All that jazz… with a bit of opera and theatre mixed in

Students from the University of Sheffield will be creatively mixing up music genres this week and putting on an exciting feast of jazz, opera and theatre, in what will be a rare opportunity to see two unique productions.

The two productions, which will be performed at 7.30pm on Friday 24 and Saturday 25 November 2006 at the University's Drama Studio, will give the audience a chance to appreciate two highly captivating music genres, Jazz-opera and music-theatre.

The music-theatre production, 'The Rape of the Lock', which is an adaptation of the 18th Century mock-epic poem by Alexander Pope, will be the first show of each evening. The production has been composed by Jenny Jackson, who is studying for a PhD in music composition at the University. It combines elements of musical performance with drama, dance, and narrative in a highly entertaining, quirky and comical show, which is suitable for both adults and children.

The Rape of the Lock', is about a young maiden who has a lock of hair cut off by a man at a party. This 'rape' or theft leaves the maiden feeling likes she's lost her dignity and symbolically for her, her honour. In Jenny Jackson's adaptation the central character is played by a male actor confused and excited about his desire to dress as a woman. The'lock' of hair is replaced by a 'prized wig', and the piece climaxes during a mock battle over the ownership of the wig.


In the second part of each evening 'Walk all Over Me', written and directed by Chris Noble, Louise Pymer and Gavin Magenty, will give the audience an opportunity to get their toes tapping and experience, probably, their first ever jazz–opera.

Jazz-opera is seen as an exciting development of the opera genre. In this production a traditional orchestra is replaced with a 9-piece jazz wind band, incorporating many different jazz styles, ranging from samba to swing and funk and fusion. It's similar to traditional opera in the fact that there are singers and acting and music, but really the main focus is the jazz style.

This production is about a girl, Elizabeth, who has spent a lot of time looking for Mr Right and has been treated badly in all kinds of disastrous relationships. She goes on to find the lead male, Charlie, but things don't run smoothly for the couple.

Chris Noble, who is studying for a PhD in music composition at the University of Sheffield and composed 'Walk All Over Me', said: "With this production we have taken the structure of opera and tried to utilise some of its devices such as the forms of recitative. We have also used a blend of singing styles and have cast singers from both genres."

He added: "It is a new and exciting genre which I think will appeal to a wide range of musical tastes .The text is sharp and witty and the main characters are 'real people' and exist in a 'real world', which I believe will engage the audience."

Sarah Blamire – Brown, Concerts Assistant at the University of Sheffield, said: "It's highly uncommon to be able to experience two relatively rare and exciting music genres in one night. I hope people take this unique opportunity to come along to one of the evenings and see what two of the University's most talented composers have put together."

She added: "What ever your music tastes, there is something for everyone."

For those interested in attending, tickets cost £8, £5 for senior citizens and £2.50 for students or unwaged. They are available on the door or in advance from the Department of Music, 38 Taptonville Road, S10 5BR, tel 0114 2220499. Alternatively, e-mail concerts@sheffield.ac.uk or log onto www.sheffield.ac.uk/concerts

For further information please contact: Jenny Wilson, Media Relations Officer on 0114 2225339 or email j.c.wilson@sheffield.ac.uk