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Getting Our Skates On – The Skating Rink

Getting Our Skates On – The Skating Rink


Hi I’m David Sawer and I’ve composed The Skating Rink for Garsington and we’re sitting today in my composing cabin at
the bottom my garden. I finished the piece a couple of weeks ago actually
and I started it in July last year, so it’s 18 months. There’s two things you
have to think about I think when you write opera: why are these people singing
and why is there an invisible orchestra? Because the stage is so huge, I thought
it’s got to be something musically that really focuses the eye and the ear. For me The Skating Rink is a challenge in terms of how do you show ice skating
on a stage? I’m imagining a world that is pretty colorful, that has lots of primary
colors in it, but the one thing that underpins all of that is the fact that
we have this floor that is made of synthetic ice. “A few days later I was
calm, it was just like it always was…” and you hear in the background then the
ice-skating music coming through so this is almost like trying to write a
crossfade between two scenes. The flow of the opera is like a film, it
is not set in one place, it’s not set in three places
it is constantly moving and this sounds mad but let me continue with it: there’s
a lot of ‘music’ in it! We have an opera singer who’s singing songs in cafes to earn a living… SINGING: “All night and every day…” “…across the gleaming bay…” “…my sick heart follows!” We have brass bands at the fiesta,
going through the town, we have the music that the young woman is training to, we
have a disco scene so there’s disco music, there’s a karaoke
singer…so the score is full of music and I think that the way David has drawn
on popular forms of music with a classical orchestra I think is really exciting! I’ve done the libretto like that so I can see it as a
as a whole thing and these are the words I’ve crossed out! I think it’s a
great story of people sort of falling in love with the wrong people and the
strangeness of the fact that the most unlikely couple that you see on stage
are actually the couple who are together at the end of the opera. The structure of it is very interesting. The idea of telling a story from
three different perspectives; musically it’s interesting because the idea
of theme and variation is everywhere. There’s lots of different
themes but the way I vary it is through orchestration, so that you might hear
something first on the strings and then you’ll hear it on the woodwind. Yes I’m looking forward to everybody coming to see it in the summer! you

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