Work of the Week - Michael Tippett: The Ice Break
On 3 April 2015 Michael Tippett’s fourth opera The Ice Break will be staged in a new production by Graham Vick and the Birmingham Opera Company. Andrew Gourlay will conduct the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, who appear alongside a chorus of 150 amateur singers from the Birmingham area.
Premiered in 1977 at the Royal Opera House in London, The Ice Break portrays four ethnically and socially diverse protagonists caught in the midst of an increasingly violent conflict between two rival gangs. The work is a study of human relationships and personal identity, and explores our duties to one another in society. Though the libretto - also written by Tippett - is often turbulent, fraught and bloody, the composer’s message is ultimately humanitarian:
Splintered and rich in reference as Tippett’s operas are, in their music and in their text, they carry at their heart a glowing confidence in the power of human beings to find a centre, and from that centre to sing. – Paul Griffiths
The Ice Break runs until 9 April at the B12 Warehouse in a promenade-style performance. On 9 April, Birmingham Opera Company Chorus are hosting a symposium ‘Breaking the Ice’ to discuss the role of social responsibility in the arts.
Photo: SIMBA / www.utsa.edu
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