Varjak Paw

Review of Julian Philips's children's opera at the Linbury Studio

After hearing rumours that the music of Varjak Paw, the new opera by Julian Philips and Kit Hesketh-Harvey based on the books of SF Said, was overly ambitious for its pre-teen target audience, I briefed my 10-year-old companion
accordingly. "You won't come out whistling, but it'll make you think."

In the event, I needn't have worried. The music, while it did require effort, was brilliant, working seamlessly with the pared-down dramatisation of Said's hugely engaging children's stories about a Mesopotamian blue kitten who pursues the destiny of his warrior ancestor to rescue his family, picking up a dog called Cludge and a dollop of martial arts morality on the way...

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