In the case of the HS2, art is certainly imitating life. The controversial proposed high-speed railway network has spawned its first creative backlash in the form of Garsington Opera's first large-scale community performance.
Chronicling the story of a divisive new toll road scheduled to slice through a village, Road Rage, directed by Karen Gillingham, has attracted over 200 amateur participants aged from six to 86. From suited lawyers to sulky teens, local people perform composer Orlando Gough's lively score alongside professionals and the Southbank Sinfonia youth orchestra.
Richard Stilgoe, co-writer of Starlight Express and Road Rage's librettist, recalls the M40 project that carved through Oxfordshire's chalk hills in the 1970s: “One minute you are on the M40... the next you are in the peace and beauty of Wormsley... This contrast was the starting point for a community to stand up and sit down for what it believes in.”
Road Rage, Garsington Opera, Wormsley Estate, Buckinghamshire, (www.garsingtonopera.org) 19 & 20 July
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