Writing on the Wall for Manchester Camerata

Posted on February 19, 2010

Manchester Camerata’s 2009/10 Season centred on the theme of Exchanges, be they musical, cultural or ideological. The theme informed every aspect of our work; both on stage, in concerts, and off stage, in our Learning and Participation work.

The Writing on the Wall project, Inspired by Handel’s Belshazzar, explored the nature of the wall as a dividing line between contemporary “high” western art culture through music and art. The exploration looked at the communication of artistic ideas, whether the respective forms – both classical music and graffiti art – have any relevance to each other, and whether engaging with historical works can make a new piece more informed and indeed give more relevant comment on society today.

The main performance of Belshazzar – Conducted by Nicholas Kraemer, and directed by Betham Rhys William, was preceded by a pre-concert Performance of The Writing on the Wall.

This was a new musical theatre performance by the Bridgewater Youth Club featuring live artwork inspired by their work with graffiti artist Sophie Backhouse.

Read more about Sophie’s involvement in the project 

  Sophie Backhouse

A dramatic, semi staged performance of one of Handel’s lesser known masterpieces, Belshazzar, portrayed the downfall of the blasphemous and debauched King of Babylon at the hands of the Emperor Cyrus. Video Jockey Gemma Briars mixed a combination of live and recorded video feed that will be projected behind the performers.

The performance was the second operatic collaboration between Camerata and the RNCM, following the outstanding success of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas last season.

Read a review of Manchester Camerata’s Belshazzar in CityLife

Read a review of Belshazzar on Music Web International

Supported by The Manchester Camerata Trust

Manchester Camerata Trust logo