Review: Bushra El-Turk and Eleanor Knight, Silk Moth; Grimeborn, 9 August 2019

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Originally posted at Tempo: a Quarterly Review of New Music:

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When Eleanor Knight began researching her libretto for Silk Moth, she had to decide how to frame an opera about honour violence. Meeting women whose lives it had ruptured through the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation, she confronted the usual images that accompany the dozen-or-so honour killings per year in the UK media. Between the ‘old, faded school photos’ that illustrate victimhood and the male perpetrators with ‘blankets over their heads … shoved into waiting police cars’, she saw a gulf of painful complexity. ‘What’, she asks, ‘of the mothers?’.1
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Review: Grimeborn Festival stages daring triple bill featuring El-Turk’s Silk Moth

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Originally posted at I Care If You Listen:

Shira Agmon, Camille Maalawy, Aivale Cole and Sophie Atalar in Ruthless Jabiru // Silk Moth (Director Heather Fairbairn, Set & Costume Designer Charlotte Henery, Lighting Designer Sean Gleason, Video Designer Sapphire Goss) © Lidia Crisafulli

It’s summer opera festival season in the UK—so, are you a Glyndebourne or a Grimeborn person? Country house in Sussex, or a converted factory in east London? Mostly standard repertoire, or an adventurous programme with plenty of contemporary discoveries? Membership advised if you want to attend, or accessible pricing? Picnic on the lawn in the supper interval, or walk round the corner to the finest Turkish kebab joints in town?
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Kelly Lovelady: On staging Bushra El-Turk’s Silk Moth this August for Grimeborn

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Originally posted at Composers Edition:

Template 258x173.jpgRuthless Jabiru presents Bushra El-Turk’s hard-hitting opera Silk Moth alongside works by Liza Lim and Cassandra Miller at the Arcola Theatre in London’s East End, August 9-11. Composers Edition’s Dan Goren caught up with the pioneering musical director Kelly Lovelady to find out more.

Dan Goren: Tell me how you’ve come to be producing this first fully-staged production of Silk Moth and what drew you to it.

Kelly Lovelady: I had been wanting to programme something of Bushra’s for years so when I had the chance to dream up some new programme ideas I went through her works list with a fine comb. The instrumentation of Silk Moth for a single vocalist and mixed ensemble of four Western and Middle Eastern instrumentalists struck me as an  Continue reading

Ruthless Jabiru – music in solidarity

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Originally posted at Platforma Arts + Refugees Network :

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By Kelly Lovelady

This weekend I will conduct a musical programme in solidarity with our brothers and sisters seeking asylum by sea in the beautiful chapel of King’s College London.

My ensemble Ruthless Jabiru is a London chamber orchestra dedicated to humanitarian stories. A dual advocacy for contemporary composers and Activist narratives reflects our citizen duty as artists to engage ever more deeply with the world around us; giving voice to the truths of our allies, interrogating the accountability of our leaders and championing solidarity in all its forms.

As I collect my thoughts on another International Women’s Day I have been reflecting on the cult of familiarity and how deep it runs. In concert music culture we are dogged by this Continue reading

Meet the Artist: Kelly Lovelady, conductor

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Originally posted at Meet the Artist:

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Who or what inspired you to take up conducting and pursue a career in music?
Conducting felt inevitable for me as a teenager: a natural evolution despite my oblivion at the time to everything it would eventually entail! The realisation was unceremonious- not really a dream or desire but a moment of clarity. I was lucky to find my two conducting teachers in the years that followed and both continue to mentor me almost 18 years on.

Who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?
I think my tastes and philosophies are largely the result of producing my own work. When you find yourself responsible for every detail you start to reconsider the possibilities. If your Continue reading

On International Women’s Day – Meet Ruthless Jabiru

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Originally posted at Artisan Accounts:

Template.jpgAs part of our endeavor to support International Women’s Day we begged some of our most inspiring female clients to contribute a blog: here Kelly Lovelady from the inimitable Ruthless Jabiru explores change and power.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that ye olde worlde of conducting is overwhelmingly male. The pride and prejudice of the orchestral podium is, to collate the many confounded observations I’ve collected over the years, a beaming anomaly even to those with little or no concert-going experience.

Gender biases in so-called “classical” music are ultimately borne of a performance ritual which reveres and respects its own history so deeply that it continues to perpetuate the quirks of concert culture as it stood in its infancy almost 200 years ago.
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Music Lessons Go Digital

Originally posted at Limelight Magazine:

Template 258x173We speak to Australian musicians working around the world about how they are responding to the challenges of teaching music remotely.

By Angus McPherson on April 21, 2020

Many musicians supplement their performing income with teaching work – but just as the concert halls and theatres are closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with social distancing measures in force and students staying home from school, music lessons are also being put on hold. Suddenly, music teachers around the country are having to adapt to a new world in which online lessons are the only way to continue making a living. Meanwhile, performing artists facing down the prospect of months without any of their regular income streams are finding ways to make ends meet by offering online Continue reading

Mixtape #007

Unconventional new company Gothic Opera launches with atmospheric vampire story this Hallowe’en

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London, 25 September 2019

Gothic Opera, a brand new London opera company, is set to launch its first season this Hallowe’en with an atmospheric, vibrant and irreverent production of Der Vampyr by Heinrich Marschner. Taking the dark, eerie intensity of gothic fiction as its starting point, Gothic Opera is dedicated to rarely-performed and atmospheric operatic works, and is committed to opening opera up to new audiences, hoping to inspire people to come and experience opera in unusual, characterful and spooky spaces.
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BBC Radio London: Inspirit with Jumoké Fashola

Inspirit with Jumoke Fashola

A chaplaincy service says it’s becoming an increasingly worrying time for workers on big ships and how important is it to teach LGBT lessons at primary school? [in which Silk Moth librettist Eleanor Knight and I discuss Ruthless Jabiru’s forthcoming production Silk Moth for Grimeborn Festival (2:49:00)]

Diverse cast unite in Bushra El-Turk’s Silk Moth

Ruthless Jabiru welcomes lauded British-Egyptian mezzo Camille Maalawy to perform the principal role of Mother in the orchestra’s forthcoming production Silk Moth for Grimeborn Festival 2019.

Maalawy has won critical acclaim for her passion and expressiveness across Arabic and Sephardic song in addition to continuing success on the opera and concert stage. Her Continue reading

Silk Moth and honour

Originally posted at eleanorknight2016 :

Template 258x173 copy.jpg“What would you say to your dead wife or daughter if she were still here?”

“I would say that I acted out of love, and I know that she would understand.”

This  exchange appears in Witold Szablowski’s collection of reportage from Turkey, The Assassin from Apricot City and simply and devastatingly illustrates the complexity of ‘honour’.

Honour, as I understand it as I sit here tapping away in East Sussex, is about acting with ethical integrity, with an awareness of a higher purpose, of doing the best one can as a human being.

But what about ‘honour’ so destructive that it leads to the violent deaths of 5,000 women a year worldwide, including about a dozen in the UK?
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Mixtape #006