Sunday 22nd August, 19.30 Tête à Tête


A Pebble in the Pond


Music: Michael Zev Gordon


Words: Eva Hoffman


A kaleidoscopic meditation on the processes and emotions of memory, an English Jew looks back to his time in Poland in 1968, elsewhere and else when. This work is a concert version commissioned for the Cheltenham Festival 2009 of a radio-phonic work, first broadcast on Radio 3 in 2004, which won the Prix Italia for best musical composition for radio the same year.


Icarus – Extract


Music: Michael Zev Gordon


Libretto: Stephen Plaice


This extract is from a new opera-in-progress: part of the scene in which Daedulus instructs his son Icarus in the techniques and perils of flight. Daedulus’s experience contrasts with Icarus’s innocence.


Discussion for this work between composer and librettist goes back a number of years. This performance marks the first step to full realisation of the idea.







A Pebble in the Pond
Music: Michael Zev Gordon


Words: Eva Hoffman


Icarus – Extract
Music: Michael Zev Gordon


Libretto: Stephen Plaice


Music: Michael Zev Gordon


Pebble in the Pond Words: Eva Hoffman

Soprano: Katherine Bond

Violin: Marcus Barcham-Stevens

Icarus Words: Stephen Plaice

Bass-Baritone: Mark Richardson

Bass: Elena Hull

Director: Bill Bankes-Jones

Narrator: Richard Suart

Clarinet: Stuart King

Music Director: Tim Murray

Accordion: Ian Watson

Designer: Ellan Parry

Piano: Huw Watkins

Stage Manager: Sarah Tryfan


Repetiteur: John-Paul Gandy






Bill Bankes-Jones is founder and Artistic Director of Tête à Tête. He has championed new audiences for new opera, and directed all of the company’s productions to date. He has worked for the ENO, the National Theatre, the RSC, t he Royal Opera and the Salzburg Festivals. Recent engagements include Iford, Trinity College, Blackheath Halls, Oxford Shakespeare Company and the Classical Opera Company.



Katherine Bond is a soprano, graduated from Cardiff University with First Class Honours and from the Royal Academy of Music with a DipRAM. Her work has included roles with Opera Holland Park, Garsington Opera and Buxton Festival Opera as well as performances at the Wigmore Hall, St John’s Smith Square and on Radio 3’s ‘In Tune’. She also loves walking and sailing!


John-Paul Gandy has worked with such diverse artists and companies as the Rambert Dance Company, Royal Opera House, English National Opera, Almeida Opera, BBC Singers, the acclaimed music-theatre group The Clod Ensemble, accordion virtuoso Luke Daniels, jazz singers/instrumentalists Barb Jungr, Viv Corringham, Alec Dankworth, Ben Castle & Brian Abrahams and rock legends Mark E. Smith (‘The Fall’) & Damo Suzuki (ex-Can).


Eva Hoffman grew up in Cracow, Poland, where she studied piano at the Cracow School of music, before emigrating in her teens to Canada and then the United States. After receiving her PhD in English and American literature from Harvard University, she worked as senior editor at The New York Times, serving for a while as one of its main literary critics. She has taught literature and creative writing at various universities, and has written and lectured internationally on issues of exile, memory, Polish-Jewish history, politics and culture. Her books include Lost in Translation, After Such Knowledge and Time as well as two novels, The Secret and Appassionata. She is the recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship and an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Kosciuszko Foundation award for Shtetl, and the Prix Italia for radio.


Tim Murray For Tête à Tête: The Cumnor Affair, Blind Date, Push! and Odysseus Unwound. For The Royal Opera: The Soldier’s Tale


(Japan), The Enchanted Pig, The Gentle Giant, Pinocchio, and The Wind in the Willows. Elsewhere: Fantastic Mr. Fox (Holland Park),


La Bohème (Co-Opera Company), and Rambert Dance Company. In concert: Philharmonia, BBC Concert Orchestra, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland and BBC Singers.


Ellan Parry Previous collaborations with Bill Bankes-Jones include Les Dialogues Des Carmelites, Albert Herring and Carmen. Ellan and Catherine Kontz opened the first Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival with Purblind in Hammersmith (in which the Telegraph described her whistling as ‘virtuosic’). Recent work includes Electric Hotel, Plucker, Katy Brand’s Big Ass Show Live, a community production of The Magic Flute at Glyndebourne, and visuals for indie-rock band Placebo’s recent tour.




Stephen Plaice’s libretto for Richard Taylor’s opera Confucius Says won a Royal Philharmonic Award in 2008. His most recent opera with Taylor, Ludd and Isis, commissioned for the opening of the new ROH Production Park, will be premiered in December 2010. He was Harrison Birtwistle’s librettist for The Io Passion in 2004, and for Angelfighter an oratorio premiered at this year’s Bach Festival in Leipzig.


Mark Richardson trained at the Royal Northern College of Music. After performing many roles for ENO as a principal artist Mark has gone on to sing for many opera companies including Geneva, Covent Garden. La Scala, Turin, Opera de Paris. He also has kept performing contact with the opera festivals of Buxton Longborough and of course Tête à Tête.


Richard Suart    – work with Tête à Tête – Salad Days (Riverside):       recent    performances After Life by Michel van der Aa


(Netherlands Opera, Lyon and London): The Lovely Ladies (Peter Cowdrey) at Christies, and La Cenerentola at Iford; future plans include Candide at the Hollywood Bowl; The Duenna – English Touring Opera; G&S Gala Concerts Vancouver and The Mikado at ENO –


Sarah Tryfan graduated from RADA in 2001. Recent opera includes: Semele (Royal Academy Opera), Falstaff, Norma, Capriccio (Grange Park Opera). Recent theatre includes: The Arsonists, The Ugly One, The Stone, Over There (Royal Court), Stephen and the Sexy Partridge (Trafalgar Studios), A Life in Three Acts (Traverse), Miss Lilly Gets Boned (Finborough Theatre).


Michael Zev Gordon has written for a wide variety of forces, premieres this year including Allele for 40 voices and Mandelstam Settings for mezzo-soprano and piano. His The Impermanence of Things for piano, ensemble and electronics, a London Sinfonietta commission, was shortlisted for this year’s Royal Philharmonic Society awards; the radio version of A Pebble in the Pond won a Prix Italia in 2004.


CHROMA Founded in 1997, CHROMA has become most closely associated with the performance of contemporary music, participation/learning activity and working across different art forms. It has forged close links with many British composers ,

performing companies and conservatoires through various premières and collaborations. It has been the associate ensemble for Tête à Tête since 2006.


Marcus Barcham-Stevens has played with CHROMA for over 10 years. He has performed as a chamber musician at the Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall New York, and plays in recital with his wife, pianist Christina Lawrie. He has guest -led Ensemble Modern, the CBSO and RLPO. Next year he will be a composition fellow at the Guildhall School of Music.


Elena Hull After four years at the Yehudi Menuhin School, she completed her undergraduate studies as a full scholar at the Royal College of Music. She is now a successful freelance player and part of a very wide range of musical undertakings ranging from Baroque to Modern music. She is a member of CHROMA and guest principal bass with the Trondheim Symphony and Trondheim Soloists this season.


Stuart King enjoys a vibrant career that embraces many different art forms: contemporary classical music, dance, fine