Many years ago we performed an operetta, The Teaching of Edward, about the first musical post of Edward Elgar at the Worcester County Asylum in 1879. The story line was that Edward, who had been appointed as Bandmaster, was only allowed to play for the staff, but the patients heard about him and clamoured to be involved. Edward agreed, but got into trouble with the Board of Administrators and was unceremoniously dismissed at a disciplinary meeting. But one of the patients interrupted the meeting to make a plea for him to stay as they had been so enthused by his music.
The performance was filmed by the BBC in 2006 but not shown. Although all the performers in the operetta were medical students, staff or patients having treatment with nidotherapy we did have an operatic bonus from Covent Garden. Liora Grodnikaite, a Lithuanian mezzo-soprano then performing at the Royal Opera House, kindly agreed to sing one of the songs – translated into Lithuanian by Mr Puras – as a postscript. Here is the link:
. The English version is below.
Our future now is black indeed
We’ve lost our inspiration
Someone who could lead us out of here
From a life of desolation
Its not the loss of liberty
Our rooms are gentle prisons
Its that those around us never see
And no-one ever listens
To all of you I make this plea
Though I understand your caution
Let us have time for music too
We just beg a tiny portion
And if you say you’ll help this way
I would always be your debtor
And you never know how it will go
It may even make us better
Thanks Edward, for the inspiration, and to Liora, for the performance.