We are living in unprecedented times. International crisis has exposed the inequalities and injustices in our society more starkly than ever before. Growing economic, social, and physical uncertainty has shifted the ground beneath us. As a national arts organisation rising to the challenge of the new normal yet still unable to perform live work in theatres, Welsh National Opera is feeling more keenly than ever that bringing artists and ideas together through freedom of expression, helps us make sense of an unstable world. ‘Creating Change’ is an artistic conversation of this kind, where writers, composers, singers and musicians, celebrate the role of art to re-imagine a future of lasting social change.
'The pandemic has presented the arts with an existential crisis. The role of the arts has been sharply pressed by the late and vague provisions for artists and venues. This piece is a call for a wide-eyed look at public profession and actualities so that perhaps we can move towards new realities' Edson Burton
Death of a Fool serves as a warning to artists past and present to better understand the sacrifices they will make for art. The lyrics of the eulogy to the fool don't hold back and the music by Kizzy Crawford scoops us up and swirls us around in a circus like way.
Tenor: Ronald Samm
In terms of writing the melody & orchestral parts, I took influence from Romani Folk with the music from many of Tony Gatlif’s films guiding this and also from Sophie Solomon, who is particularly interesting for her fusing of many musical influences. I was delighted to be involved in this project with WNO and thrilled to see the final performance!
Eric Ngalle Charles
As part of Creating Change Eric’s poems explores art’s role in societal transformation. The words call for a basic need to seek love and human acceptance, no matter who you are and where you are from. We are reminded of a return to innocence, of looking at the world through childish compassion; and whilst we cannot revoke the losses of time and experience, can we use our knowledge generously, to achieve a truer understanding of one another.
The story of the Black struggle continues to be riddled with painful acts of unfairness and inequality; the arts has not escaped these attitudes. Black movements continue to highlight and react to these atrocities, calling them out and articulating the world we need to see, A Change Gon Come reflects these sentiments.
Sarah works with story across all sorts of media and with all sorts of people. Stories shape who we are and what we think. Changing the stories we tell - and those we believe in - can change the world.
Inspired by the legend of a Hindu goddess who rebuilds our world after every catastrophe, Shreya’s poem The Pledge, which she has also illustrated, is a call to arms to humanity in these troubled times, to ‘use our art to transmute what’s wrong, not later, not soon, but NOW.’
Illustration by Shreya Sen-Handley
Composer Eädyth wanted the music composition to shine a spotlight on the words and the promise at the heart of The Pledge. The result is both powerful and earnest, with a sense of taking a stand, yet melodic and beautiful to represent the divine. It was important to have an Asian connection in the music to reflect the influence of the original writing.
The main inspiration I used for this piece was my surroundings, the beauty of the nature that’s around me and how much it changes with the seasons.