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Noye’s Fludde performed at Belfast Zoo

The KT Wong Foundation, founded by Lady Linda Wong Davies, produces cultural and education initiatives with the aim of bridging the divide between China and the West. As part of the London 2012 Festival, the Foundation co-produced Benjamin Britten’s wonderful children’s opera, Noye’s Fludde, with Northern Ireland Opera earlier this month. Possibly the first time an opera has been performed in a zoo, in this case Belfast Zoo, audience and critics loved the production which featured a huge ark, sunshine and rain, local children and the National Children’s Choir who travelled from China for the eight performances.A particular highlight were the wonderful costumes and props. Inspired by Lady Davies and using the finest Chinese craftsmanship, the specially designed costumes and props represented a joint collaboration between British and Chinese designers, exploring many of China’s rich artisan traditions from traditional paper-making, kites and lanterns. The children paraded nearly life size paper animal lanterns and kites, all handcrafted in the town of Weifang in Shandong Province, China, to Simon Lima Holdsworth’s designs.Next stop for the production, Beijing and if 7 year sold Isabella McMullen’s reaction is anything to go by it should be a great success there too – “I loved Mrs Noah’s singing, but her attitude was terrible, and the gossips had nice clothes. My favourite part was the animals queuing to get on to the boat, and the storm was cool, especially the waves.” Sunday Times Opera Critic, Hugh Canning’s verdict? “Enchanting”.

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