Thursday 2nd & Friday 3rd August, 20.10-20.40
ignite @ sounds of the engine house
Mortal and mythological worlds collide; Hera’s List explores a dejected man’s struggle for independence, despite chaotic interference from Greek Goddess Hera with her whimsical list of goddesses.
A witty and fast-paced libretto and a mischievous and vibrant musical score combine to tell a compelling and pertinent story of love, jealousy and control.
Exploring themes from ‘Cinderella’ and inspired by Edwin Morgan’s vivid and witty ‘An Alphabet of Goddesses’, Hera’s List juxtaposes the mythological constraints of goddesses with the freedom of mortals. Born at Lake District Summer Music, Hera’s List grew alongside a blossoming relationship with University of York Opera Society and was premièred by Sounds of the Engine House in Manchester ’11, directed by Rebecca Lea. Ignite pushes the theatrical role of the musicians in an innovative revised production.
On the heights of Mount Olympus dwell three goddesses: Hera, Hestia and Demeter. All are tired of the constraints imposed by their ancient myths. Whilst idly observing earth they encounter Ashdon, a grief-stricken mortal. Hera decides to play a game and orders Demeter’s daughter Kore to seduce him. It seems that Hera has forgotten her myths: Kore must spend six months of each year in the Underworld with her husband Hades. Nevertheless Kore begins to charm Ashdon until Hades inevitably summons her.
Hera, enraged and determined to continue her game, dispatches a string of goddesses, all vying unsuccessfully for Ashdon’s heart, before sending Terpsichore, Goddess of Dance, who makes some progress despite only caring about her dancing.
Meanwhile Kore’s mother Demeter vows to stop Hera’s dangerous game. She enlists the help of Hecate, Goddess of Witchcraft, who tries to bewitch Terpsichore’s music. Repelled by Terpsichore’s passionate independence, Hecate’s ‘necromantic’ spells hit Ashdon and he becomes aware of his pitiful situation, a pawn to the whims of these goddesses.
Hades summons Hecate back to the Underworld and the panic subsides. Ashdon reasserts his independence as a mortal, leaving the goddesses to return to the tedium of Mount Olympus.
Music & Words: Eve Harrison
Ashdon: Sam Lea
Hera: Lisa Coates
Hestia: Rachel Gilmore
Demeter/Aphrodite/Xenaea: Catrin Woodruff
Kore/Bacchae: Fiona Constantine
Terpsichore/Jocasta: Caroline Challis
Hecate/Pasiphaë/Fortuna: Helena Culliney
Flute/Piccolo: Àine Lambert
Clarinet: Hannah McCabe
French Horn: Helen Beauchamp
Harp: Rosanna Moore
Percussion: Trevor Bartlett
Violin: Hannah Padmore
Cello: Marta Tobar
Sam Lea alongside contemporary music theatre performances, Sam also works in Theatre in Education and Sound Design. Lisa Coates has a flair for the dramatic – from transvestites to goddesses; she’ll play them all: www.lisajcoates.com
Rachel Gilmore trained in voice at the RNCM and in Germany, and enjoys a musically eclectic troubadour existence.
Catrin Woodruff studies voice at the RNCM, and has a particular penchant for playing goddesses.
Fiona Constantine’s recent work includes the UK Premiere of Narcissus and Echo (1st Nymph), and The Magic Flute (Director). Caroline Challis / wrote you this haiku so you’d / Visit her website: / www.carolinechallis.tumblr.com
Helena Culliney Ex-Fairy Queen / Duchess of Plaza-Toro and generally ugly old bat returns to contemporary music. Yay!
Eve Harrison “A sensitive and refined imagination”: Eve’s compositions, supported by various trust funds and competitions, feature in Michael Hall’s forthcoming book on British Music Theatre. John Casken and Anthony Gilbert supervised her MusB (Hons) and MMus (Merit) at the University of Manchester and RNCM respectively. This year Eve enjoys a première by the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland and, thanks to PRSF Women Make Music, a commission by Phoenix Clarinet Quartet, in collaboration with vocal sculptor Jason Singh. A passionate and experienced educator, Eve leads workshops for Opera North, RNCM and Manchester Camerata. Eve is co-director of Ignite Music Theatre. www.eveharrison.co.uk
James Whittle is a composer, cellist and conductor completing a Masters in Music by Research (Composition) at the University of York, supervised by Prof. Roger Marsh and funded by the AHRC. Interested in theatre, physicality and satire, he specialises in creating works where the visual is as important as the aural, often devised collaboratively with performers. James is co-director of Ignite Music Theatre. www.james-whittle.co.uk