PUSH comes to Salisbury

SALISBURY composer and conductor Howard Moody will be directing two performances of his community opera, PUSH, as part of Wiltshire Creative’s inaugural weekend, Lift Off! in and around the city over the August Bank Holiday weekend.

Salisbury-based music charity and production company La Folia, in association with Wiltshire Creative, will present two performances of the opera, featuring internationally-renowned soloists, a community chorus of more than 100 adults and children and a professional orchestra.

The two performances of PUSH will be in St Thomas’s Church at 5pm and 8pm on Saturday 25th August.

The opera tells the story of Simon Gronowski, who was pushed from a train bound for Auschwitz by his mother in 1943 in order to save his life. He survived, but didn’t speak of his experiences for many years.

Howard Moody met Simon in Brussels and, after hearing his extraordinary story, promised that it would be the subject of his next opera. PUSH was subsequently commissioned in a partnership between Glyndebourne Opera and Battle Festival to mark the 900th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings and was premiered in Sussex in October 2016. In January 2018, PUSH was performed in Chichester Cathedral to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.

The Salisbury performances in St Thomas’s Church will be staged by Glyndebourne director Simon Iorio, with  composer Howard Moody as musical director. The three soloists are James Newby (Glyndebourne, BBC Proms), Matthew Stiff (Royal Opera House, English Touring Opera) and Tereza Gevorgyan (Opera North, Glyndebourne).

Despite the sombre story, PUSH is packed with memorable scenes and rousing tunes, with a strong message of hope and belief in the ‘power of human goodness’. Simon Gronowski himself will be in Salisbury for the performances and there is an opportunity to hear his story first-hand in his talk at Salisbury Methodist Church at 11am on Saturday 25th August.

More information is available at www.wiltshirecreative.co.uk .

Pictured: Howard Moody, and some of the community chorus. Photographs by Adrian Harris.