The Moon Hares

The Moon Hares – with a story by Hazel Gould and music by James Redwood – was designed to bring young people and community choirs together with an orchestra to create and perform in a family friendly community opera.

What we wanted to achieve

The project was the culmination of a three-year partnership between Orchestras Live, Durham Music Service and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (OAE) that aimed to increase the opportunities for young people in County Durham to create and perform music with an orchestra.

The Moon Hares was was designed to bring together different groups from the local community - secondary school age musicians, local primary schools and community singers - to create a collaborative new piece to perform together alongside the professional musicians.

The Moon Hares project with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Durham Music Service

Credit: Angela Fenwick Photography

What we did

  • Musicians from the OAE worked with young musicians from Wolsingham School and local primary schools to create new music to be combined with music by Purcell into a brand new opera telling the story of The Moon Hares.
  • A children’s and community chorus were formed, both of which had a key role in delivering the narrative of the story.
  • 150 participants premiered the new opera on stage at the Empire Theatre, Consett, alongside the professional musicians of OAE and the Northern Spirit Singers as part of the Durham Vocal Festival.

I thought that it was magical. After watching the first performance, I came again on the second night - not because my daughter was on stage but because I enjoyed it so much.

~ Parent

The Moon Hares project with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Durham Music Service

Credit: Angela Fenwick Photography

The Moon Hares project with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Durham Music Service

Credit: Angela Fenwick Photography

Hearing children still singing as they left the venue was brilliant – half were singing original music, the others Purcell!

~ Carolyn Norris, Deputy Head, Durham Music Service

The impact

  • Skills development for the young musicians from Wolsingham School working with and performing alongside a professional orchestra, which included some students learning an instrument for the first time.
  • Many of the audience members were experiencing opera for the first time.
  • Created a new community touring opera, which will visit venues across the country.

I really enjoyed that and I’d love to be able to perform like that in the future. Everyone made me feel part of the production.

~ Young participant

Future plans

Our next co-production of The Moon Hares will be with schools and partners in West Norfolk as the latest stage of the long-term residency relationship by the OAE, currently planned to culminate in performances at King’s Lynn Corn Exchange in summer 2021.

The collaborative partnership between Orchestras Live, Durham Music Service and the OAE is continuing in 2020-21 through Share Sound - a project addressing the challenges of sustaining ensemble music making through the covid-19 pandemic by forming new inclusive ensembles which let young people compose, curate, rehearse, perform and record new music digitally.