Anna Appleby: Music is for, by, about, with, to, from, of people

Anna Appleby, who composed music for Streetwise Opera’s Tell Me The Truth About Love, writes about her experience:

When I first started working with Streetwise Opera I was prepared to see music changing lives, but I don’t think I could have anticipated how much it would change mine. It’s easy for the passion to ebb away if you are constantly looking for opportunities to climb the career pyramid, it’s easy to forget why music means something when it becomes a product or an ego-trip. Music is for, by, about, with, to, from, of people. I see this more clearly when working with Streetwise than I’ve seen in almost any other context: music allows people to drop their bags at the door and become a voice that is a part of a bigger voice, a face that is part of a living artwork, a creative mind that is recognised and celebrated. That goes for me, too: every time I walk into a Streetwise workshop I know I am welcomed as a part of the whole, and also as an artistic individual who has something new to offer at that very moment.

Opera is something I’ve always wanted to write, but Streetwise has shown me why: that meeting of theatre, singing and design is an all-embracing art form that looks at the whole person, and at how they relate to others. It frees you to move differently, to use your voice differently, to dress differently, to interact with others differently, to tell a different story. You’re not trapped in your own habits and image, you can be anyone at all, and at the same time that new person is you. Wearing the composer hat is one of my favourite activities, but sometimes I want to wear an acting hat or a singing hat or a dancing hat and I can do that when I’m writing for Streetwise. The performers can wear all of those hats, and can take off the ones that society might have put on them.

I love collaborating with Streetwise performers as they have hundreds of original ideas, and so much energy and commitment as well as personal flair. I know that each piece will be unique and that each performance will be bursting with energy and purpose. Community is built on common purpose, and what lovelier, wilder, wackier one could there be than making opera?

Find out more about Tell Me The Truth About Love.

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