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Great Expectations

11 & 12 May 2012 7.30pm
Britten Theatre
Royal College of Music
Prince Consort Road
London SW7 2BS

Tickets: £8
Available from the RCM Box Office: BOOK NOW!
020 7591 4314
Tickets on sale from Friday 13 April.


A series of short operas created and performed by RCM composers and performers

Bill Bankes-Jones director
Gerry Cornelius conductor
Ellan Parry designer

I remember the ship

Jude Obermüller music Genevieve Dawson words
In the wreckage they cried, splintered and frozen, as the dead sank down, to the darkness beneath them… I remember the ship… In a hospital bed in Canada, James is tangled up in his sheets, forever trying to save his son David from the dark water below… Who will save James from the demons of the deep? Can he ever escape the tolling bells of the Titanic? The truth is hidden somewhere between a dream and a memory…

Gary of the Antarctic

Edward Bell music & words
Meet Gary Scott: charming young chap, eager to make his mark on the world. But today he’s out of luck: he’s just been fired from his dream job. He’s desperate to bounce back, and as a descendant of polar explorer Robert Falcon Scott, for Gary there’s only one sensible course of action: get his gear on and head for the South Pole. Little does he know he’ll get much more than he bargained for…

Lie Down and Stay

Michael Shearer music Claire Frewin words
She sits in a room, waiting. She doesn’t know what for. She is cold and yet burning. Suddenly a man comes into the room. They embrace, and we assume that they are lovers. But then all our assumptions about their relationship are dramatically challenged…

White Star

Chris Roe music Alex Knox words
Did the high risk strategy of the owners of the White Star Line contribute to the sinking of the Titanic? How does this relate to the modern-day banking crisis? This surreal work revolves around a high stakes card game involving Ms Ismay, the ruthless boss of the “White Star Bank”, her junior, and her secretary Emma. Why is the banker so insistent on a high risk strategy, and so indifferent to the consequences? Will Emma be able to stop these risks being taken…?

Una tragedia di proporzione titaniche

Laurence Osborn music Theo Merz words
Poseidon delivers a prologue, telling us of the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. On board one of the lifeboats are three wealthy men, all of whom have disguised themselves as the woman they love in order to save themselves. With them is a lower middle class seamstress from Liverpool, who becomes deeply suspicious of the three unusual “women” that are keeping her company. She is right to be alarmed…


Louis d’Heudieres music Huw Crowley words
Three extremely ill patients lie in the sick bay of a cruise ship. One of them thinks he has vanquished death. One of them is in denial about his illness. One of them is a mother who misses her kids. A dark and comic tale about survival, selfishness and coming to terms with mortality.

RCM composers and librettists were set the challenge of creating 15-minute operas exploring two ill-fated fateful journeys of 1912 that started out with “great expectations” but ended in disaster at opposite ends of the world: the maiden voyage of the Titanic, and Scott’s expedition to the South Pole. One hundred years on, how does an internet generation come to terms with events more sharply defined by Hollywood rather than by a clear articulation of British history?

Tête à Tête Artistic Director Bill Bankes-Jones directs the project, bringing a wealth of creative insight and experience to each operatic encounter. At the heart of the creative process is the desire for RCM composers, singers and instrumentalists to collaborate, trying to fulfil their own great expectations while pushing artistic and technical assumptions.

Produced by the Royal College of Music in association with Tête à Tête.