Posts Tagged ‘RNCM’

Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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November 4th 2011
Anya17 Auditions: It’s tough being an X Factor judge

Hopeful auditionee for the role of Natalia

Being an X Factor judge isn’t as easy as it seems! The harsh reality of picking and choosing between talented performers became all too clear as I sat, somewhat the judging novice, on the panel at Monday night’s Anya17 auditions at the RNCM in Manchester. Whilst neither spray tans nor capped teeth were in evidence amongst the august panel, the many talented performers gave it their all for nearly four hours under the unforgiving gaze of the camera and the expert judges.

Completing the panel and amply compensating for my complete lack of judging experience were Anya17’s Composer Adam Gorb, Clark Rundell and Stephan Janski.

Stephan’s friendly and encouraging style belied his extensive experience and much-praised work with Glyndebourne Festival and Touring Opera, ENO, Scottish Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Ryedale Festival and many others. Now Head of RNCM Opera (and a fantastic Librettist to boot), Stephan inspired some wonderful performances on the night.

Surely winning the prize for the longest title however, Clark Rundell, (Director of Contemporary Music and Head of Conducting at the RNCM, and Artistic Director of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic’s new music group, Ensemble 10/10), was as knowledgeable as he was incisive. A good thing too, as attempting to choose between the many extraordinary and well-prepared performances would have left me at a complete loss!

It's tough being a X Factor judge - Ben Kaye - Stephan Janski - Adam Gorb - Clark Rundell

Decisions had to be made however, and we will announce the cast line-up very shortly! (So make sure you’re checking back here and on our Facebook page and Twitter feed for all the latest developments.)

Monday also marked the start of filming for the Anya17 Documentary. James from Shilton Photo Film was kept busy for most of the day nimbly chasing light, angles and a variety of interviewees across the vast, labyrinthine landscape of the RNCM whilst burdened with a mountain of gear that would have soon had me screaming for the nearest Sherpa! Thank you also to Tina and Lara from City Hearts for taking part and also to Hope for Justice for finding the time to be with us.

That’s about all for now. In my next blog I will be introducing the talented singers who will become the cast of Anya17, and, if there’s space, I also hope to share my experiences at Unchosen’s latest screening at the LSE in London…

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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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October 26th 2011
House of Lords

Ben Kaye ~ Human Trafficking Foundation Chairman Anthony Steen ~ Adam Gorb ~ House of Lords

It was a great honour indeed for Adam Gorb and I to be invited to The House of Lords on October 17th to represent Anya17 at the inaugural HTF Media Awards. Never having visited Parliament before, the sense of occasion was even more heightened as we were ushered past the thousands of tourists, through the private gates and into this extraordinary centre of power, declaimed by its extravagant, almost gothic architecture and interior restrained magnificence.

Neither Parliamentary film footage nor the ubiquitous London postcards could have prepared me for the scale or opulence of The Lords. Both Adam and I though spent our time wisely though, talking with many representatives from Human Trafficking Charities and political figures about Anya17, as well as listening to speeches from Trafficking victims and media figures.

Having seen so many ‘shots’ of The Houses of Parliament from across the river it was strange to see the London Eye and so many other new landmarks from the deeply historically-entrenched perspective of The Lords. Despite the radically-altered skyline I couldn’t help but be transported back to Pepys, the Great Fire and strangely enough the freezing of The Thames, together with its accompanying Chestnut sellers, braying their wares from behind glowing braziers on the ice – such is the lot of a poet!

From an Arts perspective I was absolutely bowled over by a truly extraordinary exhibition of charcoals by the Artist Rosalie Watkins, whose powerful work portrayed a Trafficking victim ‘Kira’. If you haven’t seen these utterly exceptional works of art then you absolutely MUST visit http://www.rosaliewatkins.co.uk/rosaliewatkins.co.uk/Human_Trafficking_Project.html

In essence though our presence at The Lords was an opportunity to rouse the media and raise awareness of Sex Trafficking in particular and more generally Human Trafficking in the UK. Could I therefore take this opportunity to thank Tamlin Vickers at the HTF for the invitation following our Award nomination. Press, BBC three regions TV and much other coverage swiftly followed, including an additional promise of coverage from BBC Radio 3.

My next blog will cover my visit to No. 10 Downing Street and the possibility of a performance in Strasbourg in April courtesy of Bob Walter MP and the UK’s Presidency of The Council of Europe.

Auditions for Anya17, (and filming) begin in just over a week, so I’ll no doubt be back in touch very soon!

Oh yes… Funding! To date we have received no funding whatsoever, so if you would like to help (and incidentally become the owner of the very ‘first’ T Shirt design before it changes in a few days time) please spend the equivalent of a couple of double mocca chocca chinos and you can say that you were in at the beginning! http://anya17.spreadshirt.co.uk

Please be aware that the back of the T Shirts contain sexually explicit content appropriate to the cause. For younger wearers I recommend the ‘Front Only’ option.

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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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October 13th 2011
United Nations

Ben Kaye from Anya17 meets Aranka and Syria from The United Nations (UN-GIFT) in London Oct 2011

It was wonderful to finally meet Siria and Aranka from UN.GIFT, with whom I had been liaising for so long before we had an informal get together this week in London. It was particularly poignant also to meet at the BFI Southbank, where the Composer Adam Gorb and I had so many meetings thrashing out the Opera.

Siria and Aranka had just flown over from Vienna on a very busy schedule indeed and were due to fly across the globe the next day, so it was great to catch up. UN.GIFT are about to launch (amongst many other things) a new Human Trafficking leaflet and would very much appreciate feedback from UK NGOs before publication, so if you don’t have their contact details then please do get in touch asap.

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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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October 6th 2011
Invitation to No. 10 Downing Street

With the various musical collaborations I have been involved with over the past few years, some moments really stick in my mind. Hearing my words set to music for the very first time was a big one. JAM made it all come true for me at Southwark Cathedral with Paul Patterson’s ‘The Fifth Continent’ and I will never forget that first opportunity, nor that evening. JAM has a superb run of concerts touring Scotland this month by the way, so do visit http://www.jamconcert.org to find out more.

I have to admit (with a great sense of shame) that other highlights include the first BBC broadcasts and even being asked for my autograph for the first time. Very vain I know – but not easily forgotten – nor ever repeated! Better by far were the hugs I received from bereaved families at the ‘Eternal Voices’ concert last year for the fallen in Afghanistan, and hearing ‘Thoughts Scribbled on a Blank Wall’ at Westminster (again through JAM) was a pretty humbling experience.

Official praise is great too; perhaps the curse of writers everywhere. Two days ago an envelope landed on my doormat. It was an invitation to meet the Prime Minister at No. 10 Downing Street later this month in recognition of all that Adam Gorb, myself and the volunteers have done to bring this project to fruition.

With a budget of £0.00 and having to search for loose change between the sofa cushions just to travel to meetings, do the research etc. I may even have to shave for this one…

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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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October 2nd 2011
Anya17 Nominated for Award!

It was a huge surprise when I heard that ‘Anya17’ has already been nominated for an award!

Despite the fact that the premiere of Anya17 is not until March 7th next year, the Libretto for the Opera has been circulating amongst the Charity community in the UK and abroad, and the result seems to have been a nomination for a HTF Media award at The House of Lords in October!

Let’s not get too excited here, because not only is there ‘many a slip twixt cup and lip’ but also some technicality over dates may make us ineligible both for the Awards for this year, and unfortunately for 2012, but the nomination itself is a great emotional boost to all of us who have worked so hard and for so long on this project – some since 2009. Without Adam Gorb, the RNCM, The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Liverpool Hope University, Anna, Stu, Lauren, the UN, the supporting Charities, MPs, MEPs and the BBC, what we may have had here could have just have been a still-born dream.

Before I go into full ‘Awards Ceremony Mode’ therefore and start thanking my Agent (who doesn’t exist), my Mother (who definitely does) and my Deity (the Jury’s still out on that one), I would sincerely like to thank all of you for nurturing some nebulous genus of an idea and helped the project to get this far.

Surely the plaudits though must go to my hairdresser…

Well done everyone!

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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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September 25th 2011
Second Documentary Confirmed

Directly inspired by the Anya17 project, a recent call from the BBC confirmed that they have decided to start filming a short Documentary on Human Trafficking in the UK.

Spearheaded by the much-respected Simon Clemison, the Documentary will form part of the BBC’s ‘Inside Out’ series, and although predominately focussing on the South West (where I’m based) it is hoped that the magnitude of the subject will ensure BBC broadcasts in many other regions.

I am absolutely delighted that Anya17 has stimulated this interest, and despite the fact that ‘Anya’ is unlikely to feature much in the film, Anya’s true purpose will be well served.

Many thanks to Simon and all at the Beeb for their continued support!

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