Towards Another World was commissioned in 2017 by ENO Baylis as a new work involving a large community chorus to be performed as a promenade opera at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Created in response to Verdi’s opera Aida , composer Hannah Conway and writer Peter Cant interwove extracts from the opera with new text and songs written in collaboration with 100 individuals from across London – members of the ENO youth programme, ESOL adult English language learners from Tower Hamlets College and Bromley by Bow Community Centre, individuals from Streetwise Opera and the ENO community choir.
Participants explored the opera and the dilemma of the central character – a woman exiled from her homeland, who hides her true identity and is torn between her sense of loyalty to her family and country, and her feelings for a man she is not supposed to love. They reflected on individual stories of home and where the heart belongs, and considered the external pressures that affect our choices and behaviour.
The project culminated in a site specific public performance in the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Grand Entrance and Medieval and Renaissance Galleries, celebrating the V&A exhibition Opera: Passion, Power and Politics.
80 young people from National Art & Design Saturday Clubs at University of the Arts, London created costume elements for the performance inspired by Kevin Pollard’s costume designs for the ENO production.