‘Mary Anning’, a community opera, is the story of how ‘dragons’ (the ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs and fearsome wingéd pterosaurs) from Deep Time inspired a little girl from a poor background in Lyme Regis on the Dorset coast to become one of Europe’s pre-eminent palaeontologists and fossilists. Dying – of breast cancer at 47 – she says to her friend and mentor, Elizabeth Philpots, ‘I have been used ill … the men of learning have sucked my brain.’ Throughout her life she was consulted, not to mention thoroughly patronised and exploited by all the great Victorian ‘gentlemen scholars’. She was never elected to the geological or the palaeontological societies springing up (these were all only for men at this time), though she was in at the birth of these disciplines. She never in her lifetime received due recognition.
Once we have successfully secured funding and the opera has been written, there will be many ways you can be involved, from a solo singing role (as one of the main characters) or as a member of one of the two choruses we’ll be creating for the piece: a community choir-style chorus (open to anyone), our chorus drawn from members of established local choirs (which generally are auditioned choirs) or as part of a childrens’ choir. There will be opportunities for the talented young instrumentalists to play as part of the orchestra as well.
Opera is not just about the music…..acting, dancing, set design, costume design, make-up, lighting, props…..and many more activities which go into creating the composite work of art we call ‘opera’!
Perhaps your skills are in other areas than performing or making. We would love to involve you! We’ll do our best to find the right way for you to contribute to the realisation of our opera. All ages and levels of experience are welcome!
We are still at the initial planning stage at the moment. Further details about how you can get involved will be published later.