A new piece inspired by Janacek’s opera JENUFA, created by ENO youth company in partnership with Raw Material and Brixton Youth Theatre.

An truly amazing production – achieved in only five days at the spacious studios in West Hampstead north London.  A cast of 50 young people came from all over London, including our own Brixton crew and members from our Instrumental Zone music project, with a Raw Material musician working alongside the ENO team.

The group were able to explore Janacek’s music and themes from the opera Jenufa – that explored the secrets we may keep and what happens when the truth is revealed, a pertinent topic at the present time- and to create their own original interpretations of the theme, to write, devise and perform. An incredible production and experience for these emerging young performers.

This is our third collaboration with the ENO and its just gets better each time!

Following on from their work with the ENO in ‘Millions of Years’ at the British Museum, Raw Material and Brixton Youth Theatre were at the Coliseum on Friday night for the performance of Akhnaten – a thought-provoking, absorbing experience. Beautifully produced, with amazing sets, lighting and music, it got a definite thumbs up from all the young people.

The opera tells the story of the divine ruler of Egypt, husband to Nefertiti, father of a new religion. Akhnaten decrees that the sun god rules supreme, and the old gods must be banished from their temples. But instead, his people turn upon their Pharaoh as a traitor. Akhnaten must die. At the end will his new faith live on?

This extraordinary work has not been seen in London for 30 years and forms the last of Philip Glass’s trilogy of ‘portrait’ operas in which he looks at figures from the fields of science (Einstein), politics (Gandhi) and religion (Akhnaten).The mesmerising opera uses texts drawn from ancient hymns, prayers, letters and inscriptions sung in their original Egyptian, Hebrew and Akkadian. ENO’s new production is directed by Improbable theatre company’s Phelim McDermott and follows his spectacular stagings of Glass’s Satyagraha and The Perfect American. Countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo sings the title role, while conductor Karen Kamensek, a specialist in Glass’s music, makes her ENO debut.

We will be meeting soon with the ENO Baylis programme staff to feedback on the whole experience and to discuss new ideas and projects.

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Pop Brixton lit up this Saturday with performances from Lambeth emerging music talent. Music Masters, Raw Material, SGS and Groove School gave it their best – from classical to hip hop and dub vibes, all showing some of the best new talent developing in Lambeth, from 11 year DJ’s and dancers, to rappers and singers and a full orchestra, all under one roof.
Earlier in the day Kinetico Bloco roused up Black Cultural Archives and spread their beats out across Windrush Square, all part of Lambeth Music Week and the Music Network programme.
Included in the activities catch the debate on Thursday 24 at the Southbank centre 2-5pm where we will be exploring how music works with young people in challenging circumstances- Raw Material will be focussing on our work in mental health.
The ‘Programmed Perception’ exhibition at Raw Material presented a house full of surprises of innovative perceptions and styles. Graffitied traffic stands and discarded wheel trims, challenges about urban and open spaces, stark dialogue issuing from dead pan heads projected onto cubes in darkened studios, surrealist plaster casts adorned an upright piano, the work was intriguing and engaging.
Curated by ex ‘Raw Fire’ saxophonist Ella Barnard and artist Lizzie Reid, the exhibition of work by students and early stage artists drew a large crowd, who were able to wander around the spaces across three floors at Raw Material, with regular impromptu entertainment from both local and invited artists and DJ’s. Shahi delivered just the right vibe for the occasion with his poignant lyrics and guitar playing, first time performer Faith delighted the audience with a totally professional performance backed by Raw’s house band and our own DJ Latoya hyped up the energy with her House inspired tracks.
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