Liedertafel means singing round the table at home. And in the ‘city of churches’ surrounded by Liedertafel-loving immigrants, is it any wonder that the vein of community choral singing in South Australia runs deeper than in any other state? Germany has seen a massive revival of interest (they have 60,000 registered choirs!) and if the success of the McLaren Vale Big Sing is any indication, the wellspring is surging here too. Inspired by his outstanding work as associate conductor and chorus master for Requiem last year, we’ve entrusted Brett Weymark with the task of harnessing it to power a major choral event.
Michael Tippett’s A Child of Our Time is up there with Messiah, Elijah and A War Requiem among the great English-language oratorios. It was written in white-hot response to real events: the assassination of a German diplomat by teenage Jewish refugee Herschel Grynszpan (pictured), which led in 1938 to the state-sanctioned atrocity known as Kristallnacht. But Tippett’s work converts specifics to archetypes and this, combined with its accessible and timeless score, has ensured its endurance as a universal statement about horrific conflict and ways of healing.
Its most inspired feature, and one of the reasons why choirs and listeners love it, is the use of Afro-American spirituals (Steal Away, Nobody Knows the Trouble, Go Down Moses, Deep River) in the same way that Bach used familiar Lutheran hymns in his Passions: allowing the piece to widen and embrace its audience with tunes they know. The composer was fully aware of the parallels between Jewish and US black oppression (his libretto speaks of “pogroms in the East, lynchings in the West”) and he chose them in full knowledge that they were coded songs of liberation.
Given recent events in cities across America and around the world the pointed black interpolations of this monumental work — both of, and ahead of its time — burn brighter than ever. This Festival, you can join the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, four of our best soloists and a full-throated mass of humanity, drawn from all walks of life across the city and suburbs, for this unique and moving performance.
When I wrote the work, I was so engulfed in the actions of the period, I never considered its prophetic quality. But it seems that the growing violence springing out of divisions of nation, race, religion, status, colour, or even just rich and poor is possibly the deepest present threat to the social fabric of all human society.
Michael Tippett (1980)
Michael Tippett (1905-1998): A Child of Our Time (1942)
Event additional information
Conductor and chorus master Brett Weymark
Adelaide Festival Community Chorus
Adelaide Symphony Orchestra
This performance of A Child of Our Time by Michael Tippett is given by permission of Hal Leonard Australia Pty. Ltd. Exclusive agent for Schott Music Ltd. of Mainz.
A Child of our time is operating under the Adelaide Festival Centre’s approved COVID Management plan. The safety of our audiences, ARTISTS AND STAFF is paramount.
Due to COVID-19, things will be a little different at the Adelaide Festival Centre. Please read the information below or visit the Adelaide Festival Centre FAQ page before your visit.
Seating Please note that theatres will be operating at 50% capacity, with a single empty seat between each patron in a row. Patrons must sit in their allocated seats as directed by venue management, and may not sit in the vacant seat next to another patron. In the event that capacity restrictions are lifted by SA Health before the event, there may be another ticket holder in the seat next to you.
Contact Tracing The standard contact information that you give when you purchase your tickets will be passed onto SA Health in the event that contact tracing needs to occur.
Arrival at the Theatre Please plan to arrive 30 minutes before the performance and have your tickets/booking confirmation ready to show security who will allow access into the theatre. There may be a queue outside, so dress appropriately and allow enough time to get to your seats. The performance will begin on time. Once you enter the theatre, you will be directed straight into the auditorium.
Hand Hygiene Hand sanitiser is available onsite but to avoid congestion and queuing, we recommend you bring your own as well.
Cloaking and Bags in the theatre To avoid close contact and touching, cloaking is available for emergencies only. Please do not bring bags larger than A3 or backpacks as they will not be admitted into the theatre.
Interval To avoid congestion in the foyer, we ask you to stay at your seat during interval unless you need to use the facilities.
Always remember to:
Stay home if unwell (view our updated ticketing policy here)
Abide by physical distancing requirements
Follow the directions of COVID Marshals at events.
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