Planet Conscious


I spent a gripping 75 minute span in Milton Court, watching students from GSMD, Dublin, Paris and Salzburg in a sort of environmental cabaret brilliantly devised under Iain Burnside's direction, titled Open Your Eyes and Tell me What You See (out of a very old Beatles song, on Revolver). Perfectly timed to coincide with Cop27 (maybe it was the other way round) this extraordinary show had just been in Ireland, and was about to visit France and Austria.


The texts (most often contemporary eco-protest verse, skillfully fitted to classic songs, for instance Schumann's Mondnacht) were uncompromising about our planet's almost hopeless predicament. So it lifted the spirits a bit to read about the ecological spirit in which the project was being carried out. No plastic water bottles in rehearsals, local produce a priority, walking to rehearsals and hotels whenever possible, meetings online and no paper documents, including sheet music. Travel was going to be by train and boat.


Leaving aside the punch, and often beauty, of the music, it was the travel arrangements that most struck me. I'm a devoted train traveller, cyclist and walker, and I nearly always attempt my fairly extensive travels in the UK by these methods. But it's that word 'nearly'. I put a couple of posts recently on this site about my enjoyable days near Vienna, a break I much enjoyed. But of course, I took the plane - with five free days available, fully two of those would have been taken up on the train. This is even more the case with the kind of short gigs that musicians often get in Europe (or at least used to pre-2016.) It's clear that my whole diary attitude needs to change, in order to travel ecologically, as the performers on the Open Your Eyes tour did.


Pictured - more from the Wienerwald, outside Baden.

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JUDITH WEIR

Composer