London wordsmith Jessica Duchen talks about her involvement in the new community opera Silver Birch
Silver Birch – a newly-commissioned community opera about the toll war takes on soldiers and their families – will be premiering at High Wycombe’s Garsington Opera festival this weekend (28-30 July). Ahead of that Judi Herman spoke to novelist and journalist Jessica Duchen, who has written the libretto for composer Roxanna Panufnik’s score. The performance features the poetry of Siegfried Sassoon and, in fact, Sassoon’s great-nephew Stephen Bucknill is singing in the production. Also amid the 180-strong company, two are members of the armed forces and 50 of them are primary school children. Eight-year-old soloist Maia Greaves plays Chloe, the younger sister of the two soldiers at the heart of a story set in the present day, with echoes of the Great War provided by Sassoon’s poetry.
Silver Birch runs Friday 28 – Sunday 30 July. 7.30pm. £5. Garsington Opera, Wormsley Estate, HP14 3YE. 018 6536 1636. www.garsingtonopera.org