On Saturday 6 October, a group of over 30 singers from Malvern St James Girls’ School travelled to London to take part in the London premiere of Stari Most, a work about the tragedy of a community divided by racial hatred and war.
Written by renowned composer, Dr Richard Chew, Stari Most tells the story of the old bridge of Mostar – built in 1566 at the height of the Ottoman Empire to link the steep gorge carved by the river Neretva, destroyed in 1993 during the Bosnian War and reopened in 2004 after being rebuilt. For over 400 years, Mostar has hosted a diving competition off the bridge which links the Muslim and Croat sectors of the city. The concert tells the story of the relationship between a Croat diver, Dino, and a Muslim woman, Alma.
The premiere of Stari Most took place at St John’s, Waterloo with Dr Richard Chew conducting the MSJ Singers from Malvern St James Girls’ School, The Jenny Lind Singers and the London Graduate Orchestra. The concert was in aid of The Sentry, a human rights charity that was founded by human rights and anti-corruption activist John Prendergast and actor George Clooney.
Despite an early start and a long day of rehearsals, the girls were very excited by the time of the concert. In the impressive surroundings of St Johns Church, the girls joined the soloists and orchestra for a powerful performance of Stari Most that was enjoyed by a packed audience.
Mrs Olivera Raraty, MSJ’s Headmistress said, “It was a wonderful evening and an amazing opportunity for the MSJ Singers. Huge thanks to Dr Richard Chew for the extraordinary concert, which was powerful on every level.”
The girls themselves said of their performance, “We made no mistakes, the soloists told the story well and the orchestra was amazing It was a massive success and an amazing experience that we will remember for the rest of our lives”