Singing Struggle & Agreement | Belfast International Arts Festival

Singing Struggle & Agreement | Belfast International Arts Festival

Wednesday, 14 October 2020, 6.00pm

The Black Lives Matter campaign and the recent death of John Hume both remind us about struggles for peace and justice. What part does music play in helping to appreciate and promote the reasons behind such movements?

Locally, The Belfast Agreement has been implemented, ignored and extended, but never before in Northern Ireland has it been sung in four-part harmony! Composed by Clare Salters, who worked in the Northern Ireland Office during the negotiations, the Good Friday Agreement: peace in 4/4 time is a somewhat unexpected work.

Spark Opera brings together singers from its chorus, NI Opera’s Associate Artists, and across the island to perform the local premiere of this choral setting of the Declaration of Support at the start of the political text, together with a programme of songs of struggle from the Great Depression in Weimar Germany, a tribute to Martin Luther King, homophobic rhetoric in Westminster set to music, and a gentle South African anthem to the ANC and the incarcerated Nelson Mandela.

Former BBC Northern Ireland political editor Stephen Grimason, former politician Professor Monica McWilliams and composer Conor Mitchell will join cultural and political commentator Alan Meban to reflect on the negotiations leading up to Easter 1998 and the role of art in amplifying and soothing political differences at home and abroad.


Der Freie Mann – Ludwig van Beethoven
Nongqongqo – Miriam Mikiba
The Good Friday Agreement – Clare Salters
Little Ireland – Conor Mitchell (Young Pornographer’s Wife)
Iris Aria – Conor Mitchell (Abomination)
Solidarity Song – Hanns Eisler
Opferlied – Ludwig van Beethoven
Part of IN-visible ID-entities 2, an on-going BIAF initiative encouraging cultural collaboration across the island and supported by the Government of Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs.

Produced by Kate Guelke and Alan Meban with support from Slugger O’Toole and NI Opera.

Subject to licence

Safety measures
Socially distanced seating
The chairs will be cleaned before and between performances
Audience members will be asked to wear masks at all times
The choir will be set back a safe distance from the audience and singers will be distanced from each other

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