The Albatross

Produced by Cambridge City Opera

 

7:00pm – 7:30pm | Friday 11 August 2017

RADA Studios Theatre, 16 Chenies Street, London, WC1E 7EX

 

Early Bird Tickets (Until 19th June): £5

Advance Online: £7.50 | Door/Phone: £9.50

 

Albatrosses have circumnavigated the earth’s great oceans for millions of years, but are now facing existential crisis. Collaboration between art and science allows us to look through new eyes at these magnificent, endangered birds.

 

‘I remember the first albatross I ever saw. At intervals, it arched forth its vast archangel wings, as if to embrace some holy ark. Through its inexpressible, strange eyes, methought I peeped to secrets which took hold of God.’

 

(From Moby Dick by Hermann Melville)

 

This work-in-progress presentation is the first step in a collaboration between Cambridge City Opera, Birdlife International (http://www.birdlife.org/news/tag/albatross-task-force), and the Arts, Science and Conservation programme of Cambridge Conservation Initiative (http://www.conservation.cam.ac.uk).  Birdlife International runs the Albatross Task Force, an international effort to protect and save the albatross, which is one of the most threatened groups of birds in the world, with 15 of 22 species currently at risk of extinction.  

 

Cambridge City Opera is passionate about working across science and the arts to explore the potent, poetic impact these magnificent birds have on the human spirit, and to draw attention to the terrible plight they face.  

 

Five things you should know about the albatross:

 

1. Albatrosses can live to be 60 years old.

 

2. They reach sexual maturity around 16, and mate for life.

 

3. They can lock their wings into position and glide effortlessly on the ocean winds.

 

4. The albatross wingspan can reach up to 3.7 metres.

 

5. Albatrosses are one of the most endangered endangered bird species in the world because of fisheries bycatch, introduced predators, pollution and climate change.

 

Music | Kim Ashton

Words | Verbatim from Coleridge, Melville & other sources

Director | Sinead O’Neill

 

Featuring Christopher Ainslie, Bartosz Glowacki & Jofre Carabén van der Meer.

 

The Albatross

www.cambridgecityopera.com

 

–  –  –  –  –

 

Also on Friday 11 August 2017…

 

10:00am – 11:00am : The Good Night Opera

11:30am – 12:30pm : The Good Night Opera

7:05pm – 7:30pm : Tell One, Forget One

7:50pm – 8:50pm : The Winter’s Tale

8:15pm – 9:05pm ; A Certain Sense of Order

9:10pm – 9:50pm : ‘i’ – The Opera

Listen Now: Road Memoir: The Podcast Opera





 


Director Sinéad O’Neill: http://www.cambridgecityopera.com/people.html


Composer Kim Ashton: https://kimbashton.wordpress.com


Countertenor Christopher Ainslie: http://christopherainslie.com


Actor Jofre Carabén van der Meer no website


Accordionist Bartosz Glowacki: http://www.glowackiaccordion.com


 


This work-in-progress presentation is the first step in a collaboration between Cambridge City Opera, Birdlife International (http://www.birdlife.org/news/tag/albatross-task-force), and the Arts, Science and Conservation programme of Cambridge Conservation Initiative (http://www.conservation.cam.ac.uk).  Birdlife International runs the Albatross Task Force, an international effort to protect and save the albatross, which is one of the most threatened groups of birds in the world, with 15 of 22 species currently at risk of extinction.


 


Cambridge City Opera is passionate about working across science and the arts to explore the potent, poetic impact these magnificent birds have on the human spirit, and to draw attention to the terrible plight they face.


 


Five things you should know about the albatross (please add photographs as appropriate):


#1 Albatrosses can live to be 60 years old.


#2 They reach sexual maturity around 16, and mate for life.


#3 They can lock their wings into position and glide effortlessly on the ocean winds.


#4 The albatross wingspan can reach up to 3.7 metres.


#5 Albatrosses are one of the most endangered endangered bird species in the world because of fisheries bycatch, introduced predators, pollution and climate change.


 


Facts and photographs by Dr. Deborah Pardo, @pardo_deborah. Photograph of Albatrosses kissing by David Cook.




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The Albatross 


Cambridge City Opera 


Music: Kim Ashton


Words: from Coleridge, Melville and other sources


Director: Sinead O’Neill


Featuring: Christopher Ainslie Bartosz Glowacki Jofre Carabén van der Meer


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‘Their flight so liquid, a free-flowing series of sweeps and arcs with barely ever a flap of the wings.’ (Bruce Pearson, Troubled Water) 


This strange and beautiful creature has haunted seafarers, artists and scientists throughout the ages. Albatrosses have circumnavigated the earth’s great oceans for millions of years, but are now facing existential crisis. The Albatross uses the spare and powerful forces of countertenor, actor and accordion to evoke the otherworldliness of these magnificent, endangered birds.


 


A free adaptation of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, The Albatross combines images and ideas from the poem with scientific observations about these enigmatic, awe-inspiring birds.


 


This work in progress presentation gives the audience a glimpse into the process of creating a new opera. Director, composer and performers share some of the images, sounds and movements they have been exploring in response to Coleridge’s bright-eyed mariner and the mysterious, haunting bird he encountered.


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Cambridge City Opera The Albatross is an ongoing, collaborative project between Cambridge City Opera, Cambridge Conservation Initiative and Birdlife International.


Director Sinéad O’Neill founded Cambridge City Opera to commission and produce new opera. The first project, On the Axis of this World by Matt Rogers (first performed at Tête-à-Tête:The Opera Festival 2014) was developed in collaboration with the Scott Polar Research Institute. Ongoing work continues the musical exploration of scientific and heritage-inspired themes, including The Barrington Hippo, a new opera for children by Kate Whitley, currently being developed in collaboration with the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences.


 


Sinéad O’Neill particularly enjoys working with composers and performers to create new opera; she directed the first staged performances of David and Goliath by Sam Hogarth, And London Burned, On the Axis of this World, and The Raven, all by Matt Rogers, and Fables by Ivan Moody. With her company, Cambridge City Opera, Sinéad is currently developing The Barrington Hippo, a new opera for children by Kate Whitley. Sinéad works regularly at Glyndebourne, and this autumn she will direct the revival of Il Barbiere di Siviglia for Glyndebourne Tour.


 


Kim Ashton is a composer, conductor, teacher and gardener. Kim’s pieces have been played throughout Europe and are recorded on LSO Live, LORELT and NONCLASSICAL labels. Recent works have been performed by the LSO, Ensemble InterContemporain, OAE, Orchestra of Opera North, Orquestra Gulbenkian, and players from the Budapest Symphony Orchestra. His opera Tonseisha was performed at the 2014 Tête à Tête Opera Festival with Arts Council funding, while RPS award winner Clare Hammond is currently touring his recent piano piece Ornithology. With a PhD from King’s College London, Kim is now a visiting lecturer at Cambridge University.


 


Christopher Ainslie Christopher’s singing and stagecraft has taken him to baroque and contemporary stages around the world, from the Royal Opera House to Carnegie Hall. Recent engagements include Orfeo in Orfeo ed Euridice (Opéra de Lyon and Opéra National de Lorraine), Ottone Agrippina (Göttingen Handel Festival), David Saul (Glyndebourne Tour), Unulfo Rodelinda (Teatro Real, Madrid), Athamas Semele (Garsington), title role Joseph And 


His Brethren (London Handel Festival). This autumn, Chris will perform the title role in Handel’s Giulio Cesare (English Touring Opera). Chris’s performing is strongly influenced by an active and varied life off the stage, which includes numerous water and mountain sports, as well as the introspective world of meditation and yoga.


 


Jofre Carabén van der Meer is a performer, theatre maker and writer originally from Barcelona. After studying Art History at the University of Barcelona and training at École Jacques Lecoq in Paris, he worked for numerous companies in Barcelona, Paris and London (Metros Dansa, Agrupación Señor Serrano, Indi Gest, La Baldufa, Comediants, ENO, Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne). He has worked with renowned directors such as Terry Gilliam, Bigas Luna, Annabel Arden, David McVicar, Joan Font and Jos Houben. As a resident artist at the Battersea Arts Centre, Jofre co-wrote and devised work for young audiences. He is a member and co-founder of Parisian theatre company Decay Unlimited, with which he has created two shows that toured across Europe. Jofre was Artistic Director of El Plata Cabaret in Zaragoza for two years, and has performed for shows on Catalan National Television and appeared on film with Spanish Movie.


 


Bartosz Glowacki is one of the leading lights of a new generation of accordionists. In 2017, he graduated from The Royal Academy of Music with distinction. He very active both as a soloist and chamber musician. Bartosz won the Polish Young Musician of the Year in 2009, following which he represented Poland in the Eurovision Young Musicians Competition in Vienna. His debut solo album will be realised in early 2018, featuring composers such as Luciano Berio, Sofia Gubaidulina, Laurence Osborn, J.S. Bach and Cesar Franck.


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With thanks to: 


John Fanshawe (Birdlife International and Cambridge Conservation Initiative) for helping develop this new collaboration.


Deborah Pardo (formerly British Antarctic Survey) for beautiful photographs and scientific advice.


Bruce Pearson (artist and naturalist) for artistry, inspiration and information.


 


 


 


 


 


For more information and how to book tickets visit www.tete-a-tete.org.uk or pick up a copy of the festival brochure in the foyer



 




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