Upbeat: The right lines

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The Independent Culture
NEXT week's good timing award goes to Ashford Community Opera in Kent, whose long-gestated Dreamdragons will emerge for the first time on Wednesday. The subject? Railways and their impact on the town - already a live issue even before Thursday's leak of the route to the Channel Tunnel. Organised by Glyndebourne's education department, the opera has flung together the composer Jonathan Dove and several hundred local people recruited through schools, music groups and advertisements. Some of the tunes are theirs, or at least came out of workshop sessions; there's a substantial Dove input which goes well beyond arrangements and link-ups. Four professional singers lead the cast, and Graham Devlin directs (performances run until Saturday at the Stour Centre).

The storyline is also home- grown under professional guidance. Diplomatically it doesn't take sides - the project has attracted sponsorship from Eurotunnel - but it certainly wades in among the worries. As the train exits from its borehole, says the librettist Alistair Campbell, so the heroine breaks out of her tunnel of fear: 'It's Cinderella written by Jung and filmed by Spielberg.'

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