Ellan Parry and Catherine Kontz are excited to return to this year’s festival with a preview of two fragments of a new experimental opera ‘Electra’, which they have created in collaboration with writer Alexia Anastasiadis. They aim to present the completed work at various site-specific locations in England, Luxembourg and elsewhere in 2009/2010. ‘Neige’ and ‘Twitching’ are two other short staged vocal works for which Kontz and Parry have joined forces.
‘Neige’ explores the beauty of the cold and the whiteness of silence, which are gradually immersed in a bath of warmer colours. A pure voice and a crystal piano draw the audience into a surreal world of snow.
‘Twitching’ – For a whistling voice and singing birdwatchers, a musical fable dealing with captivity and loss of privacy.
‘Electra’– Fragments of a new operatic work in progress, based on the classical myth. Electra is the daughter of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon, king of Mycenae. Clytemnestra murders Agamemnon and her lover seizes the throne. Electra waits many years in anger for the return to Mycenae of her younger brother Orestes, who has been in exile since early childhood, and together they exact revenge for the death of their father by murdering their mother and her lover.
First extract: Prequel; the night of Agamemnon’s murder, the servants of the Mycenaean royal house hear screams and gather to
talk among themselves. Second extract: Electra has tricked Clytemnestra into coming alone to an isolated location, where she will be murdered. As Clytemnestra approaches in the distance, Electra waits.
Neige: Véronique Nosbaum (soprano), Catherine Kontz (piano)
Twitching: Ellan Parry (soloist) with various performers
Electra: Sibylla Meienberg (Electra), Véronique Nosbaum (Clytemnestra), Tom Shorter (conductor)
Chorus: Brigitte Beraha, Sara Underwood, Melanie Sanders, Louise Adamson, Kathleen Garner, Heidi Pinder, DJ Walde, Edmund Saddington, Danny
Standing, Wasim Al-Zibari, Andrew Ballm, Philip Anastasiadis. Henri Växby (bouzouki), Allison Rosser (clarinet), violin, Candida Caldicot-Bull and Troy Banarzi (percussion)
Ellan Parry is a deviser and designer for theatre, opera, dance and live art. Recent projects include Supermarket DJ (Brian/ BAC), The Pink Bedroom (Unspoken Productions), the Terror 2007 season (The Sticking Place) and Carmen (dir. Bill Bankes Jones). Previous collaborations with Catherine Kontz include Mie, Salmon Stories and The Adventures of Dead-Eye Parry and the Blindfold Cat (premiered at last year’s opera festival).
Alexia Anastasiadis is a writer and exhibiting artist. Previous projects include Shrines at the Eden Project, a residency at the Tou Scene Arts Centre in Norway, and various works with the Society of Wonders, of which she and Ellan were founder members.
Catherine Kontz (b. 1976) is a London-based composer and performer. She has recently written music for Kate Ryder, Rhodri Davies, Ebba Erikzon, Henri Växby, BJ Cole and Tongue Stuff. As part of her PhD in Composition at Goldsmiths College, University of London, she produced and directed her large-scale music theatre work, MiE, for a set of six sold-out performances at The Space, London in November 2006. Written for 8 mimes/acrobats and 39 musicians, MiE incorporates Deleuzian theories into its narrative textures and musical material, resulting in strong visual statements within the context of experimental contemporary music.
Catherine has been commissioned for new works by Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival 07, Rational Rec/London, Centre National de L’Audiovisuel/Dudelange/Luxembourg and Banque centrale du Luxembourg. She has also worked with Iris Theatre Company and written the music for an in-house production of Tom Stoppard plays at the Space, London.
As a pianist and cellist, Catherine regularly performs within the contemporary music and free improvisation scene in London with appearances at Interlace, the Music We’d Like To Hear concert series, Happenings at the Space and Musenight at Rivington Gallery. She records and performs with her band cArtridge, she is a member of ‘une cartouche’ and she has done session work for Icons of Elegance, Mika Sellens, A G Dolla, The Wedding Present and The Bays.