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Side view of a conductor with their hand and baton held out in front of their face.

Students bring abandoned 160-year-old opera back to life with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra


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The actors will take to the stage to support Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO) at London’s Cadogan Hall, premiering the 1859 orchestral melodrama A Hundred Years Ago, which had been under wraps for more than 160 years after mysterious abandonment by its composer, Franz Liszt.

Ruby Russell, Jordan Finding and Laura McKay, who are all studying BA (Hons) Acting at Arts University Bournemouth (AUB), will take up the roles of Zeus’ three daughters; goddesses Clotho, Atropos and Lachesis. According to Greek mythology, the three Moirai or ‘Fates’ were tasked with directing the fates of mortals from birth to death.

The acting students will be working with writer and composer Gerard McBurney, actresses Sara Kestelman (Germania) and Jemma Redgrave (Poetry), and the internationally acclaimed Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, who will also be performing compositions by Hummel and Strauss at Lighthouse, Poole (Wednesday 2 October) and London’s Cadogan Hall (Friday 4 October).

BA (Hons) Acting student, Ruby Russell, said: “Performing alongside two actors as renowned as Jemma Redgrave and Sara Kestelman has been the most awe-inspiring experience, especially for us who are so new to the industry.

“Being guided by the incredible Chief Conductor Kirill Karabits and letting the utterly magnificent orchestral sounds flow with the delivery of our words has been unforgettable. It is such an honour to have been involved.”

Katharine Piercey, AUB’s BA (Hons) Acting Course Leader, said: “We are thrilled that three of our acting students will be working with the BSO and Gerard McBurney on the UK premiere of Liszt’s A Hundred Years Ago.

“Creative collaborations such as those between ourselves and the BSO provide fantastic performance opportunities for our students, enabling them to work alongside world-class industry professionals and gain valuable experience which they can draw on as they graduate and embark into the profession.”

Dougie Scarfe, Chief Executive of Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, said: “We’re delighted to be collaborating with AUB again for the UK premiere of Liszt’s Vor Hundert Jahren, as we’re joined by Laura McKay, Jordan Finding and Ruby Russell.

“As well as performing alongside critically acclaimed actors Jemma Redgrave and Sara Kestelman, Laura, Jordan and Ruby will benefit from the direction of our Chief Conductor Kirill Karabits and internationally renowned composer and writer Gerard McBurney.”

He added: “Our partnership with Arts University Bournemouth centres around supporting future generations of arts professionals and we’re proud to be able to offer students real world industry experience.”

Read more about BSO’s Weimar Connections and AUB’s BA (Hons) Acting course.

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