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Operas, Musicals, Cantatas & Pantomimes

Nick Toczek's work with the composer Malcolm Singer

Nick Toczek and composer Malcolm Singer

Nick writes:

 

In 1995 Macmillan Children's Books published Dragons, my first book of poetry for children. They'd go on to publish a further nine titles of mine over the next ten years.

 

In 1996, the composer Malcolm Singer bought a copy of this collection and contacted me to ask if I'd be interested in him setting some of these poems to music. He was, at that time, Director of Music at The Yehudi Menuhin School and a Professor of Composition at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. I was delighted and readily agreed to work with him.

The initial outcome was The Dragons Cantata which had its premiere at The Royal Albert Hall in London in 1998 where it was sung by a massed schools choir of several hundred pupils with the music played by a full orchestra.   

The initial outcome was The Dragons Cantata which had its premiere at The Royal Albert Hall in London in 1998 where it was sung by a massed schools choir of several hundred pupils with the music played by a full orchestra.

 

I later worked on a storyline and then a play-script in order to turn it into a full musical. In 2005, Golden Apple published this work as Dragons! The Musical which consisted of two books (the script and the song-book) and a CD.

 

While I was working on this, Golden Apple commissioned me to write a pantomime. Sleeping Beauty's Dream was published in 2003 (also as two books and a CD). It has since been performed by hundreds of schools worldwide - although I've never been invited to a performance and so have never actually seen it!

In 2002 Macmillan Children's Books published Kick It!, a collectiuon of my football poems.In 2004, Malcolm and I completed our second cantata, Perfect Pitch, using a selection of these football poems. It was premiered that year at The Barbican Centere in London, again with an orchestra and combined schools choir.

 

Our final collaboration, a political opera based on Guantanamo Bay, proved to be a marathon task. I think it drained us both. I produced almost a dozen complete re-writes before coming up with a version which satisfied everyone involved. Malcolm worked equally hard. The result, The Jailer's Tale, was premiered at The Arts Depot in London in 2010. Extracts from this production are on YouTube.