Britten Saint Nicolas: A film celebrating live and virtual music making


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A filmed, staged version of Britten's Saint Nicolas, featuring world class musicians and a UK-wide virtual choir and orchestra.

We are inviting you to join us, and asking for your support as we embark on this ambitious and hugely exciting project, with a team of amazing musicians and creatives alongside hundreds of amateur musicians across the UK. 

We are working to create a film celebrating live and virtual music-making across the UK, featuring outstanding tenor Nicky Spence in the title role of Benjamin Britten’s much-loved but often underrated cantata, Saint Nicolas

Conducted by Ken Burton, the City of London Sinfonia – alongside a group of virtually-participating musicians from across the country – will join I Fagiolini, Iain Farrington and John Reid (piano duet) and Stephen Farr (organ) to record this amazing work. The film will feature scenes of Snape MaltingsAldeburgh Parish Church and The Red House and will be designed to be experienced on-screen by director Bill Barclay (Concert Theatre Works) and producer Alex Barnes (Apple and Biscuit Recordings).  

(above: Britten's piano at the Red House)

This film will be a collaborative effort between organisations across the country, and we want you to join with us to make it a reality. Utilising in particular the powerful text of the two hymns that feature in Saint Nicolas, in the lead up to and during the festive season – a time that is so important for music-making, this year perhaps more than ever – this project will send a strong message from all involved that says “We are still here and we are still making amazing music for you."

By the end of our initial crowdfunding campaign on 4th September 2020, alongside a grant from the Arts Council, we had raised enough to move forward with a phased approach to the project. In mid-September we recorded excerpts from Saint Nicolas with Nick Pritchard (who stepped in at the last minute when Nicky Spence underwent emergency surgery), Ken Burton, I Fagiolini, City of London Sinfonia, Iain Farrington, John Reid and Stephen Farr. We will be releasing this short film, featuring movements 1, 2 and 9 (all of which feature virtual choir) in time for Christmas.

In the meantime, we are continuing the raise funds to complete the project as originally envisioned – a new, fully-staged version of the work, filmed on location in Snape and Aldeburgh and designed to be experienced on-screen – in 2021... so we still need your help. Any support you are able to give will help us bring this amazing project to life. 

Thank you for your support.

[Photography above and in the introductory film: Matthew Johnson Photography]


pledged of £15,000 goal (GBP)

34% pledged

57 backers

This is an open ended project. There is no time limit and payments are taken straight away.

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Get these rewards

£25 – Bronze

8 people want this

Receive access to exclusive bonus content including behind-the-scenes footage, and receive a credit on our website as a supporter of the project.

£50 – Silver

9 people want this

In addition to Bronze rewards, Silver level pledges will receive access to the final film at no additional cost, and access to an exclusive online premiere of the short film in December 2020, before it is available to the public.

£100 – Gold

10 people want this

In addition to all Silver rewards, Gold level pledges will also receive access to exclusive photos taken during the recording, and bonus content will include interviews with members of the artistic team.

£500 – Platinum

5 people want this

In addition to all Gold rewards, Platinum level pledges will receive a credit on the film itself, and a personalised, signed photo from the recording sessions. If government restrictions allow, Platinum level pledges may also provide the opportunity to witness parts of the recording in person.

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