CLASSICAL MUSIC / Upbeat: Parsons knows

ONE of the politically contentious places where Verdi did not set an opera, the North Pole, makes its presence felt in a London Concert Choir programme next Wednesday. Michael Parsons wrote his staged Expedition to the North Pole last decade as an account of Fridtjof Nansen's then record-breaking trip just past 86 degrees north, and he has extended the choral music to mark the centenary of the journey's start.

Parsons says his piece 'may also be understood as a metaphor for single-minded or even obsessive dedication in the face of incalculable physical and psychological obstacles to any unknown and possibly unattainable goal.' Sounds like being a composer. The concert, at St James's Piccadilly, also revives a work about a zone of cruder conflict, Peter Dickinson's Tiananmen 1989.