MUSIC. THEATRE. WALES. at the IVORS
Violet by Tom Coult and Alice Birch receives its 4th major award nomination AND The Scorched Earth Trilogy by Brian Irvine is also nominated for Best Stage Work
For the second time since 2020 when MTW’s commission of Denis & Katya won the IVOR award for Best Stage Work, MTW is back at the IVORs with another commissioned work – Violet by Tom Coult. But this time it’s not just one piece that is up for an IVOR. Also nominated in the Best Stage Work category is The Scorched Earth Trilogy by Brian Irvine which the company presented in Wales earlier this year as the start of their new Street Art Opera programme.
Following nominations in the UK Theatre Awards, the International Opera Awards and the South Bank Sky Arts Awards, and with Tom Coult awarded the Critics’ Circle Award for Young Composer for 2022 which cited Violet as “the best new British opera in years”, Violet is now up for an IVOR. MTW offers huge congratulations to Tom Coult for the way he conjured up a unique sonic and dramatic world for the perfectly pitched text from Alice Birch. Violet was the opening event at the world-renowned Aldeburgh Festival in 2022 and was performed at the Sherman Theatre and Theatr Clwyd as well as Hackney Empire (co-presented by the Royal Opera House) and Buxton Festival. The performance at the Sherman also marked the 40th anniversary of the founding of the company (originating as Cardiff New Opera Group in 1982) by Michael McCarthy and Michael Rafferty.
In the same category at the IVORS, Violet finds itself up against The Scorched Earth Trilogy which MTW presented in June 2023. The Scorched Earth Trilogy of Street Art Operas was created by Dumbworld and commissioned by Irish National Opera in 2022. MTW chose to present it to launch their new programme, leading to an open call for proposals from Welsh artists for new work. The Scorched Earth Trilogy was presented by MTW in Bangor (on the walls of Pontio), Haverfordwest (along the Quayside and in the old sorting office at Haverhub, presented in collaboration with Span Arts) and on a Billboard and warehouse walls at Spit & Sawdust in Cardiff, offering a totally unexpected way to discover new opera for the first time. Following the presentations, MTW invited the creators Brian Irvine and John McIlduff from Ireland to run a day long workshop exploring their approach as a way of opening up the conversation in Wales. Presentation of the new works by Welsh artists is scheduled to take place in summer 2024.
The ongoing success of Violet, which has already received new productions in France and Germany, and the nomination of The Scorched Earth Trilogy, is clear recognition that whilst MTW has set about transforming the way it works and the work it makes, they are still able to deliver UK and International impact with quality and innovation. Michael McCarthy, MTW’s Director said
“The recognition our work is receiving is incredibly rewarding for us but most of all for the artists we are working with. And it’s not just those who are up for awards, but all the artists who are bringing fresh ideas and challenges to our work, with many working in opera and even thinking about opera for the first time. This kind of encouragement and recognition puts further wind in our sails as we start to explore new ways forward, but we can only do this if artists are equally excited and brave, bringing their vision and energy to making new opera as storytelling in music in ways that works for them.”