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This 45-minute ‘meditation opera’ uses a shifting musical landscape to frame the haunting diary entries of early Antarctic explorers.
25 backers pledged £1,055 to help bring this project to life.
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Cambridge City Opera is a new company founded by me, Sinéad O’Neill to create operatic works inspired by the people, places, and stories of Cambridge. On the Axis of this World is our first project. 

On the Axis of this World is inspired by Antarctic exploration, and in particular, the British Antarctic Expedition of 1911-13. The first performances will take place at Kings Place on the 7th and 8th of August, 2014, as part of the Tête-à-tête Opera Festival (buy tickets here!)

We have a team of brilliant performers: Baritone Nicholas Crawley, Countertenor Magid El-Bushra, Actor Gary Merry, Clarinettist Tom Jackson, Cellist Corentin Chassard, and Accordionist Bartosz Glowacki.  The designer is Saul Sebastian Nash.

The text for On the Axis of this World is drawn from original material written during the 1911-13 expedition; thanks to the Scott Polar Research Institute, I had access to the original papers from the expedition, including diaries, notes, log-books, photographs, drawings, and letters. The dry, unembellished style of the log-books and observation diaries is tremendously evocative, and gave me a sense of the vast perspectives of the Antarctic landscape. Composer Matt Rogers and I were inspired by scientific observations from the expedition to explore time, memory, and the relationship of man to the elemental world of Antarctica.  

The music is born of weather systems and ice flow, and the text is drawn from the diary entries of the men of Scott's 1911-13 expedition.  

I'm delighted to say that we have already raised £8,000 of the £10,000 that we need, and we are proud to be supported by the Stradivari, Fidelio, Nicholas Boas and Ralph Vaughan Williams Trusts, as well as by a number of private donors.

Cambridge City Opera is a not-for-profit company.  All the money raised goes to paying our superb team and to putting together the set and costume we need.  

When you donate, you will become a member of one of our Penguin Colonies.  You can read about the Penguin Colonies here.

Risks and challenges

The risks and challenges are well managed, we are on target with our fundraising, the performers are booked, the piece has been composed, and we are working on the design. We have a top administrator in place to help with the organisational challenges and to keep everything running smoothly.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £5 or more About $7

    Your name will be included in our publicity material as a member of the Chinstrap Colony and you will receive a personal thank-you email; tell us in your reply to this email if you wish to remain anonymous.

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    Pledge £20 or more About $26

    Your name will be included in our publicity material as a member of the Macaroni Colony and you will receive a personal thank-you email; tell us in your reply to this email if you wish to remain anonymous.

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    Pledge £50 or more About $64

    All our Adélie Colonists will receive a personal card signed by director Sinéad O’Neill and composer Matt Rogers. Your name will be included in our publicity material as a member of the Adélie Colony. Tell us by email if you prefer to remain anonymous.

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    Pledge £100 or more About $127

    All our Gentoo Colonists will receive a hand-made card with a text excerpt from On the Axis of this World, signed by director Sinéad O’Neill and composer Matt Rogers. Your name will be included in our publicity material as a member of the Gentoo Colony. Tell us by email if you prefer to remain anonymous.

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    Pledge £500 or more About $631

    As a member of the King Colony, you will receive a framed text excerpt from On the Axis of this World, signed by director Sinéad O’Neill and composer Matt Rogers. Your name will be included in our publicity material as a member of the King Colony. Tell us by email if you prefer to remain anonymous.

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    Pledge £1,000 or more About $1,262

    As a member of the Emperor Colony, you will have the opportunity to dedicate one of the movements of On the Axis of This World to someone important to you. Your exclusive dedication will appear beside the movement title in our publicity materials, and we will send your dedicatee a framed excerpt from the autograph score (facsimile), signed by director Sinéad O’Neill and composer Matt Rogers. Your name will appear in our publicity material as a member of the Emperor Colony, and you will receive a hand-made, signed card showing the text we send to your dedicatee. Tell us by email if you prefer to remain anonymous.

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Funding period

- (30 days)