they came back

Gildon & Ward


Saturday 26 & Sunday 27 July, 2014

Studio Central Saint Martins



This twenty minute excerpt is the first phase in the development of THEY CAME BACK. The full opera will have a cast of five or six singers and will tell the story of a handful of normal people – diverse citizens of planet Earth – struggling with their hopes, fears, doubts and beliefs as they digest, witness and experience (at first-­‐hand) a series of remarkable events. For Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival 2014, we will be making an initial foray into the story of The Journalist, a flawed everyman – simultaneously struggling with the demons of his past and the veil of misinformation and speculation that clouds his present – on a quest to uncover the truth behind the Visitations.


As well as a live performer singing the role of the Journalist, the opera features a through-­‐composed electronic music score which fuses elements of contemporary opera, synth, glitch and cinematica with found and created sound, and pre-­‐recorded text and song.



It is the near future and the world is in the grip of a compelling, supernatural phenomenon. In small but ever growing numbers, the deceased are returning, making brief visitations to their living loved ones.


What many see as a great unifying human experience – touching every member of the World’s population equally – others seek to use as a divisive tool. Desperate politicians struggle to maintain control in the face of this new, greater power. Peaceful gatherings have evolved into riots; religious marches have resulted in massacres; the news is awash with stories of mass-­‐suicide, while the World’s economies are in turmoil – as people give up on the stable lives they thought they knew and embrace this strange reality.


The Visited are an anointed, chosen few, whilst the majority hope and pray to see their loved ones again, to receive a message, to have a place in the hierarchy of this new world order.



they came back

Music & Words: Martin Ward

Consultant Director: Emma Bernard

Video Design: Lou Palmer

Baritone: Robert Gildon


Martin Ward is the composer of Olivier Award winning The Wind in the Willows and Fringe First nominated chamber opera Dr Quimpugh’s Compendium of Peculiar Afflictions (Petersham Playhouse). Other credits include: Pinocchio, Faeries and Timecode (Royal Opera House), Skitterbang Island (Little Angel and Polka theatres), Canterville Ghost (English National Ballet), Cinderella (Unicorn Theatre) and Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland (Polka Theatre).


Emma Bernard (Director). Recent projects include: Peter Grimes (Beijing Music Festival, conducted by Duncan Ward), Drawing Life (Jewish Music Institute) and Hearing Voices (BBC Concert Orchestra) – both by Jocelyn Pook, Jonathan Baker’s Upon This Rock (Metal, Peterborough), 100% Norfolk (NNF, Norwich Theatre Royal), and Jilted (Flam Productions). Emma regularly collaborates with composer Orlando Gough, and has directed four major projects for Streetwise Opera, including their 10th anniversary film and live opera: The Answer To Everything.


Lou Palmer began her career in theatrical lighting at The Queens Theatre (Shaftesbury Avenue), before turning to Creative Direction in the digital arts. She works across multi-­‐media environments in illustration, graphic art and video, as well as having an established career and number of releases as a singer and composer/lyricist.


Baritone Robert Gildon studied at Manhattan School of Music, Tanglewood/Aspen Music Festivals and Britten Pears School (Aldeburgh). Work includes: Aeneas (Bruges Early Music Festival), Dr Quimpugh Dr Quimpugh Compendium of Peculiar Afflictions (Edinburgh/London), Lord Cecil The Cumnor Affair (Tête à Tête), workshops on Raskatov’s A Dog’s Heart (Complicite), Starvelling A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Garsington Opera), Compere The Answer to Everything (Streetwise Opera), Head Fox Outfoxed (Royal Festival Hall), Captain Corcoran (D’Oyly Carte), Atalanta (Cambridge Handel Opera), Journalist Man on the Moon (Channel 4) and Dave Brubeck’s cantata La fiesta e la posada (LSO/Barbican Centre)