On Tuesday, the Earl and Countess of Wessex attended ‘Magna Carta – The Freedom Game’, a concert performed by over a thousand singers from Surrey between the ages of seven and 70 at the Royal Albert Hall.
The concert was organised by Surrey Arts to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta, and received funding from Arts Council England and Arts Partnership Surrey.
Before the concert, Helyn Clack, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: “This concert will be a momentous occasion to celebrate a historic moment locally, nationally and internationally, offering young and old alike a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform on one of the world’s grandest stages.”
‘The Freedom Game’ was composed by Hannah Conway, with words by Sir Richard Stilgoe, and was directed by Karen Gillingham. It had two acts, which told the story of a family who go on a quest to win back freedoms which are taken away from them during a computer game. The opera demonstrated the importance of values such as democracy, liberty and freedom, which form the basis of the Magna Carta, and conveyed the message that we should never stop playing for freedom.
The songs from ‘The Freedom Game’ are also expected to be performed for The Queen at an event held at Runnymede on 15th June.
The Magna Carta, Latin for “Great Charter”, was sealed by King John at Runnymede, Surrey, in 1215. The agreement was intended to end the feud between The King and his rebellious barons, by reducing the power held by the Monarch. Although not immediately effective, the Magna Carta, as well as its principles, have survived to this day, and are of vital importance in the British Parliamentary system.
This year is the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the charter, and will be marked by a number of events which will be held throughout the year and attended by various members of the Royal Family.