The Intelligence Park
Music Theatre Wales & Royal Opera House
With London Sinfonietta
Music by Gerald Barry
Libretto by Vincent Deane
Dublin, 1753. A frustrated and impoverished opera composer’s work goes into a spin when he falls for his lead castrato – but then the castrato elopes with the composer’s rich fiancée, causing chaos and catastrophe all round.
Gerald Barry’s operas are like no other – daring, surreal, and often laugh-out-loud funny. The Intelligence Park exploded on to the stage in London in 1990, introducing a unique operatic voice to the world. Almost 30 years on, director/designer Nigel Lowery’s new, messed-up Baroque production rediscovers its zoo of emotions, characters and absurdities in a blurring of imagination and reality, as it explores notions of sexuality, ambition and obligation.
“This production will take Music Theatre Wales in a new direction, referencing the Baroque roots of the opera’s story set in 18th century Dublin and of Gerald Barry’s music (Handel somehow hovers over this music), but in an utterly contemporary and overtly theatrical way.
We’ve never done painted sets and Baroque-inspired costumes before, but this is exactly what The Intelligence Park cries out for and is the treatment it will receive, but don’t be deceived. This is NOT a Baroque opera! Here the Baroque will be exposed and messed-up, enabling us to see into the human drama that lies at the centre of this story, in which things go horribly wrong for an artist who is struggling to create and struggling to survive, yet lives under constant pressure to obey society’s rules, all of which run counter to his instincts.
He falls madly in love (or is it obsession) with the castrato who is officially teaching his fiancée to sing. But worse than that, the castrato and fiancée end up inhabiting the opera he is trying to write, and in real life end up eloping! This is only brought to an end when the fiancée’s father – a powerful and tradition-loving judge - cheats the castrato and his daughter into returning home only for the castrato to be thrown in to prison. “The prison of life” as Nigel Lowery puts it – the rules and regulations that surround us, the expectations placed on us and the limitations placed on our imaginations.
The Intelligence Park rails against all this and cries out for freedom of the imagination, a release from the confines of everyday life in every possible aspect – creativity, sexuality and morality. Barry’s music represents all this, inventing its own rules and defying convention, and it is all the stronger for doing so, but it demands some commitment from the listener too.
When asked to put pen to paper and introduce us to the world of The Intelligence Park, director-designer Nigel Lowery produced an extraordinary statement:
Poetry and music assault a labyrinthine dungeon, intelligence boils out of control…
Suppose a castrato elopes with the daughter of a bombastic judge! Suppose this hungry castrato enflames the lifeblood of a desperate composer! Thus reason becomes trapped within a park of fatal attractions.
And all the while time is in orbit, spinning its melancholic veil, a final curtain to end a performance of sorrow, denial, obsession and horror!
The opera references an historic solar eclipse which Dublin experienced in the 18th century as a portent of doom, but it also represents the upper class of Dublin society as Dummies only interested in playing cards and eating banquets! Lowery’s production will play with the idea of the prison and of crushed hopes, but will celebrate the power of the imagination and the artist, with deliberately painted sets that are not a representation of reality but are more like a Pollock toy theatre where the imagination can run riot.
With all of Gerald Barry’s work the one thing you can expect, is the unexpected.”
Michael McCarthy, Artistic Director, Music Theatre Wales
One moment grotesquely funny; the next touchingly beautiful
The Guardian (The Intelligence Park CD review, 2005)
One moment grotesquely funny; the next touchingly beautiful
The Guardian (Adolygiad o CD, The Intelligence Park, 2005)
like nothing else you will see this year
brilliantly sung and visually entertaining
The London Sinfonietta’s virtuosity, and the cast’s miraculous achievements were, without exaggeration, phenomenal.
GEOFFREY PATERSON, CONDUCTOR
Geoffrey Paterson studied at Cambridge University and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, taking composition lessons with Alexander Goehr and participating in conducting masterclasses with Pierre Boulez. He won First Prize at the 2009 Leeds Conductors Competition.
He works regularly at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, where he was a member of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme, assisting conductors including Antonio Pappano, Mark Elder, Andris Nelsons and Daniele Gatti on an extensive repertoire. For two seasons he worked in Bayreuth as musical assistant to Kirill Petrenko for Der Ring des Nibelungen.
For the ROH he has conducted Le Portrait de Manon and several world premières. He has also conducted at Opera North (La bohème), the Royal Danish Opera (Porgy and Bess and The Nutcracker), Glyndebourne (Followers and Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Iford Festival Opera (Don Giovanni and La Vie Parisienne), Aldeburgh and Holland festivals (The Corridor and The Cure) and the Buxton and Bregenz festivals (Gloria von Jaxtberg).
He regularly works with the London Sinfonietta, and other recent concert appearances include the Manchester Camerata, Hamburg Symphony Orchestra and Scottish Chamber Orchestra. He has recorded for NMC with the London Sinfonietta and for BBC Radio 3 with the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
MICHAEL MCCARTHY, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
I co-founded Music Theatre Wales in 1988, and as Artistic Director I want the company to stay at the forefront of new opera in Wales, the UK and beyond. Alongside MTW, from 1998-2012 I was Artistic Director of Operatoriet - the contemporary opera studio for Norway, and from 2007 – 2012 I was Dramaturg for FIVE:15 - Operas Made in Scotland for Scottish Opera. In 2012 I led the Opera Creation Academy at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence. In the 1980s I was fortunate to work as revival director for The Fires of London, the company run by Peter Maxwell Davies.
I have staged over 40 contemporary operas and worked on more than 100 new works. Other productions include large-scale outdoor stagings of Tosca and Nabucco, and productions of La Traviata, Cosi fan Tutte, Il Re Pastore, Fidelio and Don Giovanni. Also, Cinderella by Peter Maxwell Davies for WNO and S4C Television, The Lighthouse for BBC2 TV and The Forbidden Hymn - a community opera in the South Wales Valleys. Future plans include the USA premiere of The Trial by Philip Glass in St Louis following performances in Scotland, and future productions for Music Theatre Wales.
In January 2015 I was awarded Best Director at the Wales Theatre Awards for my world premiere production of The Trial by Philip Glass for Music Theatre Wales. My production of Greek won Outstanding Achievement in Opera at the TMA Awards. I was honoured with an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours in 2016.
Caroline Finn, Co-Director
Born in England, Caroline Finn attended the Arts Educational School, Tring and then the Juilliard School, New York, where she attained her BFA in dance. As a dancer, Caroline has performed with Ballett Theatre Munich under the direction of Philip Taylor; Ballet Preljocaj (France) and Compagnie Carolyn Carlson (France). Caroline Finn has been a freelance dancer and choreographer since 2009. She has created work for companies such as Tanz Luzerner Theatre (Switzerland); The National Ballet of Chile, Cross Connection Ballet (Denmark); Compagnie DIEM (France) and Teatr Groteska (Poland). Caroline has presented her works worldwide at festivals in South Korea, Japan, Berlin, and Paris amongst others. Awarded the Matthew Bourne New Adventures Choreographer Award 2014, she was then commissioned to create ‘Bloom’ for Phoenix Dance Theatre.
Caroline is Resident Choreographer for NDCWales. She has created four new pieces for the company including Folk and The Green House.
SIMON BANHAM, DESIGNER
Simon has a long working relationship with Music Theatre Wales, most recently the World Premiere of Philip Glass’ new opera The Trial. Before this he designed the British Premiere of Luci Mie Traditrici and Greek (Outstanding Achievement in Opera 2011).
He is a founder member of the theatre company Quarantine, and is responsible for the scenography on all their productions over the past 18 years. Most recently Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring, a quartet of works performed over one day, and Wallflower a durational piece seeking to remember every dance ever danced.
Recently he has begun collaborating with Mike Pearson and Mike Brookes on a body of work with National Theatre Wales - The Persians (Best Design 2010 award by the TMA) and Coriolan/us, (chosen for exhibition at the World Stage Design 2013), and The Iliad.
Simon currently teaches at Aberystwyth University, Wales, where he is the Reader in Scenography and Theatre Design.
ACE MCCARRON, LIGHTING DESIGNER
Ace McCarron is a freelance lighting designer based in Cardiff. Through work with such companies as The Fires of London, Music Theatre Wales and the Operastudio Vlaanderen he has designed lighting for many contemporary operas. He is also known for work with many new-writing companies, and with children’s and black theatre companies. He has been a member of Howard Barker’s company The Wrestling School since 1989 and lit their eight-hour-long production The Ecstatic Bible at the Adelaide Festival.
Recent operatic engagements include: The Devil Inside and In the Locked Room/Ghost Patrol – world premieres and co-productions between Music Theatre Wales and Scottish Opera, The Trial by Philip Glass – world premiere, Greek (last seen at the Tongyeong Music Festival), Eight Songs for a Mad King, The Killing Flower (Sciarrino’s Luci mie traditrici), The Golden Dragon (Music Theatre Wales); Elle est Moi et Tote Mich, (Operastudio Vlaanderen); Orlando Paladino (Wiener Kammeroper); The Fairy Queen (Istanbul Music Festival); Waar is Mijn Zeil? (Muziektheater Transparent).
With composer Guy Harries, he won the inaugural Flourish award for an adaptation of Two Caravans by Marina Lewycka.
Joe Fletcher, Lighting
Joe is a freelance theatre designer specialising in lighting and scenography for theatre, dance, events and architecture. He spent time as Technical Director and Resident Designer for Sydney Dance Company and National Dance Company Wales, working with choreographers Ohad Naharin, Christopher Bruce, Rafael Bonachela & Angelin Preljocaj. Joe’s lighting and video design for Purlieus (National Dance Company Wales) was selected as a finalist at the World Stage Design Exhibition 2013, and was one of the Telegraph’s top 15 highlights.
Find out more about Joe’s work here: www.joefletcherdesign.co.uk
GUTO PUW, COMPOSER
Guto Pryderi Puw studied Music at Bangor University under composers John Pickard, Pwyll ap Siôn and Andrew Lewis, gaining his MMus in 1996 and later his PhD in Composition in 2002. He was appointed as a full member of staff in 2006 lecturing mainly on Composition and Contemporary Music and was appointed as Head of Composition in 2015.
He first came to prominence after winning the Composer’s Medal at the National Eisteddfod in 1995 and for the second time in 1997. His music has been featured in many festivals around the UK and broadcreative regularly on Radio and television. In February 2006 he became the inaugural Resident Composer with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, with his Concerto for Oboe winning the Listeners’ Award category at the British Composer Awards in 2007 and ‘…onyt agoraf y drws…’ (‘unless I open the door’) being premiered at the Proms during the same year. Y Tŵr (‘The Tower’) based on the play by Gwenlyn Parry and with libretto by Gwyneth Glyn will be his first chamber opera. Future commissions include a second violin concerto, a string quartet and a large orchestral work.
A selection of his recent orchestral works was released on the CD Reservoirs by Signum Records in 2014. He also received the Sir Geraint Evans Award by the Welsh Music Guild for ‘his significant contribution to Welsh music’ in 2014. For many years Puw has been active in the promotion of new music in north Wales through his involvement with the Bangor Music Festival, being its founding member and Artistic Director since 2000.
GWYNETH GLYN, LIBRETTIST
Gwyneth Glyn is a poet, writer and singer-songwriter who lives in Cricieth, North Wales. She was Welsh Poet Laureate for Children 2006-2007 and has written extensively for theatre in Wales, including pieces for Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, Bara Caws, Y Frân Wen, De Oscuro and Music Theatre Wales’ production of Stori’r Milwr/The Soldier’s Tale. She writes regularly for Welsh soap opera Pobol y Cwm. She has performed internationally at WOMEX, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Washington DC, and at Folk Alliance International in Kansas City. In 2015 she supported Senegalese kora player Seckou Keita on his UK tour, and recently collaborated with musicians from Mumbai on an album called Ghazalaw, which weaves Welsh folk songs with Indian Ghazal. She is currently recording her next solo album.
Find out more about Gwyneth here: http://gwynethglyn.com/
RICHARD BAKER, CONDUCTOR
Richard Baker is a leading figure on the British contemporary music scene as one of the foremost composer-conductors of his generation. He studied composition in the Netherlands with Louis Andriessen and in London with John Woolrich, and first drew significant attention with two early works - Los Rábanos (1998) and Learning to Fly (1999). Hommagesquisse, typically characterful and inventive, was commissioned by Birmingham Contemporary Music Group – with whom Richard also has a strong relationship as conductor – to mark Pierre Boulez’s visit to that city in 2008. In 2010 Baker’s music was featured in the Philharmonia’s Music of Today series, and the same year he wrote Gaming, a substantial chamber work for cello, marimba and piano, to a commission from the New York-based trio Real Quiet. His second BCMG commission, The Tyranny of Fun, was premiered in February 2013, and led Andrew Clements of the Guardian to comment on ‘how assured Baker’s ensemble writing is, and how vividly it fleshes out its structural frame’. The work was short-listed for a Royal Philharmonic Society Award last year. Three chamber pieces had their premieres in 2015/16, works for solo piano, solo harp, and a string trio. He also wrote a new work for BCMG to conclude their season.
As a conductor, Richard works regularly with the leading composers of our day. In autumn 2012, he led English Touring Opera's admired production of Maxwell Davies' The Lighthouse and, in spring 2013, conducted the Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe's double-bill of Handel's The Triumph of Time and Truth and Gerald Barry's The Triumph of Beauty and Deceit. The 2012-13 season also saw his debuts with both the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and BBC National Orchestra of Wales, adding to existing relationships with ensembles including the London Sinfonietta, BCMG, Britten Sinfonia, Composers Ensemble and Apartment House. In spring 2014, he conducted a double-bill of new works by Francisco Coll and Elspeth Brooke at Aldeburgh, the Linbury Studio (Royal Opera House) and Opera North. (‘the wonderfully assured conducting of Richard Baker’ Guy Damman, Times). He was immediately reinvited for the Spring 2015 production of The Virtues of Things by Matt Rogers, and invited again last season to conduct the enormously successful world premiere of 4:48 Psychosis by Phil Venables, based on the play by Sarah Kane.
SAMAL BLAK, DESIGNER
Born in the Faroe Islands, Samal trained at the Central St. Martins College of Art & Design and won the 2009 Linbury Prize for Stage Design. Samal’s work was chosen to represent the UK as part of the ‘Make/Believe: UK Design for Performance 2011-2015′ exhibition at the V&A, previously at the Prague Quadrennial.
Productions include: HAMLET (Gothenburg Opera); OTELLO (nominated for the 2010 RPS music award for Opera and music theatre), KHOVANSHCHINA (Winner – Best New Production, International Opera Awards 2015) and LIFE IS A DREAM - world premiere (Birmingham Opera Company); FALSTAFF and FIDELIO (Bucharest National Opera); THE DEVIL INSIDE (nominated for Outstanding Achievement in opera at the UK Theatre Awards 2016), IN THE LOCKED ROOM and GHOST PATROL (winner- South Bank Sky Arts Award 2013) – world premieres, (Scottish Opera and Music Theatre Wales); LES MAMELLES DE TIRESIAS (De Nationale Opera Amsterdam, La Monnaie Brussels, Aldeburgh Music, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence); TOSCA (Opera Ostfold, Norway); EUGENE ONEGIN (Theater an der Wien-in der kammeroper); GIASONE, AGRIPPINA, SIMON BOCCANEGRA, THE SIEGE OF CALAIS, COSI FAN TUTTE (ETO); L’INCORONAZIONE DI POPPEA (RCM, ETO); MACBETH (Geurilla Theatre Seoul); HOW TO BE AN OTHER WOMAN (Gate Theatre, London).
In 2007 he was awarded the Thorvald Poulsen av Steinum award.
For more information go to http://samalblak.com
STUART MACRAE, Composer
‘When I read Treasure Island as a boy I found real fascination in the characters and the situations. There is a vividness about the way Robert Louis Stevenson told tales, the basic human emotions and relationships which are easy for people to understand. I want this quality in the opera.
I want to evoke lots of different emotions through the music. It won’t be too heavy, although it has dark moments, and not too light-hearted although it has moments of joy. Each of the seven scenes has a different musical sound world where the music portrays the overall atmosphere as well as the emotions of the characters. Each scene becomes a musical entity in its own right, identifying time, location and emotional state, creating a series of different worlds each with a unique musical location and flavour.’
Born in Inverness, Stuart MacRae is one of the most distinctive composers of his generation, writing music of elemental power and emotional subtlety. His works include a Violin Concerto (2001), Hamartia for cello and ensemble (2004) and Gaudete for soprano and orchestra (2008), all of which have been performed at the BBC Proms. His music often draws on structures and images of nature, characters from myth and the poetry of Ted Hughes, of which Gaudete is a large-scale setting.
Works for the stage include the opera The Assassin Tree (2006) to a libretto by Simon Armitage, and the dance-opera Echo and Narcissus (2007). He has collaborated with librettist Louise Welsh on two previous operas: Remembrance Day (2009), part of Scottish Opera’s Five:15 Operas Made in Scotland project; and Ghost Patrol (2012), a co-production between Scottish Opera and Music Theatre Wales. Ghost Patrol won a South Bank Sky Arts Award and was shortlisted for an Olivier Award.
Stuart’s music has been performed regularly at the Linbury Studio of the Royal Opera House and the Edinburgh International Festival, and by ensembles including the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, London Sinfonietta, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Scottish Ensemble and Hebrides Ensemble, as well as numerous orchestras in the UK and abroad.
Stuart was Composer in Association with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra from 1999 to 2003. He was resident composer at the Spannungen Kammermusikfest in Heimbach, Germany in 2003, and Edinburgh Festival Creative Fellow at the University of Edinburgh from 2005 to 2006. From 2006 to 2007 he was a resident composer at Internationales Künstlerhaus Villa Concordia in Bamberg, Germany. He teaches composition at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and at Edinburgh University.
Recent projects include Parable, a setting of Wilfred Owen’s poetry commissioned by Hebrides Ensemble. He is currently working on a new piece for the Choir of Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, and a second piano sonata for pianist Simon Smith.
Find out more about Stuart here.
Louise Welsh, Librettist
Louise Welsh is the author of seven novels, most recently Death is a Welcome Guest (John Murray 2015). She has written many short stories and articles and is the author of three plays. She has edited volumes of prose and poetry, and contributed to various journals and anthologies. She is the editor of Yonder Awa, a collection of poetry on the theme of Scotland and the North Atlantic slave trade by Scottish and Caribbean writers, and Ghost, a collection of one hundred ghost stories from Pliny the Younger to James Robertson (Head of Zeus 2015).
She has presented over 30 features for BBC Radio, including Hellfire Nation (BBC Radio Scotland), Bannockburn Begins (BBC Radio 3) and Welsh’s Scottish Journey (BBC Radio 4).
Other radio appearances include BBC Radio 4: Open Book, A Good Read, Saturday Review, Front Row, Woman’s Hour; BBC Radio 3: The Verb, Night Waves; BBC Radio Scotland: The Culture Café, Fred McAulay Show, Breaking the News.
Louise has received numerous awards and international fellowships, including an Honorary Doctor of Arts from Edinburgh Napier University and an Honorary Fellowship from the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program.
She has collaborated with composer Stuart MacRae on two previous operas: Remembrance Day, part of Scottish Opera’s Five:15 Operas Made in Scotland project, and Ghost Patrol, a co-production between Scottish Opera and Music Theatre Wales. Ghost Patrol won a South Bank Sky Arts Award and was shortlisted for an Olivier Award.
In 2014 Louise was co-founder and director (with Jude Barber of Collective Architecture) of the Empire Café, an award-winning, multi-disciplinary exploration of Scotland’s relationship with the North Atlantic slave trade. The project was included in Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games Cultural Programme.
She is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow.
Michael Rafferty, Conductor
After a short career as a research physicist, Michael Rafferty switched to music initially as a violinist and later as conductor. He is co-founder and Joint Artistic Director of Music Theatre Wales and has conducted all its productions. Other conducting has included performances with the BBC Concert Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, London Mozart Players, Orchestre Symphonique de Mulhouse, Norway’s BIT 20 Ensemble, Musikfabrik of Cologne, The Composers’ Ensemble and PM Music Ensemble. Altogether, he has conducted the works of more than 80 living composers and 40 opera productions.
Many of his performances have been broadcreative on radio and TV and he has made several CDs - most recently, Michael Berkeley’s opera For You released on Signum Classics and In the Penal Colony, released on Philip Glass’s own label Orange Mountain Music. In November 2010 he was awarded a prestigious Arts Council of Wales Creative Wales Award. In the 2016 New Year Honours he was awarded MBE for services to music in Wales.
Find out more about Michael here.
MATTHEW RICHARDSON, DIRECTOR
Matthew Richardson was born in England. He trained and worked in theatre in New Zealand before returning to the UK. Scottish Opera engagements: Ghost Patrol (also for Music Theatre Wales– world premiere), Rigoletto, Five:15 2010, The Tales of Hoffmann, Jenůfa.
Operatic engagements include: Poet and Prophetess by Mats Larsson Gothe (NorrlandsOperan Sweden, Cape Town); Macbeth (Malmö); Turandot, The Cunning Little Vixen, Fortunato, A Midsummer Night‘s Dream (NorrlandsOperan); Boris Godunov, Rigoletto (New Zealand Opera); The Marriage of Figaro (BBC Television); L’altra Euridice by Jonathan Dove, Ariadne by Elena Langer (Almeida Opera); Oedipus by Qu Xiao Song (Folkoperan Stockholm); Line of Terror by Ian McQueen (Almeida Festival); Faust, Macbeth, Eis Thanaton by John Tavener (Birmingham Opera Company); Apollo and Daphne, Rodelinda, Euridice (Batignano Italy).
PETER EÖTVÖS, Composer
Peter Eötvös is one of the most exciting and theatrical composers at work today. He has a back catalogue of 10 operatic works, many of which are performed around the world though only three have been seen in the UK. We attended the world premiere of The Golden Dragon in 2014 and were thrilled by the vitality and virtuosity of the score and the joyous theatricality of the piece. For our new production, Eötvös has created a new English language version, including some exciting re-working of his original score.
Philip Glass, Composer
The phrases ‘cult following’ and ‘contemporary classical composer’ rarely appear in the same sentence, but Philip Glass is a case in point.
One of the world’s most popular living composers he is acclaimed for his operas, symphonies, film scores, compositions for his own ensemble, and collaborations with artists ranging from Twyla Tharp to Allen Ginsberg, Woody Allen to David Bowie. He has had an extraordinary and unprecedented impact upon the musical and intellectual life of his times and garnered a wide and hugely loyal fan base along the way.
Born in Baltimore in 1937, Philip Glass discovered music in his father’s radio repair shop. In addition to servicing radios, Ben Glass carried a line of records and, when certain ones sold poorly, he would take them home and play them for his three children, trying to discover why they didn’t appeal to customers. These happened to be recordings of the great chamber works, and the future composer rapidly became familiar with Beethoven quartets, Schubert sonatas, Shostakovich symphonies and other music then considered “offbeat.” It was not until he was in his upper teens that Glass began to encounter more “standard” classics.
The new musical style that Glass was evolving was eventually dubbed “minimalism.” Glass himself never liked the term and preferred to speak of himself as a composer of “music with repetitive structures.” His music is based on the repetition of brief, elegant melodic fragments that weave in and out like an aural tapestry. In his music, the listener is “immersed in a sort of sonic weather that surrounds, twists, turns, develops”.
There is nothing “minimalist” about his output. In the past 25 years alone he has composed over 20 operas, eight symphonies, six concertos, string quartets, film scores, and a growing body of work for solo piano and organ.
Among his best known works are the operas Einstein on the Beach, The Voyage and Satyagraha (the acclaimed ENO production was a sell-out) and the film scores Koyaanisqati, The Thin Blue Line, Notes on a Scandal, The Hours (winner of a BAFTA) and The Truman Show which won a Golden Globe Award.
Christopher Hampton, Composer
Christopher Hampton is a British playwright, screen writer, film director and producer.
He is best known for his play based on the novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses and the film version Dangerous Liaisons (1988) and more recently, the screenplay for the film adaptation of Ian McEwan’s Atonement. As well as this he has an extraordinary catalogue of adaptations, libretti, translations, TV and movie scripts, film production and original plays to his name.
Christopher became involved in theatre while studying French and German at Oxford University, and wrote a play in his first year. The Royal Court’s subsequent production was so successful that it transferred to the Comedy Theatre while he was still a student, making him the youngest writer ever to have a play performed in the West End - a record which still stands. He said at the time that he also hoped to become the oldest writer to have a play in the West End, an ambition he has yet to achieve.
His plays, musicals and translations have so far garnered four Tony Awards, three Olivier Awards, four Evening Standard Awards and the New York Theatre Critics’ Circle Award; prizes for his film and television work include an Oscar, two BAFTAs, a Writers’ Guild of America Award, the Prix Italia, a Special Jury Award at the Cannes Film Festival, Hollywood Screenwriter of the Year, and The Collateral Award at the Venice Film Festival for Best Literary Adaptation.
Christopher Hampton and Philip Glass have worked together before: Glass wrote the score for 1996 film adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent, written and directed by Hampton, whilst Hampton wrote librettos for Glass’s opera Waiting for the Barbarians (2005), based on the novel by J M Coetzee and for Appomattox, set against the backdrop of the American Civil War (2007), a revised version of which was presented by the National Opera in Washington D.C. in 2015.
Pascal Dusapin, Composer
Pascal Dusapin has firmly established himself as France’s most important and successful contemporary composer, notably in the theatre and opera house. Passion will be the first of Dusapin’s stage works performed in the UK. We are thrilled to be able to present the work of such a major and acclaimed European talent to UK audiences who have not yet been able to experience this work on home soil.
Amanda Holden, Libretto Translation
Amanda Holden grew up in a medical family in which music-making was part of everyday life. After a university degree in music she won a scholarship to the Guildhall School, London as an accompanist. She also studied Music Therapy and started the department at the Charing Cross Hospital - now relocated to the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. She remained at the Guildhall, teaching the piano, and worked as a freelance accompanist until, by chance in 1985, she found herself - with her ex-husband Anthony - translating Don Giovanni for Jonathan Miller at English National Opera. She went on to write c.60 more translations and several librettos - these include Bliss for Brett Dean and The Silver Tassie for Mark Anthony Turnage, for which she became the first writer to receive the Olivier Award: Outstanding Achievement in Opera.
Regarded as the “wittiest and most adroit of contemporary practitioners of this difficult craft” (Daily Telegraph), Amanda's work is regularly performed throughout the English speaking world. Translations recently for ENO include Rodelinda (Handel) and Caligula (Glanert); her Castor & Pollux (Rameau) received an Olivier nomination. Amanda's translations of La bohème and Lucia di Lammermoor (Donizetti) will be at ENO in the coming 2018-19 season. Recent work includes English versions of Gluck’s Orpheus (Opera Theatre of St Louis, June 2018) and Hans Abrahamsen’s The Snow Queen (to be premiered in 2019). Amanda is also founder-editor of the Penguin Opera Guides; The Viking Opera Guide and The New Penguin Opera Guide contain 850 articles on opera composers and their works; the latest (5th) edition, The Opera Guide, 100 Popular Composers, is available online: www.amandaholden.org.uk
Gerald Barry, Composer
Gerald Barry was born in Clare in Ireland in 1952 and studied in Amsterdam and Cologne with Peter Schat, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Mauricio Kagel, among others. He came to prominence in 1979 with works including ‘________’ and Ø. He has since received commissions from the BBC Proms (Chevaux-de-frise), BBC Symphony Orchestra (The Conquest of Ireland, Day, Wiener Blut), Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (Dead March and Beethoven), London Sinfonietta (God Save the Queen and Feldman’s Sixpenny Editions), De Volharding Piano Quartet (Hard D), Ensemble 7Bridges (No People) and Bayerischer Rundfunk/Musica Viva and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (his Piano Concerto, written for Nicolas Hodges), among others.
His first opera The Intelligence Park was commissioned by the ICA and first performed in 1990 at the Aldeburgh Festival. It was followed by The Triumph of Beauty and Deceit (2002, Channel 4 Television and Aldeburgh Festival), The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (2005, English National Opera), La Plus Forte (2007, Radio France), The Importance of Being Earnest, winner of the 2013 Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Large-Scale Composition, and Alice’s Adventures Under Ground (2016, Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, Gustavo Dudamel, the Barbican Centre and Britten Sinfonia).
Barry’s music has been recorded by ensembles including RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, the Nash Ensemble, BCMG, the Almeida Ensemble, the Irish Chamber Orchestra and the Composers Ensemble, for NMC, Black Box Music, Metronome Records and Discovery Recordings.
Vincent Deane, Libretto
Vincent Deane has written and broadcreative on Twentieth Century music. He has also co-edited a series of volumes of James Joyce’s pre-compositional material for Finnegans Wake, published as The Finnegans Wake Notebooks at Buffalo.
Jessica Cottis, Conductor
Jessica Cottis spent her early professional years as assistant conductor to Vladimir Ashkenazy at the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Since then her performances have received consistent acclaim in the national and international press.
Recently noted as the “Classical ‘face to watch’” (The Times), Cottis's dynamic conducting style, high musical intellect, and inspirational leadership have led to guest conducting invitations from orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Houston Symphony, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, London Sinfonietta, Gävle Symphony Orchestra, Malmö Symphony Orchestra and Oulu Symphony Orchestra, as well as numerous re-invitations to the prestigious BBC Proms.
Following the success of her debut at the Royal Opera House in 2017 conducting the premiere of Na’ama Zisser’s Mamzer, she was immediately re-invited to conduct the world premiere of The Monstrous Child by Gavin Higgins, which was “strikingly brought to life by the Aurora Orchestra conducted by Jessica Cottis” (Financial Times).
Upcoming performances this season include a return to the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and debuts with Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Singapore Symphony, and the English Chamber Orchestra. She works widely as an advocate for classical music.
Nigel Lowery, Director & Designer
Nigel Lowery trained in London at the Central St Martin’s School of Art and Design.
After graduating, early design work included Der Ring Des Nibelungen for Covent Garden, Blond Ekbert (ENO), Inquest Of Love (Brussels) and Giulio Cesare in Munich.
He first directed at the Batignano festival, quickly followed by Il barbiere di Siviglia for The Royal Opera and Hänsel und Gretel for Theater Basel. Further productions include Rinaldo Tito L’italiana in Algieri, Staatsoper in Berlin, Figaro in Stuttgart, Candide and Akhnaten in Antwerp.
He has worked closely on many operas with the choreographer Amir Hosseinpour – including Orphée et Eurydice in Munich and Platée in Amsterdam.
His productions have been seen at Festivals in Aldeburgh, Barcelona, Berlin and Edinburgh.
Tim Anderson, Music Director for UK
Tim Anderson is a British-German conductor based in London. After studying at New College, Oxford, Tim was invited by the late Gerard Mortier to work at the Teatro Real, Madrid in 2013. He now enjoys an active career working with many of Europe's great opera houses and orchestras. In 2019, Tim was Assistant Conductor for Music Theatre Wales and The Royal Opera's co-production of Gerald Barry's The Intelligence Park.
While working in Madrid, Tim conducted performances for the education department and assisted in preparing many productions for the main stage. After leaving Madrid, he was trainee répétiteur at English National Opera and has since worked regularly at Glyndebourne, Northern Ireland Opera, Nevill Holt Opera (where he is currently Associate Conductor), as well as at Oper Stuttgart, Garsington Opera, and with Vladimir Jurowski and the LPO.
Tim has wide experience in contemporary opera, including recently conducting the 30th anniversary production of Mark-Anthony Turnage's Greek at the Arcola Theatre, London, in a production by co-librettist and original director, Jonathan Moore. Tim also recently made his debuts with Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and at Snape Maltings.
Further contemporary opera credits include musical preparation for Gavin Higgins's The Monstrous Child at the Royal Opera House with Jessica Cottis; assisting Nicholas Kok on the UK premiere of Silent Night at Opera North; musical preparation for the world premiere of Brett Dean's Hamlet at the Glyndebourne Festival with Vladimir Jurowski in 2017, and assisting Nicholas Carter on its revival at the 2018 Adelaide Festival with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra; musical preparation for John Adams's The Gospel According to the Other Mary at English National Opera; Thomas Adès's Powder Her Face at Northern Ireland Opera and Nevill Holt Opera; and Zesses Seglias's To the Lighthouse at the Bregenzer Festspiele.
Ksenia Ravvina, Co-Creator and Dramaturge
Theatre director, dramaturge and concept writer with interdisciplinary approach, embracing visual, music and performing arts.
Ksenia Ravvina (Saint Petersburg, Russia) received her diploma as a historian at the State University in Saint Petersburg. She studied theatre directing at the Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Frankfurt. In 2010 she got the Best Director Award for the play White Nights at the 14th International Dostoyevsky Chamber Festival, Staraya Russa, Russia. In the winter semester 2014/2015 she started a Master's degree in Applied Theater Studies at the Justus Liebig University in Gießen, where she worked on scenic projects with Heiner Goebbels, Walid Raad, Bojana Kunst i.a. Ksenia Ravvina created performances on German and Russian stages, including projects for the Staatstheater Wiesbaden, the Theater und Orchester Heidelberg, Staatstheater Darmstadt and various works in cooperation with the Künstlerhaus Mousonturm Frankfurt, the Frankfurt LAB and the Schwankhalle in Bremen. She collaborated with different artists such as Artyom Ignatiev, Anastasia Kadruleva (The Theater Ballet Moscow), Katja Cheraneva, Alexandar Hadjiev, Theodore Huffman, Kristina Veit, Philip Venables, the MichaelDouglas Kollektiv and others.
Her work Adolescence was chosen for the residency program "Campustriennale Materclass" of the RUHRTRIENNALE 2016. In 2017, Ksenia Ravvina directed the KulturTagJahr 2016/17 - Altana Cultural Foundation at the Charles Hallgarten School in Frankfurt. She was a scholarship holder of the international research residency "next generation workspace", Theatre for Young Audiences in Frankfurt 2017/2018. With her latest work Makulatur she received a multi-city residency in the frames of Tanzplattform Rhein-Main 2017/2018. In spring 2018 she worked as a dramaturge and artistic consultant in performances for Dirty Deal Theatre Riga and ZUKT_#TANZ Mousonturm Frankfurt.
Ksenia Ravvina, Co-Creator and Dramaturge
Philip Venables, Composer
Philip Venables has been described as a “composer of ferocious dramatic instincts” and “an arrestingly original musical personality” by Alex Ross in The New Yorker and as “one of the finest composers around” by the Guardian. His output covers opera, music theatre, multimedia concert works, chamber music and song, an eclectic range of styles and influences, and themes often concerning social politics, violence, gender and storytelling.
Philip's most recent opera Denis & Katya (Opera Philadelphia, Music Theatre Wales, Opéra Orchestre National Montpellier), with director/dramatist Ted Huffman, won the 2019 Fedora Generali Prize for Opera. Critics have called it “an intimate, haunting triumph” (New York Times), “a monumental, dramatically shattering event” (Parterre Box), and “the most brilliantly original operatic work I’ve seen in a decade…a sensitive, subtle and deeply questioning meditation on youth, voyeurism, and the age of social media” (Musical America).
Philip's first opera, 4.48 Psychosis (Royal Opera, London), was the first ever permitted adaptation of any of british playwright Sarah Kane's work. The opera won the 2016 UK Theatre Award for Opera, the 2017 Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Large-scale Composition and the 2017 British Composer Award for Stage Work, and was nominated for an Olivier Award and Sky Arts South Bank Award. The original production (dir. Ted Huffman) and subsequent ones in London (Royal Opera), New York City (Prototype Festival), Strasbourg (Opéra National du Rhin) and Dresden (Semperoper) received overwhelming praise: “A new brand of opera” (The Times) “rawly powerful and laceratingly honest” (The Telegraph); “A Gesamtkunstwerk of unbelievable intensity” (Klassikfavori); “he ambushes and refreshes an old art form.” (The Observer); “4.48 Psychosis is a remarkable achievement” (The Guardian); “sledgehammer power” (The New Yorker); “opening our eyes to what musical theatre is capable of” (The Times %p Literary Supplement); “one of the most exhilarating operas in years” (The Spectator).
Philip collaborates extensively in cross-media work, including with artist Douglas Gordon on Bound to Hurt (HAU Theater Berlin, Kampnagel Hamburg, Theater Basel), with drag/performance artist David Hoyle on Illusions (London Sinfonietta, UK New Music Biennial), The Gender Agenda (London Sinfonietta, Remix Ensemble, Asko Schoenberg and Ensemble Modern) and sound installation Canal Street (Manchester International Festival/Manchester Camerata) and with violinist Pekka Kuusisto on Venables plays Bartók (BBC Proms/BBC Symphony Orchestra). His debut album Below the Belt was released on NMC in 2018: “unmissable... music of forensic clarity and visceral force – but also great tenderness and generosity” (BBC Music Magazine).
Philip was a MacDowell Fellow with director Ted Huffman in 2017 and in the Opera Creation Workshop at Aix-en-Provence Festival in 2019. He studied at Cambridge University and then with Philip Cashian and David Sawer at the Royal Academy of Music, which elected him Associate (ARAM) in 2016 for his significant contribution to composition. Philip completed his doctorate in 2016 while Doctoral Composer in Residence at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and the Royal Opera House with the Royal Opera House with Julian Philips and James Weeks. He is a director of the agency Bright Ivy Ltd. His work is published exclusively by Ricordi.
Ted Huffman, Writer & Director
Based in London, Ted Huffman is a writer and director best known for his work in contemporary opera.
His most recent opera with composer Philip Venables, Denis & Katya, commissioned by Opera Philadelphia, won the 2019 Fedora Generali Prize. Critics have called it "an intimate, haunting triumph" (New York Times), "a monumental, dramatically shattering event" (Parterre Box), and "the most brilliantly original operatic work I've seen in a decade…a sensitive, subtle and deeply questioning meditation on youth, voyeurism, and the age of social media" (Musical America).
Together with Venables, he has also written Alice for tenor and piano, based on tenor Daniel Shelvey's memories of his grandmother, and The Big History of Little England, a children's opera that tells the history of England from the Big Bang through Brexit in twelve minutes. They are currently at work on another full-length commission.
During the 2019/20 season, Ted will make directing debuts at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia, Opéra national du Rhin, and Opera Philadelphia as well as returning to Opernhaus Zürich, Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, and Opéra national de Montpellier for new productions.
His production of 4.48 Psychosis (Venables/Kane) for the Royal Opera House won the UK Theatre Award for Best Opera Production as well as best production nominations for an Olivier Award, an RPS Award, and a South Bank Sky Arts Award. This production travelled to the Prototype Festival (NYC) and to the Opéra national du Rhin. His production of Il trionfo del tempo e del disinganno for the Royal Theater Copenhagen and Malmö Opera received a Reumert Prize nomination and a Copenhagen Culture Award nomination for Best Opera and will play next year at the Opéra national de Montpellier. Other awards include the WhatsOnStage Award and an RPS Award nomination for The Lighthouse (Maxwell-Davies) in the Linbury Theatre and a Best Director nomination in the Opernwelt Jahrbuch for El Cimarrón (Henze).
Ted's past work includes Madama Butterfly (Opernhaus Zürich), Rinaldo (Oper Frankfurt), Salome (Oper Köln), Arthur Lavandier's Le premier meurtre (Opéra de Lille), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Opéra national de Montpellier), Luke Styles' Macbeth (Glyndebourne), Ana Sokolovic's Svádba (Festival Aix-en-Provence, Opéra Angers-Nantes, Les Théâtres de la ville de Luxembourg, Festival Ljubljana), Poulenc's Les mamelles de Tirésias (La Monnaie, Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, Dutch National Opera, Juilliard Opera, Aldeburgh Festival), and Ullmann's Der Kaiser von Atlantis (Central City Opera, Juilliard Opera, Greenwich Music Festival).
A native New Yorker, Ted studied Humanities at Yale University and apprenticed at San Francisco's Merola Opera Program. He was a MacDowell Fellow in 2017.
Sound Intermedia, Sound design realised for UK
Launched in 1996 by Ian Dearden and David Sheppard, Sound Intermedia revels in the challenge of bringing new work to its audience. Renowned for sophisticated sound designs for live events, they have worked in concert halls and opera houses around the world, collaborating with many of the preeminent creators and performers of new music of the last 70 years.
Their experience is sought when exceptional events go beyond established paradigms. They have devised and curated installations and performances in museums, art galleries and a myriad of unusual spaces around the world - from Venice Beach California to Aldeburgh beach in Suffolk; from the tunnels of London Underground to helicopters over Paris.
Their aim is to motivate and influence musicians, technicians and composers through authoritative performance and to pass on their ingenuity to the next generation, better to serve the music of the future.
Alice Birch, Writer
Alice Birch is the winner of the Arts Foundation Award for Playwriting 2014, the co-winner of the George Devine Award for Most Promising Playwright 2014 and won the 2018 Susan Smith Blackburn Award for her play ANATOMY OF A SUICIDE, having previously been shortlisted for the Award in 2012 and 2015.
Her film work includes Lady Macbeth, which won the BIFA for Best Screenplay in 2017 and was nominated for Outstanding Debut & Best British Feature BAFTA 2018. Her second feature film, an adaptation of the Graham Swift novel Mothering Sunday for Number 9 Films and Film 4, was released in 2021. She is also adapting the bestselling novel The Silent Patient for Plan B.
Alice has also written for TV, working on Normal People (BBC / Element Pictures) adapted from the novel by Sally Rooney. Alice has also worked on their forthcoming adaptation of Sally Rooney’s CONVERSATIONS WITH FRIENDS. 2022 will see her new TV series, DEAD RINGERS, premiere on Amazon, on which Alice is the Lead Writer and Executive Producer. Alice was also in the writers’ room as Story Editor for Season 2 of Succession (HBO).
In theatre, Alice has written [BLANK] (Donmar Warehouse / Clean Break); Orlando (Schaubühne, Berlin); La Maladie de la Mort (Bouffes du Nord); Anatomy of a Suicide, Ophelia’s Zimmer, Revolt. She said. Revolt again (Royal Court Theatre); We Want You To Watch (National Theatre); The Lone Pine Club (Pentabus); Little Light (Orange Tree); Little on the inside (Almeida/Clean Break); Salt (Comedie de Valence); and Many Moons (Theatre503).
In 2016, Alice was selected as one of the Creative England 50, a shortlist of individuals and companies judged to be the country’s most inventive, innovative and creative minds. In 2015 Alice was nominated for Friedrich Luft Prize.
Jude Christian, Director
Jude Christian's previous work as a director includes Dark Night of the Soul (Shakespeare's Globe), My Mum's a Twat; Bodies; Lela & Co. (Royal Court), othellomacbeth; Jack and the Beanstalk (Lyric Hammersmith), Trust; I'd rather Goya robbed me of my sleep than some other arsehole (Gate), Parliament Square (Bush; Royal Exchange), Split/Mixed (Soho) and Peter Pan (Brageteatret). Writing includes Nanjing (Theatertreffen Stückemarkt), Kan Yama Kan (Anthology), Cinderella (Lyric Hammersmith) and Dick Whittington (National Theatre).
Tom Coult, Composer
Tom Coult is a composer born in London in 1988. His playful and seductive music has been championed by many of the UK’s major orchestras and ensembles, resulting in a series of acclaimed large-scale pieces including Beautiful Caged Thing for soprano Claire Booth and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Sonnet Machine for the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, and St John’s Dance (premiered by Edward Gardner and the BBC Symphony Orchestra to open the First Night of the 2017 BBC Proms).
In 2021 he was made Composer-in-Association with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, who have played his music on a number of occasions – the first major piece of his residency was Pleasure Garden, a concerto for violinist Daniel Pioro, also broadcreative on BBC Radio 3. He has enjoyed further associations with ensembles such as Britten Sinfonia and London Sinfonietta (who premiered Spirit of the Staircase, nominated for a South Bank Sky Arts Award), and in 2022 will be Composer-in-Residence at Switzerland’s Musikdorf Ernen Festival.
His music has been described as
‘funny and surreal and delicately poetic, all at once’ (The Telegraph), and ‘full of bewitching sounds…fresh and precisely imagined’ (The Guardian) – ‘Coult is a composer who spins glittering, teasingly ambiguous patterns out of simple-seeming material…a very individual voice’(The Telegraph).
Further orchestral performances have come from Netherlands Radio Philharmonic and Royal Philharmonic Orchestras and Orchestra of the Swan, while his chamber works have earned performances by ensembles including Arditti Quartet, Psappha, Quatuor Diotima, Fidelio Trio, Riot Ensemble and soloists from the Philharmonia.
Tom studied at the University of Manchester with Camden Reeves and Philip Grange and at King’s College London with George Benjamin. Between 2017 and 2019 he was Visiting Fellow Commoner in the Creative Arts at Trinity College Cambridge, and has taught on the Britten Sinfonia Academy composition course and with Aldeburgh Young Musicians. Awards include a Paul Hamlyn Award for Artists, the Lili Boulanger Memorial Fund Prize and the Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize.
Rosie Elnile, Designer
Theatre Includes; Run Sister Run; Sheffield Crucible, [Blank] Donmar Warehouse, Our Town (Regents Park Open Air Theatre), The Ridiculous Darkness, Unknown Island, The Convert (Gate); The American Clock (Old Vic); The Wolves (Theatre Royal Stratford East); The Mysteries, Three Sisters (Royal Exchange, Manchester); Abandon (Lyric Hammersmith); Returning to Haifa (Finborough Theatre); Goats (Royal Court); Prime Time (Royal Court Schools Tour); BIG GUNS (Yard)
Joshua Pharo, Lighting Designer
Augmented (Told By An Idiot UK Tour); The Bee in Me (Unicorn); Cinderella (Lyric Hammersmith); Vassa (Almeida); The Color Purple (Leicester Curve & Birmingham Hippodrome); Noughts & Crosses (UK Tour); Counting Sheep (Belarus Free Theatre); Going Through (Bush Theatre); othellomacbeth (Lyric Hammersmith/ Home Manchester); The Ridiculous Darkness, Trust, Medea, I’d Rather Goya Robbed Me of My Sleep, No Place Like Home (Gate Theatre); The Wolves (Stratford East); Future Bodies (Home Manchester); 100: UnEarth (Wild Works); Nanjing (Sam Wanamaker Playhouse); Double Vision (Wales Millennium Centre); random/generations (Chichester Festival Theatre); The Shape of Pain (China Plate, Fringe First Winner/ Battersea Arts Centre); Hearty, Removal Men (Yard Theatre); The Claim (UK Tour); La Tragédie De Carmen (Royal Opera House/ Wilton’s Music Hall); Frau Welt (Hackney Showroom); Cosmic Scallies (Royal Exchange/ Graeae); How I Hacked My Way Into Space (Unlimited Theatre/ Tour); Bullish (Camden People’s Theatre); Burning Doors (Belarus Free Theatre); Bodies (Royal Court); Nest (Brighton/ Take Off Festivals); How My Light Is Spent (Royal Exchange)
Andrew Gourlay, Conductor
Born in Jamaica, with Russian ancestry, Andrew Gourlay grew up in the Bahamas, Philippines, Japan and England. A trombonist and pianist by training, he studied conducting at the Royal College of Music, where he prepared Bruckner symphonies for Bernard Haitink and Mozart symphonies for Sir Roger Norrington. He was selected by Gramophone magazine as their ‘One to Watch’, and by BBC Music Magazine as their ‘Rising Star: great artists of tomorrow’.
Andrew Gourlay won First Prize at the 2010 Cadaques International Conducting Competition, securing concerts with 29 orchestras around the world. For the next two years he was Assistant Conductor to Sir Mark Elder and the Hallé Orchestra. In 2015 Gourlay took up the position of Music Director of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León (OSCYL), having been their Principal Guest Conductor since the 2014/15 season, and celebrated the orchestra’s 25th anniversary in 2016/17.
Alex Ho, Composer
Alex Ho is a British-Chinese composer based in London. One of the London Symphony Orchestra’s ‘Soundhub’ composers, Alex has had pieces performed/commissioned by the LSO, Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Opera House, and National Opera Studio. His works have featured at SoundState Festival (Southbank Centre, London), Sound Unbound (Barbican Centre, London), Chinese Arts Now (LSO St. Luke’s), and BBC Late Junction. Alex was joint-winner of the Philip Bates Composition Competition in 2016, one of Sound and Music’s ‘New Voices 2018’, a Help Musicians UK Fusion Fund Artist in 2019, and winner of the George Butterworth Award 2020. Upcoming projects are with Nevis Ensemble (digital commission, summer 2020) and Riot Ensemble (Crossroads Festival, Salzburg, November 2020). Alex graduated with first-class honours from Oxford in 2016 before completing a master’s at Cambridge in 2017 where he was awarded the Arthur Bliss Prize in Composition. He is currently studying for a doctorate at the Royal College of Music with a full AHRC scholarship (LAHP Studentship supported by RCM).
Elayce Ismail, Theatre maker
Elayce Ismail works in the UK and internationally as a theatremaker, opera director and dramaturg. She was the inaugural RTYDS Associate Director at Northern Stage in 2017/2018. Prior to this she was Resident Director at the National Theatre Studio as the recipient of the JP Morgan Award for Emerging Directors, and a Jerwood Assistant Director at the Young Vic. Direction includes: Omeros (Gate Theatre – adaptation/direction); They Whisper Don’t Gaze at the Stars… (ENO), If Not Now, When? (NT); Nanjing (Royal Court/Shakespeare’s Globe); Under Milk Wood, The War of the Worlds (Northern Stage); Girls (HighTide Festival/Soho Theatre – selected for British Council Edinburgh Showcase); The Rise and Shine of Comrade Fiasco, Chorus, Spooky Action at a Distance (Gate Theatre); The Lost Ring (Deutsches Theater Berlin); Stay Another Song (Young Vic); When I Am Queen (Almeida). Recent opera as revival/associate director includes: 4:48 Psychosis (Opéra National du Rhin/Royal Opera House); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Opéra Orchestre National Montpellier); The Virtues of Things (Royal Opera House).
Cécile Trémolières, Costume Designer
Cécile is a French-British award winning set and costume designer. She trained at Wimbledon College of Arts, graduating with a first class degree in 2013.
She is, with director Gerard Jones, the winner of the 10th European Opera Directing Prize in 2018. She was a Linbury Finalist (2013) and a Jerwood Young Designer (2017).
She is the recipient of the Jerwood Micro Bursary in 2017, The Royal Opera House Linbury Bursary 2015, and the IdeasTap Graduate Award 2014. She was nominated for Best Set Design at the Off West End Theatre Awards in 2014.
Cécile’s work was exhibited at the World Stage Design exhibition 2017 in Taipei, the Prague Quadrennial 2015 as part of the British Pavilion, and at the V&A exhibition Make/Believe: UK Design for Performance 2011-2015.
For the opera, Edmea (Wexford Festival, Ireland), La Boheme (Theater Bielefeld), Manon (Mainz Staatstheater), Code Noir (Opera de Massy), La Tragédie de Carmen (Royal Opera House).
For the theatre: Un qui veut Traverser (La Colline, Paris), Histoires de France (La Passerelle, Angoulême) Wuthering Heights (Royal Exchange Manchester), Midnight Movie, Hole (Royal Court, London), Midsummer (Edinburgh International Festival), The Crucible, This Beautiful Future, The Mikvah Project (The Yard, London), Suzy Stork (The Gate, Theatre National de Bretagne).
William Cole, Assistant Conductor and Répétiteur
With a repertoire from early opera to new compositions, William Cole’s recent highlights include his concert debut with the Britten Sinfonia and Red Note Ensemble, Hans Abrahamsen’s Schnee with the Royal Northern Sinfonia, and Purcell’s The Fairy Queen for Waterperry Opera Festival. Active in the opera house and the concert stage, recent and future engagements include projects with the Royal Opera Covent Garden, English National Opera, Opera North, Operá National du Rhin, Theater Aachen, Music Theatre Wales, Snape Maltings’ Jerwood Opera Programme, Nevill Holt Opera and The Grange Festival. Engagements cancelled due to Covid-19 include a season as Head of Music for English Touring Opera, and his debuts with the London Sinfonietta and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.
A committed exponent of new and experimental work, he is Music Director of Filthy Lucre, an immersive mixed-genre collective with whom he has worked with artists from dance, sculpture, and film in music from Xenakis to The Clash. Other work in this area includes major works by Ligeti, Boulez, Grisey, Vivier and Kurtág as well as new works by composers including Patricia Alessandrini, Emily Howard, Shiori Usui and Laurence Osborn. He is currently a member of Birmingham Contemporary Music Group’s NEXT programme. Other masterclasses and training programmes include the Dartington International Summer School conducting programme with Sian Edwards, Royaumont Abbey’s Voix Nouvelles with Ensemble Linea and Péter Eötvös, and the Conducting Seminar at Tanglewood Music Centre.
William studied at the Royal Academy of Music, where he was a Répétiteur Fellow and is now a visiting coach.
Jackie Shemesh, Lighting Designer
Theatre includes: Death of England, Hansard, Death of England Delroy (National Theatre); Misty, The Beloved, Islands (Bush Theatre); What if Women Ruled the World, Ceremony (MIF); Vanya, Mary Stuart (Almeida); The Seagull (Jamie Lloyd Company); Changing Destiny, In the Penal Colony, Man, Oh my Sweet Land (Young Vic); The Return of Danton (Collective Ma’louba); White Noise (Bridge Theatre).
Dance includes: Heavy Handed we Crush the Moment (Barbican); Run Mary Run (Sadler’s Wells); Goat (Rambert); The Murmuring, Young Men (BalletBoyz); Beheld, Hot Mess, Let’s Talk About Dis (Candoco Dance); The Life and Times of Girl A (Scottish Dance Theatre); Lunatic (NDC Wells).
Other collaborations include Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria (Grange Opera); Recital for Cathy, From Canyons to Stars (Hamburg Symphony Orchestra); TUTBU TV, JRMIP (Hebbel Berlin); Sante (LSO).
Adam Sinclair, Animation
Adam Sinclair has specialised in 3D modelling and animation for real time environments and video work since 2007. He has worked in close collaboration with some of the UK's most prominent artists. These include Ed Atkins, Helen Marten (2016 Turner prize winner), Elizabeth Price (2012 Turner prize winner) and Tai Shani (2019 Turner Prize Winner). Adam's collaborative work has been displayed in many locations around the world including the museum of modern art – New York, the Venice Biennale, and Palais de Tokyo – Paris. He has helped artists use new technology to create interactive and immersive experiences. In 2018 he collaborated with the band ‘Ravioli Me Away’ to create 3D animated visuals for their opera ‘The View From Behind The Futuristic Rose Trellis’.
Jasmin Kent Rodgman, Bell Sound Design
British-Malaysian Artist, Composer and Producer Jasmin Kent Rodgman brings together the contemporary classical, electronic and sound art worlds to create distinctive soundscapes and musical identities. She is a regular collaborator across various art forms including dance, word, film and VR.
Her work has been performed across the UK and internationally with partners including the LSO, London Sinfonietta, London Fashion Week, World Music Festival Shanghai, Edinburgh International Festival, Wilderness Festival, Bush Theatre and Roundhouse. Her film scores have most recently been featured on BBC Four’s Lights Up, BBC Arts Culture in Quarantine and at both Sundance and SXSW Film Festival.
In 2018/19 she was a British Council & PRS Foundation Musician in Residence: China, and in 2017/18 an LSO Jerwood Composer. In 2020/21 she was also the recipient of PRS Foundation's Women Make Music and Open Fund, Help Musicians Do It Differently, Sound & Music and Bagri Foundation Awards. Visit jkrodgman.com for more info.
Maya Shimmin, Assistant Director
Maya Shimmin is a theatre maker, director, and facilitator. Previous work as a director includes When Rachel Met Fiona (The Space), DOSAGE (Fable Workshop/Theatre Deli/Camden People’s Theatre/The Yellow) and Identities (The Pyramid, Warrington).
Maya was the recipient of Theatre Deli’s Classic Residency 2021 and is a Cumbrian director with RTYDS New Directions North in partnership with Theatre by the Lake, Northern Stage, Leeds Playhouse and Royal Exchange Manchester. Her lockdown directing project, Then and Now, was shortlisted for Best Feature Film at Cardiff International Film Festival 2021.
Maya specialises in inclusive practice and regularly works with companies including Haringey Shed, Brent Youth Theatre and Blink Dance Theatre.
Michel de Souza - Baritone Robert Paradies
Born in Brazil, Michel de Souza won the Maria Callas Vocal Competition in São Paulo and the Margaret Dick and Ye Cronies Competition at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
He went on to join the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera Covent Garden. He also appears regularly in concert, including with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra at the Proms, with L’Orchestre National de Lyon, the Orchestra of Scottish Opera and Theatro Municipal in São Paulo Brazil.
He was an Emerging Artist at Scottish Opera where his roles included Escamillo Carmen, Forester Cunning Little Vixen and Marullo Rigoletto. At ROH Covent Garden he appeared as Schaunard La Boheme, Morales Carmen, Flemish Deputy Don Carlo, the Captain Eugene Onegin, Angelotti Tosca and Mandarin and Ping Turandot.
He has performed the roles of Schaunard La Boheme, Baron Grog La Grande Duchesse de Gerolstein, Leuthold Guillaume Tell and Starveling A Midsummer Nights Dream at Grand Théâtre de Genève and at Grange Park Opera he sang Sonora La Fanciulla del West and Grand Prêtre Samson et Dalila.
In South America he has performed the roles of Guglielmo Così fan Tutte at Teatro Argentino de la Plata, Belcore L’Elisir d’Amore and Conte Robinson Il Matrimonio Segreto at Theatro São Pedro, Papageno Die Zauberflöte at Theatro Municipal de São Paulo and Crown Porgy and Bess at Grande Teatro do Palácio das Artes de Belo Horizonte.
Adrian Dwyer - Tenor D’Esperaudieu
Born in Melbourne, Adrian Dwyer studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the National Opera Studio. He made his professional debut as Rodolfo in Baz Luhrmann’s La bohème in Los Angeles, winning an LA Stage Alliance Award for Outstanding Performance. Since then, he has performed worldwide at opera houses including Cape Town Opera, Opera de Toulon and State Opera of South Australia, Opera Comique Paris, ENO, Opera North, Scottish Opera, Opera Holland Park, Buxton Festival and NI Opera.
This season’s highlights include his return to Welsh National Opera as Anatole in David Pountney’s new production of Prokofiev’s War and Peace, following what critics called a “career-defining” house debut with the company last season as Andrei in Mussorgsky’s Khovanshchina. He also makes main stage debuts at Israeli Opera (Salome), Opera Zürich (Sweeney Todd) and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and returns to Opera Queensland as the Prince in John Adams’ A Flowering Tree, and Longborough Festival Opera as Mime in a much-anticipated new Ring Cycle.
Recent engagements include his house debut at Teatro Real Madrid as Sam Kaplan Street Scene, Electrician in Thomas Adès’ Powder Her Face in the inaugural production of the new Irish National Opera (a role he had already sung for Northern Ireland Opera and which he subsequently reprised for the Nevill Holt Festival) and Salome for Opera North.
Rhian Lois Jerusha Cramer
Welsh soprano Rhian Lois has performed to great acclaim on the English National Opera stage in roles such as Adele Die Fledermaus, Nerine in Charpentier’s Medea and Atalanta Xerxes. In 2015 she made her Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, debut as Papagena, and in summer 2016 she made her North American debut as Zerlina in Santa Fe.
Current highlights include major role and house debuts: Nanetta in Verdi Falstaff with Grange Festival, and Valencienne in Lehar The Merry Widow. She will also perform in concert at the International Enescu Festival. Future highlights include a major Handel role debut with The English Concert and her role debut as Despina Così fan tutte.
2017/18 was a season of major debuts, with a house debut at Grand Théâtre de Genève as Angelika in the European premiere of Figaro Gets a Divorce, and two role debuts at English National Opera as Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro and Governess in The Turn of the Screw.
Recent highlights include two role debuts at English National Opera as Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro and Governess in The Turn of the Screw; Susanna and Barbarina Le Nozze di Figaro, the world premiere of Figaro gets a Divorce, and the Adele Die Fledermaus for Welsh National Opera. Concert performances included a recital for the International Opera Awards Foundation as well as a performance at the Royal Albert Hall alongside Kings College Cambridge Choir as part of the Raymond Gubbay Christmas Festival.
Patrick Terry *Jette Parker Young Artist Serafino
Patrick Terry is a member of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Winner of the Loveday Song Prize at the 2017 Kathleen Ferrier Awards, Second Prize at the 2019 Handel Singing Competition and a Samling Artist, Patrick Terry was born and raised in Janesville, Wisconsin.
He earned his Bachelor’s of Music degree from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, where he studied with Adriana Zabala, and graduated from London’s Royal Academy of Music, where he studied with Caitlin Hulcup and Michael Chance on the Opera Course with generous support from the Josephine Baker Trust and the John J. Adams Scholarship, in Summer 2018.
Selected for the 2018 Leeds Lieder Young Artists Festival, further competition success has included Second Prize at the 2015 Joan Chissell Schumann Lieder Competition, winning the 2014 Maureen Lehane Vocal Award and winning the 2017 Richard Lewis/Jean Shanks Award. For Royal Academy Opera, he sang The Refugee Flight and Ruggiero Alcina.
Operatic engagements have included The Boy/Angel 1 Written On Skin with the Melos Sinfonia, Oberon A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Chicago Summer Opera, Rosencrantz in Brett Dean’s Hamlet for Glyndebourne On Tour and the title role in Teseo with La Nuova Musica at the 2018 London Handel Festival. Concert highlights have included a Wigmore Hall appearance with Imogen Cooper.
This season, he travels to Japan to appear in Le Promesse (Gala Concert by Young Opera Singers Tomorrow of the World) at the New National Theatre, Tokyo, and sings Arsace Berenice and Artemis in Hans Werner Henze’s Phaedra. During 2018/2019, he will also return to the Wigmore Hall for Heroes and Villains, appear in Beyond Jerusalem: The Life and Times of Sir Charles Hubert Parry at the London Song Festival and sing Ruggiero Alcina with La Nuova Musica.
Stephanie Marshall Faranesi
Canadian mezzo-soprano Stephanie Marshall made her Royal Opera debut in 2013 as Gwendolen Fairfax (The Importance of Being Earnest), a role she reprised in 2016. She has returned to sing Susannah (The Crackle) and Girl (Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny).
Marshall studied at the Royal Academy of Music and was a Young Artist and later a Company Principal for English National Opera, where her roles included Wellgunde (Der Ring des Nibelungen), Sonya (War and Peace), Mercédès (Carmen), Cherubino (The Marriage of Figaro), Annio (La clemenza di Tito), the title role in The Handmaid’s Tale and Kasturbai (Satyagraha). Her other operatic engagements include Arbate (Mitridate, re di Ponto) for Classical Opera Company and Nancy (Albert Herring) and Erika (Vanessa) for Pacific Opera Victoria.
Marshall has sung in concert with orchestras including the Hallé, English Chamber Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and has recorded contemporary works by composers including Barry, Michel van der Aa and Ruders.
London Sinfonietta Ensemble
The London Sinfonietta is one of the world’s leading contemporary music ensembles. Formed in 1968, the group’s commitment to making new music has seen it commission 400 works and premiere hundreds more. Its ethos today is to constantly experiment with an ever-changing art form, bringing together the best musicians, composers and artists to create excellent, risk-taking work. Resident at Southbank Centre and Artistic Associate at Kings Place, with a busy touring schedule across the UK and abroad, the London Sinfonietta’s core eighteen Principal Players represent some of the best musicians in the world.
Stephen Richardson Sir Joshua Cramer
Stephen Richardson studied at Manchester University and the Royal Northern College of Music. He has created roles in many important contemporary works including Thomas Adès’ The Tempest (Royal Opera House); Tan Dun’s Orchestral Theatre II‚ Re‚ and Tea (Suntory Hall‚ Tokyo); Barry’s The Triumph of Beauty and Deceit‚ The Importance of Being Earnest and The Intelligence Park; Tavener’s Eis Thanaton‚ Resurrection‚ The Apocalypse and Fall and Resurrection (City of London Sinfonia‚ St Paul’s Cathedral); and the British premiere of The Handmaid’s Tale (ENO).
Most recent and upcoming engagements include Hotel Manager and Duke Powder Her Face Irish National Opera‚ Powder Her Face (Nevill Holt Opera)‚ King of Hearts in Unsuk Chin’s Alice in Wonderland (Los Angeles Philharmonic and The Barbican)‚ Baron Ochs Der Rosankavalier (Bolshoi‚ Moscow and Opera North)‚ Dansker Billy Budd (Rome Opera and Opera North)‚ Geronte Manon Lescaut (Opera Holland Park)‚ Timur Turandot and Powder Her Face (Northern Ireland Opera)‚ Dikoy Katya Kabanova‚ Simone Gianni Schicchi and The General Silent Night (Opera North)‚ Bartolo and Rocco Fidelio (Garsington Opera)‚ Rocco (Bridgewater Hall with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra) and Messiah with the Danish National Vocal Ensemble.
Recent engagements include Hobson Peter Grimes (La Scala‚ ROH‚ Opera North and Aldeburgh Festival)‚ Geronte di Ravoir Manon Lescaut (WNO and Savonlinna Festival)‚ Sarastro The Magic Flute‚ Daland The Flying Dutchman and Lady Bracknell The Importance of Being Earnest (Northern Ireland Opera)‚ Rocco (Garsington and Winterthur Festival)‚ Frank Die Fledermaus (Korean National Opera)‚ Micha The Bartered Bride‚ Commandant From The House of The Dead and The Adventures of Pinocchio (Opera North)‚ Ferrando Il Trovatore (Den Jyske Opera).
Further engagements include Falstaff and Sarastro (Opera Australia); Rocco‚ ll Giullare Francesco da Rimini and Stromminger La Wally (Opera Holland Park); Samuel Un ballo in maschera (Nationale Reisopera)‚ Kaspar Der Freischütz (Opéra de Rennes); Flint Billy Budd (Netherlands Opera)‚ Sir Joshua Cramer The Intelligence Park (Irish Museum of Modern Art‚ Dublin)‚ Lady Bracknell (Los Angeles Philharmonic‚ Thomas Adès Festival)‚ Beethoven in Barry’s Schott and Sons‚ Mainz (National Chamber Choir of Ireland‚ Dublin)‚ Don Quichotte in Fénelon’s Le Chevalier Imaginaire (Ensemble Intercontemporain)‚ and X Powder her Face (London Symphony Orchestra).
Concert repertoire includes Anubis/Death of Kong in Birtwistle’s The Second Mrs Kong (Royal Festival Hall/Martyn Brabbins)‚ Hansel and Gretel (BBC Concert Orchestra)‚ Messiah (Carnegie Hall/Trevor Pinnock)‚ Oedipus Rex (BBC Stravinsky Festival/Sir Andrew Davis)‚ Nixon in China (London Symphony Orchestra) and Knussen’s Where the Wild Things Are and Higglety Pigglety Pop! (Cleveland Orchestra and London Sinfonietta/ Knussen).
Recordings include Where the Wild Things Are‚ title role in Goehr’s Death of Moses (Unicorn Kanchana)‚ Purcell’s Ode for the Birthday of Queen Mary (DG Archiv)‚ Stravinsky’s The Flood and Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (London Symphony Orchestra/Sir Colin Davis‚ Philips) and Albert Herring (Chandos).