Holkham Hall - May 17th 2014
Souvenir was the first piece of the 2014 'Memory and Imagination' inspired trilogy. Animating over 150 voices and solo musicians in and around Holkham Hall and it's gardens.
The Voice Project Choir
Directed by Sian Croose and jonathan Baker
The Voice Project Quintet
Bold As Brass Quartet
Derek Scrull - Percussion
Adrian Lever - Piano
Simon Floyd / Emma Bernard - Guides
Conducted by Sian Croose
Music by Orlando Gough, Helen Chadwick, Karen Wimhurst, Jonathan Baker and Rebecca Askew.
Words by Esther Morgan and Tom Warner
Other Poetry by Martin Figura, Jane Draycott, Thomas Nashe and Orlando Gough
Consultant Director - Emma Bernard
Technical Manager - Tim Tracey
Project Coordinator - Iain Lowery
Publicity - Steve Forster for SFPPR
Photography by JMA Photography
Thanks to: Dorothy Ivatt, Fiona Garner, Margaret Hunter, Joan Sayer, Karen Reilly, Steve Dorster, Steph Potts, William Galinsky and Mark Denbigh.
Quite simply, this is possibly the most beautiful and moving experience of its kind that I have seen and heard. I was of course expecting it to sound lovely but to hear it first hand was incredibly moving. What I was totally unprepared for was just quite how visually beautiful and movingly elegant it would be too. The entire choir in vintage clothing and serious expressions, they performed without eye contact throughout. There were clearly themes of loss and memories but I myself kept feeling as if I were watching and listening to ghosts from the past hundred years, and there was a really dreamlike feel to it.
We were led by coloured umbrellas around the grounds of Holkham Hall, where we heard the choir inside the hall itself, which was quite dramatic, and also over the gravelled driveway where a lone fiddle player was performing before being joined again by the choir. We then followed them into the wood, a truly stunning and memorable sight of black umbrellas in the late afternoon sunshine....
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Eastern Daily Press
Set within and around Holkham Hall, over the immaculately manicured lawns and then on into the deer park, Souvenir was a haunting and elegiac spectacle about memory and loss.
As more than 150 performers filled the skies with uplifting and sometimes challenging music, it was as if every singer in the county had been gathered for the day.
Directed with an enviable sureness of touch by the Voice Project’s founders, Sian Croose and Jonathan Baker, this was promenade performance on a grand scale – consistently imaginative and with flashes of brilliance.
There was a loose narrative thread – it was needed to give the performance heft – but what wowed the audience was a largely abstract collage of set pieces. Behatted ladies tootled by on their bicycles, as suited gentlemen walked on, incongruently shielded from the sun by their black umbrellas. A marble hall, stacked with choral singers, reverberated with song. Outside again, a lone drummer, and then a distant brass quartet, played somewhere out in the trees, while a lone fiddler drifted by on a perfectly still lake. The magical images kept on coming.
After such wonder, it was a lovely human touch that the production closed by distributing a cast photograph – our own souvenir postcard. This was a fitting end to a site-specific production drawing talent from the local communities of Norfolk. It not only showed what a festival can and should produce – it showed what a festival is for.
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