Saturday 6th 19.55 & Sunday 7th August, 16.55




After receiving Arts Council England funding for our Research & Development period in September 2010, with additional support from The Hardy Society and Opera North, we are delighted to be presenting the next stage of the piece’s development here at Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival. We are showing the whole of the first act and aim to stage excerpts from Act Two.


We are hoping that this adventure will enable us to find the much needed support from producers, venues, and funders that we need to bring our opera to fruition. If you have any comments about the show, think you could help, or know someone who might, then please get in touch – email us on or call Rachel Barnett on 07977 935 860.


The Withered Arm retells Thomas Hardy’s exciting, eerie story set on the wilds of Egdon Heath. The story details



The making of this video has been kindly

supported by The Boltini Trust


The Withered Arm

Composer: Jenny Gould

Librettist: Rachel Barnett

Director: Joanna Turner

Set & Costume Design: Petra Hjortsberg

Lighting: Avril Cook

Video Design: Verity Healey

Fight Director: Ronin Traynor


Rhoda: Janet Fischer

Gertrude: Lucy Roberts

Narrator/the Son: Matthew James Willis

Narrator/Farmer Lodge/Trendle: Dan Miller


Video Design: Verity Healey
Fight Director: Ronin Traynor
Stage Manager: Nadia Jasmin Nielson
Production Assistant: Daniel Marston


Jenny Gould The Nightingale and the Rose – musical adaptation of short story by Oscar Wilde, presented at Grimeborn 2008. Prince Caspian, children’s opera commissioned by Opera Brava and touring UK. Jenny is currently working on a new commission for Opera Brava for 2012. She trained at Guildhall and University of Birmingham & is Resident Composer with Young Shakespeare Company. Rachel Barnett is a playwright and a producer. She is the co-artistic director of Peut-être Theatre, whose shows have toured across the country to venues including Lyric Hammersmith, Chichester Festival Theatre and Theatre Royal, Bath. As a playwright her plays have been performed at theatres in the UK and abroad, including the Royal Court, Hampstead Theatre, Theatre 503, and Manhattan Theatre Source in New York.


Joanna Turner Revival Director at Opera North on Daniel Kramer’s Carmen. Staff/Assistant Director at WNO, Scottish Opera, Opera North, and on Rufus Wainwright’s Prima Donna at Sadler’s Wells and Toronto Luminato Festival. Own directing work includes productions at Theatre 503 and Southwark Playhouse and literary work for Liverpool Everyman and Manchester Royal Exchange. Petra Hjortsberg recently graduated from Wimbledon College of Arts BA(Hon)Theatre: Design for Performance. Recent production credits include prop making and set dressing on UK feature Magpie, costumes on Celebrity and set and costume on I Tell Stories. Upcoming projects include: Body Electric (Dublin Fringe.)


Verity Healey is a writer/ filmmaker / video designer and studied at London Film School. In October her short play I can hear the grass growing will premiere at South Hill Park Arts Centre. She is currently working on various short film and writing projects. Her work for The Withered Arm marries her love of music, literature and image.


Avril Cook graduated from the Specialist Certificate in Stage Electrics and Lighting Design at RADA. Designs include: The Lonesome West (Tabard Theatre), The Berserker Boys (Unity Theatre), The Tempest (Bridewell Theatre), Musical Futures Festival (Greenwich Theatre), Can You See Me Yet? and Nina & Shaz (Brockley Jack Theatre), Tis Pity She’s A Whore (White Bear Theatre), Return To The Forbidden Planet (Questors Theatre).


Matthew James Willis is a graduate of Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Australian credits include the musical Titanic and Tannhauser, Christmas at the House and My Fair Lady (Opera Australia). London credits include La Boheme (Soho Theatre), The Pirates of Penzance (Kilworth House Theatre) and Earl Tolloller in Sasha Regan’s All-Male Iolanthe (Wilton’s Music Hall).

Janet Fischer Canadian Soprano is enjoying a busy career singing in the UK, Europe, North America and the Far East. As an avid supporter of contemporary repertoire, Janet has created roles for ROH2, the Guardian newspaper, Tête à Tête and the Grimeborne festivals. She has performed in places ranging from the Wigmore Hall to the Manchester Metrolink, although the most unusual place she has ever found herself was 5 feet in the air, on top of a plinth, in an art gallery!


Lucy Roberts is currently studying for a Mmus Perf at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she is taught by Janice Chapman and generously supported by the Kathleen Trust. Operatic roles include Solo Bridesmaid in Freischütz (Opéra Comique, Paris); Servilia in Clemenza di Tito and Venus in Venus and Adonis (Hampstead Garden Opera). Lucy made her Wigmore Hall debut in May with a recital of newly-commissioned works for voice and chamber music ensemble.


Dan Miller studied as a cellist at the Royal College of Music. Changing to voice, he studied privately with Paul Farrington, Graham Godfrey and Sophie Grimmer; attended The Knack run by the ENO; LAMDA – in order to further his love of drama; and has just finished further studies at Trinity College of Music. At Trinity a highlight was working on Circus Tricks with Bill Bankes-Jones.