The Conductor is a concert-play, told in one act, which tells the story of composer Dmitri Shostakovich as he struggles to complete his 7th Symphony during the Siege of Leningrad.

The story-telling, at the Tolmen Centre on October 7, changes hands between two performers who play young conductor Karl Eliasberg, Dmitri's wife Nina, and Karl's mother, and others. It is all underscored by the the music of Shostakovich, as arranged and performed by pianist Daniel Wallington.

Shostakovich, writing his life affirming 7th Symphony, flees the Leningrad siege leaving his less talented student contemporary Karl to attempt to survive starvation and loss and miraculously conduct and broadcast the symphony among the ruins.

This unusual play-concert, based on the novel by Sarah Quigley, has travelled across continents since it opened at the Buxton Festival last year. It's been performed in Italy, Sweden, France, and Ireland as well as across the UK.

The producer, Jared McNeill, is a protege of theatre maker Peter Brook, working with him as his assistant over several years.

More than a story of war, The Conductor is the story of how, on August 9, 1942, Dmitri Shostakovich, Karl Eliasberg, and his battered, starving Radio Orchestra of Leningrad, all with nothing left to lose, brought music to the people when they needed it most. It is the story of how a bond was forged, with Eliasberg seeing in Shostakovich the one who carried the music to inspire a broken city in continuing it's fight for existence, and Shostakovich seeing in Eliasberg the only person with the sheer stubborn will to bring his 7th Symphony to be performed in front of the people for whom it had been composed.

It is the story of one's right to life, and resonates today in all the ways we try, for fear, or for ignorance, or just for being human, to ignore the dangers of our world, until those dangers come knocking at our doorstep. It is also the story of all those who stayed, and who would not be evacuated. And it is the story of how, for a moment, their prayers were answered.

The Conductor by Raving Mask Theatre will be at the Tolmen Centre on Saturday, October 7, from 7.30pm.

Tickets cost £10, or £8 for concessions, and Cafe Tolmen will be open for pre-show suppers from 6pm.

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