PURFLEET will once again resound with music in July when the Royal Opera House’s FUSED festival returns. FUSED celebrates the talents of the people of Thurrock and takes place from Friday 3 July to Saturday 11 July. Now in its fourth year, the week-long festival offers a great range of performances and activities for opera and ballet fans to enjoy and this year celebrates costume too.
‘Fused has developed from having a focus on purely vocal work with workshops and master classes in its first year to now encompass so much more and is a real showcase for the skills and talents of the communities we work with in Thurrock,’ says Gabrielle Forster-Still, Deputy Head of Learning and Participation for Royal Opera House Thurrock. ‘The festival this year will be even more diverse with costume, music, dance and our Trailblazer schools involved. It is a fantastic celebration of the dedication of the ROH Thurrock Community Chorus and RM19 members. We are also tremendously excited this year to look forward to the new Costume Centre opening in the autumn.’
FUSED begins with a fantastic opportunity to see a spectacular production by The Royal Opera of Mozart’s Don Giovanni relayed live from Covent Garden to the BP Big Screen at the High House Production Park on Friday 3 July. Don Giovanni is a reckless libertine seducing his way across Europe. But when he commits murder, has Don Giovanni set off a dark chain of events even he cannot escape? Star baritone Christopher Maltman’s dazzling performance in the title role is matched by the innovation of this exciting production, which uses the latest in stage technology and set design to tell the thrilling tale.
The BP Big Screens live relays are free and there is no need to book. The High House Production Park will be open from 5.15pm with stalls in the orchard and a free mask making workshop. The pre-performance programme begins at 6.30pm with exclusive backstage films, competitions and live interviews. Bring a blanket, a picnic and let the wonderful music transport you. There will be plenty of free parking.
On Thursday 9 and Friday 10 July, it is the turn of the people of Thurrock to show off their singing abilities at the Civic Hall in Grays. The Royal Opera House Thurrock Community Chorus and RM19, the Royal Opera House Thurrock’s youth vocal group, come together for the first time for All Change. Taking inspiration from the new Royal Opera House Bob and Tamar Manoukian Costume Centre, All Change is a new production that combines chorus numbers from existing repertory with new imaginings of existing pieces in an exploration of some of the timeless themes of opera. Expect old favourites woven together with some never before heard pieces to take you on a journey of change.
The Royal Opera House Thurrock Community Chorus has become an important part of life for many of its members. Eddy Archer, a Chorus member from Tilbury loves adding his voice to it: ‘Since I retired 2 years ago, the Thurrock Community Chorus has given me a new lease of life, not only the singing but the voluntary work I’m now involved in.’
To the close the festival, everyone is invited to a Costume Party. On Saturday 11 July from noon until 4pm, the High House Production Park will be a riot of colour as the site is taken over by costumes. The Backstage Centre, Thurrock Music Services and the High House Artists’ Studios will all be taking part. Kinetika will be walking into the Party as part of Thurrock 100, bringing one of the project’s silk flags. There will also be workshops in the Kinetika studio.
There will be opportunities to make your own outfits and accessories, and costumes from the Royal Opera House to try on. You can meet the opera diva Carmen, watch the Firebird dance or strut your stuff on the virtual catwalk. Prizes will be up for grabs for the best catwalk selfie. Dress up in a wild, whacky out and join in the fun.
Jillian Barker, Director of Learning and Participation at the Royal Opera House is full of enthusiasm for the festival and said ‘I’m delighted that the FUSED Festival returns for the fourth year running, showcasing the vast array of creative work that happens on site at the High House Production Park and across Thurrock all year round. This year it is especially exciting that the Royal Opera House’s two Thurrock based choirs, the Thurrock Community Chorus and the Youth Vocal group RM19, will be performing together for the very first time. The Costume Party will definitely be a really fun day for everyone of any age to get involved in.. What a fabulous way to celebrate our new completed Costume Centre, the latest addition to the growing High House Production Park family.’
FUSED runs from Friday 3 July to Saturday 11 July. To find out more about FUSED, go to www.roh.org.uk/thurrocksummer.