Choir members off to London

A Dunedin composition will take centre stage in England next month when about 30 locals head there to perform with the United Kingdom's Parliament Choir.

Dunedin composer Anthony Ritchie and the 30 members of the City Choir Dunedin are heading to London to take part in the British premiere of Ritchie's oratorio Gallipoli to the Somme next month.

The work, with text from World War 1 poets and writers, was commissioned by the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra (DSO), and premiered in the Dunedin Town Hall in 2016.

City Choir Dunedin secretary Scott Blackwell said DSO principal guest conductor Simon Over suggested the work to his Parliament Choir and Southbank Sinfonia.

Heading to the United Kingdom to perform Gallipoli to the Somme are (from left) composer Anthony...
Heading to the United Kingdom to perform Gallipoli to the Somme are (from left) composer Anthony Ritchie, music director David Burchell and soprano soloist Anna Leese. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH

The UK choir invited the DSO and singers from City Choir Dunedin to join them in the performances in Oxford on June 2 and London's Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank, on June 13.

About 30 of the choir's 110 singers agreed to pay their own way to London to take part.

Mr Blackwell said soprano soloist Anna Leese would also take part in the UK performance, as would DSO concertmaster Tessa Petersen and City Choir conductor and music director David Burchell, who will sing in the choir.

About half of the 30 singers had already left for Britain, while others were leaving in the next week or so.

The singers would meet for rehearsals with the Parliament Choir from May 31.

Mr Ritchie described the trip as "really exciting".

"It's not every day you have a piece performed overseas, and in such a good venue - Queen Elizabeth Hall in London and in Oxford as well.

"It's a real buzz, and I'm really looking forward to it."

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