stratospheric standards I think this is the best evening I’ve seen from W11 Opera. All the energy, visual flair and musical, singing and acting talent were there. If I say ‘as usual’ it doesn’t mean it’s taken for granted, for it’s amazing that those things are there every time. What made it the best so far for me was the sheer skill of Julian Grant and Christina Jones in producing a piece that absolutely worked. 1) I could hear almost all the words – clever use of repetition and a brilliant understanding of how to write stuff singable by young amateurs. 2) Lovely music that was original, touching and funny without being too clever, 3) A large number of wonderful roles – not too long, but many chances for lots of performers to have a special moment. And I loved the women’s close harmony quartet.
Robert Asher – friend and long-time supporter

Shadowtracks was a triumph. A truly inspired plot, beautifully expressed in Julian Grant’s music and Christina Jones’s libretto. This was poignant grown up stuff and the young performers excelled themselves. Many congratulations to everyone involved.
Gillian Kisch – supporter

WHAT A TRIUMPH – the best I’ve seen yet. Loved it.
Imogen Barker, audience member

Well done with the most excellent and thought provoking production of Shadowtracks. We all found it stimulating in different ways. It is an inspiration for our boys.
Samantha Barkder and family, audience

It was the most fabulous afternoon, the entire production, sheer numbers of children involved and of course the music was an absolute delight. I was particularly taken with the four bodies of the clock, both the idea and their wonderful singing. Bravo to all in W11!
Hilary Sturt, Head of Strings, St. Paul’s Girls’ School

The whole enterprise was brilliant. W11 is doing such an important job with great panache.
Andrew Van Der Beek, Director, Lacock Music Courses

I thought the production was tremendous, a true realization of Tina and my vision, and we were both thrilled (and surprised) that it seemed to go so smoothly. Those kids were all so focused throughout – quite some feat!
Julian Grant, composer

The poignant and very moving story was captured so exquisitely by the music, reflecting every changing mood, from sad and reflective to buoyant and bursting with life and rhythmic energy. The performers gave everything they had, singing their hearts out in a most compelling and beautifully staged performance.
Elizabeth Boyden, audience member