Friends of the Dickens Forum,

    Coming to us from Dickens Society Secretary-Treasurer, Diana Archibald <[log in to unmask]>
is word of a musical "Pickwick"currently being made in England.   Many of the details are here provided.
To us, it is a most interesting project, which is being supported by a number of active lovers of Dickens,
and we hope to follow its progress.                                                                                                        (pjm)
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Dear Dickens Society members,
 
I’m delighted to announce that, in the year the Society is staging its “Adapting Dickens” conference, Retrospect Opera, a registered UK charity, is making a recording of “Pickwick” (1889) by Sir Francis Burnand and Edward Solomon. Though called an operetta in its own day, this can now be recognised as the first great Charles Dickens musical. Earlier musical theatre versions of Dickens’s stories had been disjointed spoken plays with incidental music added, but “Pickwick” was essentially conceived in sung music from beginning to end, by two of the luminaries of the popular late Victorian stage. The famous “misunderstanding” between Mr. Pickwick and Mrs. Bardell is here elaborated in a series of sparkling songs and duets, the general style being reminiscent of Gilbert and Sullivan. Edward Solomon was indeed widely considered to be Sullivan’s heir apparent (in fact, sadly, he died at just 39).
 
This is a work guaranteed to please anyone who enjoys the jolly side of Dickens, and it would also teach very well on courses looking at Dickens and adaptation or the intersections between Dickens and the stage or Dickens and popular culture. Please do read more about the project on the Retrospect website: http://www.retrospectopera.org.uk/Pickwick.html We are delighted that the acclaimed comic baritone, Simon Butteriss, will be singing the role of the immortal Mr. P: http://www.simonbutteriss.com/home.html
 
Retrospect Opera has a crowdfunding scheme to raise the necessary funds to make this recording with professional musicians. Anyone who donates Ł25 or more will get their name on the Retrospect website and a copy of the recording, on CD, with accompanying materials upon release, around the end of this year. Anyone who donates Ł100 or more will additionally be invited to the recording sessions in London this September, and/or a semi-staged performance, also in September. If this is something you believe in, please do become a supporter – we are also trying to gauge interest for possible future Dickensian projects. For a list of existing supporters, including several leading Dickens scholars, please see: http://www.retrospectopera.org.uk/Pickwick_Supporters.html
 
Attached to this is a flyer for the project, specifically designed for the Dickens Museum, but also designed to serve as a general introduction to the project. If there are people you can circulate this to, or walls that you can display it on, please do so!
 
We’re extremely grateful to everyone who supports us. I’m sure you all realise how difficult it is to find funding for the arts nowadays.
 
Best wishes,
David Chandler
Retrospect Opera
 


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