Thurs 6 & Fri 7 Aug 2009


This cycle of songs and interludes is based on some very early preparatory sketches for a new multimedia opera exploring the frailty of human memory and relationships, and the impossibility of truly understanding the one you love. The piece takes Matthew Arnold’s poem Dover Beach as a starting point for 4 songs which take the viewpoint of the recollected lover, interspersed by 3 instrumental interludes (memories) which represent the remembered life cycle of a love affair.


A scientist, devastated by the suicide of his wife, spends 10 years working to create a clone from a lock of her hair. He discovers that although he can recreate her body, he can only furnish the mind of the clone with his own memories of her.
As the couple live together anew it rapidly becomes apparent to his new bride that her mind is incomplete – full of evasions, half-truths, denial and lies – the same intolerable conditions that led to her suicide in the first place…


I – Dover Beach i, ii

II – A Memory of Spring

III – The Birth Of Venus
IV – A Memory of Summer

V – Remembering Suicide

VI – A Memory of Winter
VII – Dover Beach i, iv, v


In “A Memory of Winter” Alexander Scriabin’s Op.59 No.1 is played by Antoine Francoise

Madestrange Opera


Music & Words: Michael Oliva, Matthew Arnold
Producer: Deepak Kalha


Soprano: Rosie Coad
Alto Flute: Carla Rees
Bass clarinet: Sarah Watts
Electronics: Michael Oliva




Rosie Coad

Rosie graduated with 1st class honours from the Royal College of Music in 2008. Whilst at college, Rosie performed in several masterclasses, working, amongst others, with Sarah Walker and Jane Manning. Recent performances include Berg’s Sieben Frühe Lieder as part of the Chelsea Schubert Festival. Rosie’s recital work often includes contemporary music, and as a member of rarescale, she regularly collaborates with composers and instrumentalists to perform new works. Rosie also has a keen interest in early music, and her solo repertoire includes Monteverdi’s Vespro della Beata Virgine, Handel’s Dixit Dominus, and the role of Fausta in the modern premiere of Scarlatti’s Marco Attilio Regolo for Ensemble Serse. Her performance of Galatea (Handel’s Acis and Galatea) at the Toronto Theatre Fringe Festival 2008 received outstanding reviews.


Michael Oliva

Originally trained as a biochemist, Michael is now a composer with a fondness for writing operas and music for electronics and woodwind. As well as live laptop improvisations, regular performances with the ensemble rarescale both here and in the States, he has written well over 40 theatre scores, compositions including Into the Light for oboe/cor and piano (recorded by Paul Goodey on his CD “New Ground”), Torso for wind orchestra, and Apparition and Release for quartertone alto flute and electronics. An album of selected works for woodwind and electronics is now out on rarescale records, available through iTunes. He teaches composition at Imperial College and at the Royal College of Music, where he is Area Leader for Electroacoustic Music. Michael also runs madestrange opera, which premiered his multimedia operas Black & Blue and Midsummer at BAC in 2004 and 2005, and The Girl Who Liked to be Thrown Around at Ann Tuirean in autumn 2006. Future plans include a large scale choral work for Mosaic due in 2010 and a new opera for completion in 2012.