Saturday 8 & Sunday 9 August, 2015

Kings Place Hall 1, 90 York Way, London, N1 9AG.


The starting point for Paul Barker’s double-bill is how to do opera without a voice. Not just a singing voice, but without any voice at all. My Voice and Me is the autobiography of Oliver Curry, an English tenor who lost his voice as a result of rehearsing I Pagliacci in Naples many decades ago; it left him voiceless, unable to make any sound. He tells the story today with the aid of a synthetic voice (which sounds uncannily like Stephen Hawking) whilst simultaneously playing the piano. Oliver’s wife, soprano Maria Bovino, makes an unexpected guest appearance. Of Zoë and the Woman I Sing explores in three acts the relationship between an artist and his muse. Actress Zoë Lister is that muse whom the artist turns into an avatar, the better to control her. The avatar speaks with a unique synthetic voice developed by Toshiba Europe along with Paul Barker, modelled on Zoë, designed to emulate any human emotion. Barker has composed many operas exploring different languages and his most recent, El Gallo, is an opera for six actors and two string quartets without text. It has been performed across several continents with over 100 performances and has won several awards. His exploration of opera now returns to language but dispenses with singers and expects instrumentalists to act.

You can read more from Paul Barker on the creation of Of Zoë and the Woman I Sing here, and see more about the performances of My Voice and Me in our 2013 Festival here.




Piebald Productions

Music: Paul Barker

My Voice and Me:

Words: Chris & George Newell

With Oliver Curry & soprano, Maria Bovino

Oliver Curry, renowned operatic tenor, tells how he lost his voice, which he cannot do as he does not have one.

Of Zoë and the Woman I Sing

Actress Zoë Lister, her avatar and Paul Barker, piano

Actor Zoë Lister and Paul Barker helped Toshiba Research Europe (Cambridge) create the Xpressive Talk (TM), an emotional avatar. Of Zoe and The Woman I Sing confronts the actress with her avatar as the artist’s muse.