Jealousy, revenge and Italian opera – but with lots of humour – at MIMA

Blood on the Canvas

Saturday 3 February (1:00pm)
mima (Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art), Centre Square, Middlesbrough TS1 2AZ

This event is FREE and unticketed

The drama of ordinary people with opera-sized emotions, that’s what Blood on the Canvas is about. The upcoming performance at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (mima), with Streetwise Opera participants from Teesside, explores how we can find the most intense feelings, from the most insane jealousy to the bloodiest desire for revenge, in everyday life.

This one-hour performance is inspired by one of the most tragic and tear-inciting operas from the Italian-verismo composers: Pagliacci by Ruggero Leoncavallo. The Streetwise Opera performers, who also took inspiration from the powerful feelings evoked by mima’s Middlesbrough Collection, bring a delightful humour and irreverence to this experience [spoiler alert: expect them to ease out of the most solemn moment by breaking into The Muppet Show theme song!]

The promenade performance throughout mima’s Gallery Five will have the Middlesbrough Collection paintings as a backdrop and changing scenery. The performance on Saturday 3 February, starts at 2:00pm, but the audience is encouraged to attend from 1:00pm so they can take part in a workshop to build masks, which will allow them to take part in the masquerade during Blood on the Canvas.

This performance was developed as part of a summer programme run by mima with Streetwise Opera performers. The project explored ways in which the visual and performing arts use themes found in daily life for creative expression.

Jamie Sample, Streetwise Opera performer from Teesside, said:

“I did have some background in performance, so being part of this project has brought the fire back in me for the performing arts. I have been talking about getting a placement in mima, following on from the Summer programme!”

Ali Glasper, Streetwise Opera performer from Teesside, said:

“The workshops over the summer were amazing, so relaxed and informative. Walking around the galleries, learning from Claire (Pounder, Learning Curator at mima) was fantastic. Really exciting to think some of our ideas are being used in the galleries. It’s been hard work, but can’t wait for the final performance!”

Mark Oldfield, Artistic Director of Workshop at Streetwise Opera, said:

“The most gorgeous part of this experience has been seeing our performers establish a strong and sincere emotional connection with some of the pieces in mima’s Middlesbrough Collection. They’ve delved into the creative process of these artists, and that has enriched their own experience as performers.”

Elinor Morgan, Senior Curator at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, said:

“If you haven’t heard Streetwise Opera, this is a chance to see the joy that music can bring to people’s lives, both for those performing and for the audience. The group have worked intensively to develop this piece, by exploring works and themes within the Middlesbrough Collection, held at mima. By cleverly combining ideas from this work with references to one famous opera which tells the story of comedy and tragedy, jealousy and revenge, they have come up with a fabulous performance. We’re proud that this event will close the first iteration of our Middlesbrough Collection permanent display, and inform the next. Streetwise are a truly amazing and committed group and we love working with them.”

Streetwise Opera is an award-winning charity that uses music to help people make positive changes in their lives. Working with people who have experienced, or are at risk of, homelessness, it runs workshop programmes across England, stages critically-acclaimed operas and is developing With One Voice, an international arts and homelessness movement.

Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, part of Teesside University, develops a civic agenda to reconnect the museum with its social function and to promote art as a tool for change. Its programme includes Middlesbrough Collection displays, exhibitions, learning activities, commissions, community-focused projects and events. It plays a key role in the cultural ecology of North East England, particularly Teesside, and is internationally recognised for its mission. It is funded by Arts Council England and Middlesbrough Council.

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