Opera – An unusual venue: The Yard, Hackney
New in Ceasefire, Paul Guest's Musical Notes - Posted on Wednesday, September 21, 2011 15:05 - 1 Comment
Hackney is an area I’ve always been interested in, East London has become a hub for new ways of presenting opera with Go Opera’s production of Verdi’s La Traviata in a warehouse and then Vignette Production’s updated La Boheme, in the Village Underground- a regular rave venue.
Last night I took my first trip of the season to the area, to a new venue called ‘The Yard’ to see the premiere of Harry Blake’s short new dance opera Manga Sister. An odd story, possibly an odder commission, but executed as well as it could have been.
Away from the Opera – let’s talk Venue.
For an 8pm show, I walked through a darkening Hackney, the backstreets where only industrial vehicles or possibly Victorian gangsters would be expected. Walking through this small industrial estate, past a vegetable factory, I came face to face with, literally, a warehouse of people, a creative centre.
Greeted by a woman in her makeshift box office reading an old book, she stamped my hand, as in a club, and we were in. We approached the bar where I asked about the wine and I got a sharp response in the form of “If it’s not good, you can shoot me down” – charming.
Well, the venue had many imperfections, even for one on the “fringe”. I suddenly began to realise that “I’m in an industrial estate in Hackney”. The venue has commissioned lots of new work and will be in Hackney until the 31st October 2011. It’s interesting and cool, possibly “hip” – but do feel free to make of it what you will.
So, The Yard, purely as a venue, is probably not worth the trip. The tickets are cheap, mind you, so weigh up the pros and cons. Also: the opera was good (more on that later).
Paul Guest is Ceasefire‘s Classical Music and Opera critic. He also contributes to MUSO magazine, WIRED, Classical Music Magazine, and is the resident interviewer at Opera Britannia.
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