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The Cumnor Affair (2008)


Tête à Tête commissioned a tremendous first-time collaboration between best-selling novelist Iain Pears (An Instance of the Fingerpost) and virtuoso composer Philip Cashian to create a cliff-hanger of an operatic murder mystery.

If she screamed, did anyone one hear? If she was murdered, was there a witness? If she fell, why did it kill her? If she was pushed, who made it happen?

On 8 September 1560, Amy Robsart was found dead at the bottom of the stairs at Cumnor Place, the bleak and basic Oxfordshire house where she was installed by her husband, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, as he cavorted in London with Queen Elizabeth I.

“I wanted to write an opera where the audience is constantly on the edge of their seats wanting to know what’s going to happen next. The Cumnor Affair is my first opera although I had the idea for the story about 10 years ago. After reading Iain Pears An Instance of the Fingerpost I thought he’d be the perfect librettist for an Elizabethan murder mystery and was thrilled when he agreed to write the words.” Philip Cashian

The Company:
Amy Robsart: Amy Carson
Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester: Andrew Rees
Cecil: Robert Gildon
Walsingham: Roderick Earle
Toby: Damian Thantrey
Catherine: Phyllis Cannan

Conductor: Tim Murray
Director: Bill Bankes-Jones
Ensemble: Chroma
Lighting Designer: Mark Doubleday
Designer: Tim Meacock

Performances took place in 2008 at the Riverside Studios, London on November 10, 12, 14, 15, 16

Guardian review CLICK HERE

The Times review CLICK HERE

This is London review CLICK HERE

Read the independent evaluation of The Cumnor Affair