This presentation saw the bringing together of West End theatre, the classical world that the proms have become world famous for and the popular classical style of the Military Wives choir led by Gareth Malone. As opposed to the military pomp and circumstance that the Royal Albert Hall rightly celebrates with the festival of remembrance, this concert was a more contemplative reflection back at the First World War.
The centenary of the beginning of that horrific conflict will be marked by various endeavours, but few will have the quiet beauty that this concert offered. Director Melly Still's production used the beautiful innocence that the brilliant Handspring Puppet Company's War Horse puppets offer along with the gorgeous score by Adrian Sutton. Combined with some well chosen pieces by composers such as Elgar, Henry Wood and Gustav Holst - all of whom were personally effected by that conflict. The choir of the military wives added further poignancy to the evening.
As a stage presentation, there were some lovely touches and it was exciting to see the various creative worlds come together in this way.
The choice to include Arabic and German folk songs helped personalise the whole experience and focus less on the nationality of combatants and more on their individual humanity. The fabulous photographs displayed during the concert helped emphasise that sense of real people being drawn into the conflict.
The choice to finish on the classic tune "It's a long way to Tipperary" sung in French, English and German was a fitting way to bring the production to a close, and most if not all would have wiped away a few tears during the performance.
One only hopes that such bravery of combining the West End with the classical world will be explored more in the future and we can look forwards to more quality productions such as this!
- Royal Albert Hall
- Michael Morpurgo
- Handspring Puppet Company
- First World War
- War Horse Prom
- Gareth Malone
- Adrian Sutton
- Military Wives choir
- Prom 22
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