Opera with a Title
The Music Troupe
Thursday 6 & Friday 7 August, 2015
Kings Place Hall 2, 90 York Way, London, N1 9AG.
The script for OPERA WITH A TITLE has been extracted and freely arranged from two plays by Lorca,El publico and Comedia sin título; they are considered ‘impossible’ plays, an experimental theatre of the imagination and of the sub-‐conscious, and both are incomplete. In several ways, the two plays are connected and constitute a search for a new form of theatrical expression; like many works of the period, they also call for a new morality of personal freedom. Both examine the nature of illusion and reality, confusingactors inside and outside their roles with audience members inside and outside the ‘play’. This androgyny is mirrored inthe relationships between some of the characters, with The Audience in particular containing episodes of homoeroticism. Both works also feature the character of Director/Author/Playwright/Impresario revealing the pre-‐occupations of Lorca himself who directed a national touring company in the years of the Socialist government.
“…our identity is an ongoing performance…” (Grayson Perry)
This surrealist opera concerns a troupe of actors in the time of the Spanish Civil War. What the actors areplaying, and what is happening to them in the real world, is confused: they bring their fantasies to bear on their performances while their characters invade their own personalities. Thus, role-‐play and questions of gender are examined, each from the other’s viewpoint, as well as the nature of theatre and its relevance to everyday life.
A performance of Romeo and Juliet has just taken place. The Spector (bass) is offended by the portrayal of Juliet by a male. Federico, the Director (mezzo-‐soprano) defends his desire to re-‐invent the theatre and portray the realities of the world outside. A rehearsal gets underway, featuring characters from Shakespeare; Sofia, the company soprano plays Puck who’s in love with Oberon, played by the tenor, José. They argue, however, and the latter falls for the Spectator who invades the stage and joins in the love-‐making as Julius Caesar. Meanwhile, Manuel (baritone), a stagehand, declares his love for the Director who is threatening to give up the theatre. His passionate protestations are not reciprocated and, wearing an ass’s head, he sings a Spanish ballad about
the qualities of masks. Shots are heard and news arrives that a revolution has broken out; the troops are heading their way. For the Director, it is time to bring the theatre crumbling down. Sofia fears for the safety of her children. José is for the rebels, while the Spectator is revealed as a fascist. Manuel re-‐starts his song and, as tensions rise, the Spectator gets out his pistol. He is about to shoot at José but the Director steps between them and is killed. The theatre is bombed and all is dark. Sofia as Juliet welcomes the Three Wizards on White Horses into her tomb-‐like bed but, tired of their romantic serenading, insists on taking the lead; this erotic scene evaporates at dawn. As the dust settles and daylight returns, Manuel, José and the Spectator reflect on what the drama has achieved. Sofia emerges from her tomb in a blaze of glory and the Director flies down from heaven. Now the audience can enter.
The opera is sung in English and Spanish.
Music: Edward Lambert
Words: Edward Lambert, after Federico Garcia Lorca
Director: David Edwards
Designer: Yulia Shtern
Musical Director: Ed Spanjaard
Sofia: Peyee Chen
José: Daniel Joy
Manuel: James Schouten
The Director: Laura Kelly-‐McInroy
The Spectator: Christopher Foster
Horn: Daniel de Souza
Violin: Ariel Lang
Cello: Lydia Hillerudh
Keyboard: Edward Lambert
Peyee Chen has appeared with the Gavin Bryars Ensemble, Adelaide Festival, Club Transmediale Festival, Lucerne Festival conducted by Sir Simon Rattle and starring Barbara Hannigan, The Light Show as part of Southbank Centre’s Harmonic Series, and in world premieres at Spitalfields Festival, GEMdays and the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.
Laura Kelly-‐McInroy has sung for ENO, ETO, Diva Opera and Opera North among others. Roles include Rosina, Third Boy and Second Lady, Cherubino, Olga, Alisa, Hansel, Siebel, Juno, Nancy, Jenny (Die Dreigroschenoper) and the Doctor in the world premiere of Kommilitonen by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.
Daniel Joy has worked for opera companies including Glyndebourne, Garsington, Grange Park, Opera North and Scottish Opera. Recent concert performances include Verdi’s Requiem with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall.
James Schouten has sung Demetrius, Angelotti, Harlekin, Papageno, Escamillo, Figaro, Don Giovanni, Marcello and Eisenstein. Outside of opera, James is involved with several rock and cross-‐over projects as an orchestrator, musical director and performer.
Christopher Foster has performed throughout Europe with renowned orchestras and conductors. Operatic roles include Sarastro, Traveller Curlew River, Kawabata in the UK premiere of Glass’ Hotel of Dreams, Arthur in Sir Pater Maxwell Davies’ The Lighthouse, Moroz The Snow Maiden, Father Laurence and Raimondo.
Daniel de Souza is studying on the Guildhall Masters program. Solo appearances include Mozart’s 3rd Horn Concerto, conducted by Nicholas Kraemer (Amade Players). Daniel has a busy freelance career as an orchestral player with groups including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, with whom he has recently toured to Switzerland and Dubai.
Lydia Hillerudh was awarded this year’s Sir John Barbirolli Memorial Prize at the Royal Academy of Music. She has played in Stockholm’s major venues, with the Tritium Trio, and performed recently at St James Piccadilly and Colston Hall.
Edward Lambert has written the operas Caedmon (Donmar Warehouse, London International Opera Festival), The Button Moulder (Royal Opera Education), All in the Mind, (W11 Opera / Britten Theatre), Six Characters in Search of a Stage (2014 Brighton Fringe and London venues) and The Catfish Conundrum (Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival 2014).
Yulia Shtern recently relocated to Europe from Canada. She possesses a BFA in Drawing and Painting from OCAD, and a Masters in Scenic Design from UBC. She was nominated for a Jessie Richardson Award for Outstanding Costume Design (2010), and won a Jessie Richardson Award for Outstanding Design Team (2011).
David Edwards works internationally as a stage director, writer and presenter collaborating with opera companies, symphony orchestras, universities and training programmes. Recent credits: Die Zauberflöte (Bordeaux), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Portland), La Rondine (Arezzo), Les Contes d’Hoffmann (the U.K. and Europe) and The Merry Widow (Singapore).
Ed Spanjaard conducts Nieuw Ensemble (Amsterdam). A regular guest of the Concertgebouw Orchestra, Dutch Radio and the Netherlands Chamber Choir, he has also appeared with Staatskapelle Weimar, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Opéra de Lyon, Ensemble InterContemporain, Ensemble Modern, KlangForum Wien, Münchner Philharmoniker and Nationale Reisopera (a complete Ring).
The Music Troupe was formed in 2013, with the aim to create a repertory of genuine chamber operas in which the music and drama are tailored (not trimmed) to small spaces. www.musictroupe.co.uk