Elemental

Project summary

The performance included pieces specially written for Glyndebourne Youth Opera Group and Brighton Youth Orchestra over the three years. GYOG 3 & 4 performed four new works about the four elements: Airheads by Ian McCrae (Composer) and Jane Buckler (Librettist); Fire Work by Will Todd (Composer) and Elizabeth Clarke Melville (Librettist); Caol I by Ian McCrae (Composer & Librettist); and Ancestor in the Chalk by John Agard (Librettist) and Orlando Gough (Composer). The concert also featured orchestral repertoire by Brighton Youth Orchestra and a song created and performed by all four Glyndebourne Youth Opera Groups.

‘The Elements are something eternal, without which we would not exist. As symbols they are open-ended, and in our work with them ideas have flown. So many issues, feelings, and conflicts can be found in people’s relationships to them.’ 
- Clare Whistler, Director

The Pieces

Airheads

Ancestor in the Chalk

Caol I

An orchestral piece commissioned by Glyndebourne for Glyndebourne Youth Opera Group and Brighton Youth Orchestra in 2002. Performed on tour in Scotland and at Brighton Festival.

Find out more about Caol I

Fire Work

A music theatre piece by composer Will Todd and libretto by Elizabeth Clarke Melville. Commissioned by Glyndebourne for Glyndebourne Youth Opera Group and Brighton Youth Orchestra in 2002. Performed on tour in Scotland and at Brighton Festival.

Find out more about Fire Work

Airheads 

A music theatre piece by composer Ian McCrae and librettist Jane Buckler. Commissioned by Glyndebourne for Glyndebourne Youth Opera Group and Brighton Youth Orchestra in 2001. Performed on tour in Germany and in Brighton

Find out more about Airheads

Ancestor in the Chalk

A music theatre piece by composer Orlando Gough and libretto by John Agard and Commissioned by Glyndebourne for Glyndebourne Youth Opera Group and Brighton Youth Orchestra. Performed on tour in Spain and at Brighton Festival.

Find out more about Ancestor in the Chalk

Caol I

Fire Work

Notes by the Performers

Caol I’s dramatic orchestration and haunting melodic line make it a truly unique piece. The piece celebrates all things Scottish and includes extracts from the hymn Morning has Broken and Iona Boat Song as well as a snippet from The Sussex Carole as homage to the Sussex roots of the orchestra and choristers. Representing the element water, Caol I takes it’s lyrics from an old Scottish lullaby and is sung in Gaelic. The gentle lilting of the vocal line is juxtaposed with the dramatic bagpipes and the rich full sound of the orchestra. Caol I has been an exciting and challenging journey for me. This is my first solo role with Glyndebourne Youth and I have enjoyed it immensely. Glyndebourne has introduced an entirely new way of working and performing to me. Over the years I feel I have greatly improved in confidence and skill. Working with other young people in a supportive and dynamic atmosphere has made me push my own boundaries and work hard at what I love to do most, sing. Performing in Caol I has been a wonderful experience and a fantastic opportunity - Viva la Musica.’
- Alison Nicholls, GYOG participant

‘Taking Ancestor in the Chalk on tour to Barcelona at Easter was an amazing experience. We managed to cram in a visit to the Gaudi Cathedral and famous gardens, sunbathe just seconds away from our hotel and, of course, perform in some stunning locations. Ancestor was warmly appreciated by everyone that saw it. During one performance, the majority of the audience almost pounced on a man whose phone went off. It was great to see our work being enjoyed, even though the audiences may not have understood all the lyrics. On one occasion we decided to do a spontaneous rendition in the middle of a busy street, right in the city centre and we attracted a small audience and managed to collect a few euros too! We’re obviously all destined to be paid professionals!’ 
- Freya Wynn-Jones, GYOG participant

Creative team

Composers Ian McCrae, Jonathan Gill, Orlando Gough & Pete Letanka
Librettists Jane Buckler, Elizabeth Clarke Melville, Ian McCrae & John Agard
Conductors Ian McCrae, Jonathan Gill & Andrew Sherwood
Director Clare Whistler