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Aeons: A sound walk for the Great Exhibition of the North

Aeons, a new sound walk commissioned by Opera North, is taking audiences on a musical journey along the banks of the Tyne and back through the ages in the centre of Newcastle this summer as part of the Great Exhibition of the North 2018.

The work of Martin Green of the visionary folk trio Lau, featuring the vocals of Ryton’s own Becky Unthank (The Unthanks), Mogwai’s Dominic Aitchison, the massed forces of the Chorus and Orchestra of Opera North and field recordings made along the river, Aeons is an epic, original piece of music designed to be heard through headphones during a half-hour walk along Hadrian’s Wall Path.

Martin Green and Becky Unthank on the Quayside, River Tyne © Opera North

Having collected their headsets at Gateshead Millennium Bridge on the North Bank, walkers become immersed in a musical world that evolves by means of hidden ‘triggers’ as they move through the physical landscape, under six historic bridges and out to the western fringes of the city centre.

From a single singing voice to the full might and main of the Opera North ensembles, from the Quayside with its medieval remnants, past the site of the Roman and Old Tyne Bridges now occupied by the Victorian Swing Bridge, under Stephenson’s magnificent High Level Bridge to the sweeping concrete spans of the Redheugh, Aeons promises an intense, personal experience of the river as a place of imagination, a place of wonder and constant change. Recordings made with a state-of the-art binaural head – an artificial human head with microphones fitted inside the ears – creates a stunning illusion of 3D sound.

Composer Martin Green comments:

Working with the dexterous might of the Orchestra and Chorus of Opera North has been a joyous experience. And who better to celebrate the North East than Becky Unthank, who has graced Aeons with her matchless vocals and her incredible knowledge of traditional song.”

Aeons is supported by National Lottery players through funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) which is supporting a number of elements of the Great Exhibition of the North 2018.


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