Christopher Morley, from Midlands Music Review, speaks to Orchestra of the Swan’s Managing Director Debbie Jagla, about OOTS new season in these uncertain times.
Extracts of the interview are below – the full article is available to read here.
OOTS First Concert Since March
“The first concert on October 6th (The Living Orchestra: New Beginnings, at Stratford Playhouse) will take place ‘in the round’ under the central lighting gantry, which means that we make the best use of the venue acoustic and enable as many people as possible to have a good view. Capacity is of course severely reduced to a third of the normal size, so the raked seating, which would usually seat 200, will only accommodate 60.
Social Distancing Measures in Place
“However, we have compensated for this by adding up to 20 tables on the floor, looking inwards towards the centre, each of which will seat a bubble of up to four people. With table cloths and table lighting, the atmosphere will be intimate and inviting.
“The concert length has been reduced to an hour without an interval, enabling us to repeat the entire performance 90 minutes later, allowing us to maximise our audience.
“Drinks will be available on arrival and can be taken into the hall, there’ll be a separate queue for the loo and thorough cleaning……what more can you ask for? We encourage audience members to wear masks, which can be removed once seated.”
New Beginnings is the “New Normal”
When asked how social distancing will affect ensemble and communication between the players, David Le Page, concertmaster and Artistic Director of OOTS, discusses the return to the “new normal”.
“Being further apart and seated at separate stands means that there will have to be even more listening and awareness than usual. We will function like an expanded chamber group with all the qualities that implies. I think the fact that everyone is trying harder and listening more intently (audience too) coupled with a feeling of joy about being able to do this at all, will undoubtedly make for a very special performance.”
A Poignant and Celebratory First Concert
“I wanted our first concert to be poignant and celebratory and to acknowledge what everyone has been through during the last six months. Starting with Max Richter’s beautiful and inward-looking On the Nature of Daylight and finishing with Copland’s exquisite and life affirming Appalachian Spring, seemed to encapsulate this idea of new beginnings. On the way I wanted the audience to experience the unfettered joy of Rameau’s music so we’re playing a suite arranged by David Gordon, which is an amalgamation of tunes from three of his operas.
“I also felt it was important to reflect what is going on in the wider world today, so we are going to feature three composers from distinctly non-white, non-European backgrounds. Undine Smith Moore features in the first concert followed by Errolyn Wallen in the second and Joseph Bologne in the last.
Introducing Pleasant Surprises
I’m always trying to find a balance between justifiably well-known works and some unusual and hopefully pleasant surprises. Hence we have Bach, Mozart and Copland but also Reich, Rameau and Undine Smith Moore.”
Orchestra of the Swan is an English professional chamber orchestra based in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. OOTS returns for it’s first live concert since March, on 6th October at the Stratford Playhouse, with two performances at 6pm and 8:30pm. To book your ticket click here.