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Blind Date (2007)

Blind Date premiered in 2007 and consisted of six short pieces composed and written by 6 seperate “couples” who met at various events organised by Tête à Tête. To read an artcile about one of these please click here.

Below is a list, in order of performance, of the six pieces.

Words: Meredith Oakes Music: Julian Grant
Soprano: Stephanie Corley
Critic 1: Susan Atherton
Critic 2: Damian Thantrey

Two opera critics eulogise about the beautiful performance of a diva. However their agreement is short lived and their disagreement destroys the performance….

Anger was originally presented as part of The Seven Deadly Sins, a private performance of 7 short operas given in 1993 as a leaving present for the retiring English National Opera management (Peter Jonas, Mark Elder, David Pountney, Edmund Tracey). Engineered by Henrietta Bredin, and directed by Bill Bankes-Jones this involved all kinds of skullduggery and secret rehearsals with the ENO stars of the time. Anger has never before had a public performance.

on such a day
Words: Philip Ridley Music: Anna Meredith

It is a beautiful day…
It is not…
It is…

on such a day tells the story of a day as it unfolds though the eyes of our performers. Initially the beauty of the day is admired, however as events, as yet unknown, unfold we witness the reactions of those present and follow them through the storm to the calm that follows.

The Feathered Friend
Words: Alasdair Middleton Music: Helen Chadwick
Polly: Stephanie Corley
Suzy: Susan Atherton
Harry: Damian Thantrey

Based on a true story that occurred in Leeds last year, The Feathered Friend exposes a Love Triangle between a man, a woman and a parrot. Whilst Harry has been away, his girlfriend has been seeing someone else, although Harry is blissfully unaware until his parrot opens its mouth.

The Big But
Words: Jonzi-D Music: Jason Yarde
Suz-O: Susan Atherton
Nigel Ian St Thomas: Damian Thantrey
Linda Moran: Stephanie Corley

The Big But is a humorous look at the devious world of celebrity PR. In a world where the term celebrity has becoming increasingly meaningless and the paparazzi and press chase the latest and greatest misdemeanours perpetrated by people in the public eye, The Big But follows the story of George Michael’s secret love child. Potentially the scoop of the century we watch as the vultures descend on their prey…

Words: Christopher Mayo & Christopher Crebolder Music: Christopher Mayo

Houses traces the story of three homes in Toronto from their construction, years ago, to the present day. Unearthing the lives lived, the stories trapped within the bricks and interweaving fragments of past, present and future, Houses is based facts dug out of the Canadian archives by Christopher Mayo and subsequently pieced together.

Words: Simon Nicholson Music: Gary Carpenter
Kirov: Damian Thantrey
Olga Tomsk: Stephanie Corley
Maria Popinova: Susan Atherton

Nyanyushka tells the story of a man, left to fend for himself in post revolution Russia, who yearns for the care of his Nyanushka once again.

Simon Nicholson writes:
“I’d read about the peasant nannies of Tsarist Russia some time ago. Adored by the noble children they suckled and reared, they were nonetheless servants: penniless, illiterate women who usually lived out their entire lives on the estate on which they were born. When Gary approached me about the project, I remembered this material, and for some reason found myself wondering what might have happened to these women after the 1917 revolution. I thought up a story. It had the somewhat grotesque tone of some early Soviet writers (Mayakovsky, Bulgakov, Erdman) and that provided a good clue for how to write the libretto. A lthough it proved impossible to resist references to a certain 1960’s musical film as well…”

Gary Carpenter writes:
“My references arrived with Simon’s libretto. Set at a time when the influence of Diaghilev’s coterie of disaffected Russian emigrés was still felt everywhere except Russia, I tinkered around the edges of Mussorgsky and early Stravinsky. In the spirit of the piece, I confess to one quotation.”

Violin – Helena Wood
Cello – Miriam Lowbury
Flute – Sarah O’Flynn
Clarinet – Stuart King
French Horn – Evgeny Chebykin
Trombone – Neill Hadden

Music Director – Tim Murray
Director – Bill Bankes-Jones
Designer – Tim Meacock
Lighting – Mark Doubleday

To read an article on our speed dating event by Henrietta Bredin in The Spectator CLICK HERE.

Performances took place in 2007 as follows: November 12, 13, 15, 16, 18 (LONDON – Riverside Studios); 20 (BIRMINGHAM – Alexandra Theatre); 21 (NEWBURY – Corn Exchange); 23, 24 (CAMBRIDGE – Arts Theatre); 26, 27 (MANCHESTER – Royal Northern College of Music); 29, 30 (BATH – The Egg at Theatre Royal)

a hilarious tour de force
Monty Python’s imperishable ‘parrot sketch’ now has a potentially immortal operatic rival
The Observer

it is perfectly articulated and sizzles with invention
The Guardian

the evening is a feather in the cap of artistic director Bill Bankes-Jones
The Stage

Read the independent evaluation of Blind Date