Entertainment & Arts

Yorkshire flood opera wins Royal Philharmonic Society Award

Calderland Image copyright SARAH MASON
Image caption Calderland featured choirs from four local schools

A community opera staged in response to the 2015 Boxing Day floods in West Yorkshire has won a top music award.

Calderland, which was billed as a folk opera to "celebrate the Calder Valley's tempestuous relationship with water", was staged in Halifax last year.

The cast included a community choir of more than 150 local people including children from four schools.

It won the learning and participation prize at Wednesday's Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards in London.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A resident battling against floodwater after the River Calder burst its banks in Mytholmroyd

The judges said they were "particularly struck by the inclusive nature of the workshop and rehearsal process" and by the "clear evidence that the project has created an energetic musical legacy".

The judges added: "With a compelling narrative and sophisticated musical language, this is the kind of artistic experience that changes lives."

The opera, staged by 509 Arts, traced the area's relationship with water from the Industrial Revolution to the 2015 floods.

Around 4,000 homes and 2,000 businesses were affected when the River Calder burst its banks and rampaged through West Yorkshire towns including Mytholmroyd and Hebden Bridge.

After the award ceremony, 509 Arts artistic director Alan Dix wrote on Twitter: "This is a fantastic result and brilliant news for @509Arts and everyone involved in Calderland. Very proud."

The other Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award winners:

  • Audiences and engagement - Classically Yours (Orchestras Live in partnership with East Riding of Yorkshire Council)
  • Chamber music and song - Schumann Street (Spitalfields Music)
  • Chamber-scale composition - James Dillon: Tanz/haus Triptych 2017
  • Concert series and festivals- This is Rattle (LSO)
  • Conductor - Vladimir Jurowski
  • Creative communication - Becoming a Lied Singer: Thomas Quasthoff and the Art of German Song (BBC Studios for BBC Four)
  • Ensemble - The Sixteen
  • Instrumentalist - Igor Levit
  • Large-scale composition - Mark-Anthony Turnage: Hibiki
  • Opera and music theatre - Monteverdi 450 Trilogy (the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestras)
  • Singer - Allan Clayton
  • Young artists - Sean Shibe
  • Gold medal - Jessye Norman

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