A big PUSH for opera’s debut

Battle Festival world premiere with Glyndebourne. Pupils at Sedlescombe School are pictured with Howard Moody. SUS-160113-115714001

Battle Festival world premiere with Glyndebourne. Pupils at Sedlescombe School are pictured with Howard Moody. SUS-160113-115714001

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After months of hard work and preparation, community opera PUSH will finally have its world premiere in Bexhill tonight (Saturday).

The inspirational opera was specially commissioned for the 2016 Battle Festival and the ROOT 1066 International Festival, in partnership with Glyndebourne and the De La Warr Pavilion.

The inspiration for this new work draws on the story of Simon Gronowski, a ten year old boy who was pushed by his mother from a train travelling to Auschwitz in 1943.

And 83-year-old Mr Gronowski has travelled from Brussels for the world premiere of this opera inspired by his extraordinary life.

The premiere will take place at the De La Warr Pavilion tomorrow, with performances at 3.30pm and 7.30pm.

Another performance will take place at St Mary’s Church in Battle on Saturday, October 8 at 7.30pm.

PUSH was written by internationally acclaimed composer Howard Moody and features a community choir, made up of residents from across 1066 Country.

Schools in Hastings, Bexhill and rural Rother have also added their voices to the project, with students from Rye Studio School designing costumes.

Sally Lampitt, one of the organisers of the festival, said: “Rather than take a heritage approach to this significant date, Battle Festival wanted to draw inspiration from the events of 1066 and create our own unique response.

“This project sees world class performers and musicians work alongside a community choir of 130, drawn from the 1066 region.

“We wanted the people of our town and its environs to examine the history, culture and environment that has shaped us – and how the colliding cultures and mass migration that defined the Norman Conquest also shaped the course of the 20th century and still resonate strongly today.

“It was important to us that a new anthem should be created, one that projects a positive vision for the future – of optimism, hope, peace and friendship.

“To achieve this, we wanted a strong narrative that would be accessible and recognisable to a modern audience. Simon Gronowski’s story does just that.”

To book tickets for PUSH, visit www.dlwp.com or www.battlefestival.com

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