Rainforest     Opera Minima


the true story of the last days of Chico Mendes

Rainforest by Martin Read and Philip Sealey is an inspiring, engrossing and thought-provoking - and highly topical - opera set in the Brazilian rainforest.

Commissioned by Opera Minima with funding from Arts Council England and HSBC and premiered in 2007, Rainforest tells the moving and haunting true story of the last days of rubber-tapper Chico Mendes � his attempt to preserve the traditional and environmentally-friendly life of the tappers and to halt the wilful destruction of the rainforest. He is aided by Gaia, an environmentalist who also represents the spirit of the forest. Set against him are the forces of the capitalist world, represented by road builders, ranchers, corrupt officials, and the hired killer who will eventually murder him - a total of 8 characters shared by a baritone and a bass.

The picture shows Adam Leftwich and Edmund Connolly in a dramatic scene in the world premiere of Rainforest in 2007.

This was followed by a tour of 5 counties, including Oakham and Corsham Festivals and St Giles in the Fields in London's West End, with Eliot Alderman as Mendes and Laurie Ashworth as Gaia.

In 2009, generously supported by the Ernest Cook Trust, Rainforest was performed in 6 East Midlands schools, and in Stamford Arts Centre and, al fresco, at Little Dalby Hall, Leics, by invitation of Edward and Anna Garnier. The 2009 performances were double cast, in a variety of combinations, the original cast being joined by Rebecca Moon, Patrick Ashcroft, Philip Smith and John Woods.

The schools were Kingswood School, Corby; Bringhurst Primary School, Great Easton, Leics; Uppingham Community College, Rutland; Guthlaxton College, Leicester; Prince William School, Oundle; Uppingham CE Primary School, Rutland

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