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In 1997 Glyndebourne education commissioned writer Stephen Plaice and composer John Lunn to create a youth opera for the main stage with 5 professional singers, 73 young people in cast and a youth orchestra. It was revived at Glyndebourne in 1998.
The prologue is set in 12th century China, where a philosopher is writing about the future. Managing to blot and burn a page of his manuscript, he must travel to the future to put matters right. In Crayford, England, 1999, a bunch of lads are up to no good at a railway line: Frank sprays his mark on a tunnel wall, while Barry puts a concrete block on the track. The train derails and the driver is hurt.
A police inspector turns up at the school to question the kids. They have discovered the absent Frank’s mark on the wall and the finger of blame points to him. The inspector also warns the kids about a missing person, or misper, seen in the vicinity: he might be responsible for some fires in Crayford recently. Julie, who knows Frank could not be to blame for the derailment, determines to emulate her heroine, a TV detective, and find out the truth. Frank is hiding out at Blackthorn Tip, where the philosopher – alias the Misper – befriends him. Barry helps catch Frank and the Misper and hands them over to the police. Julie is now sure Frank is innocent.
She uses the fact that Barry fancies her to prove him guilty. He invites her out for a Chinese meal with the proceeds of his petty crimes, and she records their conversation. The Misper then warns her that Barry is setting the school on fire, and she saves his life. Barry is arrested and admits everything. At the tip, the Misper explains to Frank that he will return to his own time and that none of these events will happen. Back in China, he sees that the manuscript is unblemished.
'Working with Stephen Langridge in Misper... his mentorship put me in excellent stead for my career.'
- Mark Enticknap, GYO participant
Chu Hsi (Misper) - Omar Ebrahim Little Mook - Joss Turley Frank Winter - Joseph Beamont/John Berry Barry Rook - Chris Hodges/Ben Davies Julie - Alice Purcell/Gemma Ticehurst Detective Inspector Grayling; Keeper of the Books; Footballer - Jozik Koc Hilary Bloomingdale - Mary King Frank’s Mother - Tertia Sefton-Green Vicky Phoenix - Melanie Pappenheim Callum - Thomas Freeman The Emperor - Shaida Danesh-Kazemi Three Boring Books - Hannah Burgan, Tim Partridge & Raven Smith Waiter - Sam Beech Chicken Bully - Billy Nicholas Tom - Jack Feintuck Policewoman - Kathryn Porter Camera Crew - Sam Beech & Kathryn Porter Voice of Traven - Trevor Stuart
Composer - John Lunn Book and lyrics - Stephen Plaice Director - Stephen Langridge Conductor - Andrea Quinn Designer - Alison Chitty Lighting Designer - Keith Benson Movement - Trevor Stuart
Orchestra – East Sussex Academy of Music Orchestra