Actors Charlotte Ritchie & Karl Queensborough join Aurora Orchestra at Saffron Hall

30 June 2023

Ritchie and Queensborough join Aurora Orchestra for The Rite by Heart at Saffron Hall on 31 August 2023.

Aurora Orchestra returns to Saffron Hall on 31 August for its boldest challenge to date: a specially conceived performance of The Rite of Spring, which harnesses the full potential of an orchestra performing without sheet music to present a revelatory new take on Stravinsky’s masterpiece.

Charlotte Ritchie (You, Ghosts, Fresh Meat, Feel Good) and Karl Queensborough (Hamilton in the West End) join the orchestra for a dramatisation of the origins of the piece, reliving the scenes of its creation and its notorious concert premiere. The performance will utilise movement, design, lighting, and newly commissioned projections, before Aurora perform The Rite of Spring from memory.

Charlotte Ritchie said:
‘Aurora Orchestra is brilliant, it’s so innovative, its ability to educate and include the audience, as well as presenting them with beautiful music, is quite a special thing. I’ve never done anything like this before and I feel quite honoured to be a part of it. The Rite of Spring is an unbelievable piece of music, and it’s a very rare pleasure as an actor to be on stage with this many musicians.’

Karl Queensborough said:
‘I’m super excited to join Aurora’s Rite of Spring. I’m not used to being with the orchestra from the beginning; to be with the musicians from day one, really dissecting the music and finding out how it all comes together is so exciting. And then there’s the actual performance: to be guided through the creation of the piece and then to hear it played from beginning to end is a totally unique experience. I’m a massive fan of influencing younger generations, generations that wouldn’t necessarily listen to classical music, and getting them interested in such a unique way as Rite of Spring will is very important for broadening their imaginations and getting them engaged with classical music.’

Nicholas Collon, Principal Conductor of Aurora Orchestra said:
‘I’m so delighted that two fabulous actors, Charlotte Ritchie and Karl Queensborough, will be joining Aurora for our ‘Rite of Spring’ performances. The whole event will be devoted solely to Stravinsky’s great masterpiece, comprising a first half presentation which delves into the work itself, and a second half memorised performance of the piece. Using the words of those present at its creation (Stravinsky, Marie Rambert, Vaslav Nijinsky, Nicolas Roerich and others) we will plunge into the genesis of the ballet as well as shedding light on some of the musical elements that make the Rite such a vital and endlessly shocking work of art.'

Ritchie and Queensborough also join Aurora Orchestra for The Rite by Heart Prom, on Saturday 2 September at 3pm and 7.30pm at the Royal Albert Hall (live on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Sounds) and at Helsinki Music Centre (29 Aug).

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