Mary Peters' Olympic glory remembered in mini opera
Nick Clark is the arts correspondent of The Independent. He joined the newspaper in June 2007, initially reporting on the stock markets. He has covered beats including the City, and technology, media and telecoms and made the switch to arts in December 2011. He has also contributed articles to the sports section.
Monday 30 April 2012
Her dramatic gold medal at the Munich Olympics in 1972 ensured her status in her home country of Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles.
Now the pentathlete Dame Mary Peters is to be remembered in a 12-minute opera composed to coincide with the London Games.
Our Day, by Conor Mitchell, will be performed by Northern Ireland Opera at New Music 20x12, a programme of newly commissioned pieces which will be played across a weekend in July at London's Southbank Centre. The piece does not focus on Dame Mary, but instead explores the effect of her win at one of the lowest points of the Troubles in 1972.
Mitchell, who was born five years after the event, said: "That year all hell broke loose and then there was this day when someone from Northern Ireland won a medal and for one day it all just stopped."
Dame Mary has been aware of the project, but is to meet Mitchell for the first time tomorrow. Mitchell said: "Mary Peters is very much part of the Northern Irish consciousness. Sport is such an enormous part of the culture, but I didn't realise how important until I started researching this piece." He added: "It was horrific in 1972 and this woman stood up. It was brilliant, she's a beacon for Northern Ireland."
Mitchell said the 12-minute limit proved taxing. "It is much easier to write an opera that is an hour long, rather than 12 minutes. You want to take the listener on a great journey. I was there with a stopwatch. A link to the Olympics there, maybe."
And while other works also take the Olympics as inspiration, not all have such a serious subject matter. One, Joe Cutler's Ping!, will be the first time a piece has been performed by a string quartet and four table-tennis players. "It's a collaboration of music and sport. In one way the table-tennis players are the percussion section, but they're also like dancers," he said.
The new commissions, backed by the PRS for Music Foundation, feature musicians who specialise in contemporary classical, jazz and folk music.
game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Technology company Alibaba posts job advert asking for 'stunning' women with qualities of adult film actress Sora Aoi
- 2 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 3 'Fire at every person you see': Israeli soldiers reveal they were ordered to shoot to kill in Gaza – even if the targets may have been civilians
- 4 Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
- 5 Uploading pictures to find out how old you are gives Microsoft the right to post them wherever they want
Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to join show
X-Men Apocalypse: First look at Jubilee and Jean Grey played by Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner
American Horror Story: Hotel Angela Bassett set to make 'lots of trouble' with Lady Gaga in season 5
Jorge Luis Borges fan brings his infinite library to life online
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
In defence of liberal democracy
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils