The SynopsisHotfoot from Poundland, we proceeded, shortly before the scheduled arrival of the West Dorset District Chorus (Motto: "One Person, One Note"), to The Electric Palace in Bridport. Which was shut.
Undeterred, and showing the stripes of the seasoned campaigner, Clive uncorked a couple of bottles of Pinot Grigio left over from his four year-old son Wilf's birthday party and he and opera co-creator Andrew Leppard set about explaining what the production was all about. "It's a staged version of a recent District Council town planning meeting", said Clive. So, not quite da Ponte but, all the same, one of the most radical starting points for an opera I've ever come across. The action all centres around the unprepossessing St Michael's Trading Estate, a vibrant area of workshops and small businesses with a regular market that attracts significant numbers of tourists. The Conservative-led council has formed the notion that it's all a bit scruffy and suspiciously Bohemian and thinks it would be a marvellous idea to bulldoze it and replace it with a yawningly predictable block of flats. To sidestep the technical issue of nobody else wanting this to happen, the council held their planning meeting outside Bridport, limited the number of people who could attend and joyously railroaded through a spot of draconian planning consent, all the while perhaps carelessly failing to spot that one of the world's most powerful campaigning lawyers was among the handful of locals that did actually manage to locate the meeting and squeeze into it. And so unto Bridport was born an opera.