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Setting the scene for the opera
8:00am Friday 15th June 2012 in News
FOR nearly three centuries the Royal Opera House has been staging some of the most mind-blowing musical theatre.
Some of the world’s best singers, dancers and performers, often accompanied by one the most famous orchestras, the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, have lit up the grand Covent Garden-based theatre.
Performers play against the backdrop of spectacular sets, in fine costumes and with detailed props.
In July, the Royal Opera House is playing host to Hot House, an opera comprising 150 children from all over the country, who will perform alongside Opera House professionals.
Parts of the set, and all the costumes and props for the opera are being created in Thurrock by local people.
Every Saturday since April 28, people from all over Essex have descended upon the South Essex College Thurrock Campus, in Woodview, Grays, to take part in ten community workshops.
Under the guidance of Richard Olivieri, head of props, Lesley Ford, a professional costume designer and Sarah Grundy, head of millinery, props and costumes have been created. The ROH team has also visited 15 schools in Thurrock and enrolled their help.
Hot House is opera based on the old price riots of 1809. It tells the story of protests that ensued when the Royal Opera House was made more exclusive with ticket prices increased.
It features an opera set that takes place in Venice, so members of the community and school children have set about designing, building and painting Venetian poles, gondolas and mooring points.
The opera has a prominent theme of fire, so dancer’s costumes are made up of orange, red and yellow materials and prints and as it is set in the 1800s, colourful victorian costumes have been made by those who have a knack for sewing.
Since the Royal Opera House announced it would be moving part of its operation to Purfleet, members of the Thurrock community have taken to opera.
One of those is June Bull, of Balmoral Avenue, Corringham. She has been heavily involved in everything the Royal Opera House has done in Thurrock.
She said: “They talk to you like they care that you’re getting involved in it.
“I’m happy to help. It’s a great thing to have in Thurrock and we’re so lucky to have all this here.”
Another person to have been taken in by it all is Shaw Primary school teacher Caron Barkins, from Corringham. As she went about making giant phoenix claws that will feature in the finale of Hot House, she told the Gazette: “The Royal Opera House in Thurrock is like a big family and it’s nice to be able to do any of it.
“It’s shown me things that I never thought I would be able to do. It’s such a nice experience.”
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