Three young composers had the opportunity to display their abilities on Friday evening in the performance of 20 minute operatic fragments written for the occasion. They were Rose Miranda Hall whose piece was Dead Equal, an eloquent celebration of wartime courage and sacrifice, in this case featuring women in a combat role, including Flora Sandes, the only British woman to serve as a soldier in WW1.
Next up was a piece by Grace-Evangeline Mason, a composer barely out of her teens, who already seemed to me to show a strong theatrical flair in her piece, The Yellow Wallpaper, which made an immediate impact on us all. I was not the only one to find it the most mature and persuasive of the three - helped as it was by an outstanding performance in the central role by Isolde Roxby.
There is little doubt that opera is very much alive as a vehicle for young artists, composers and writers. Helios is doing a tremendous job in ensuring that creative souls have an outlet and a platform. And all this is thanks to the energetic leadership of the indefatigable Ella Marchmont.
Speaking of wacky, alas I am unable to get to Gerald Barry's new "opera" - Alice's Adventures Under Ground - 70 minutes of mature inspired insanity which should not be missed. I went to part of a rehearsal yesterday afternoon at the BBC studios in Maida Vale. I am upset to miss the performance but will be basking in Mozart at the Royal College of Music instead. One can not do it all!