rough for opera #6

In Flagrante: programme notes and biogs

In Flagrante Songs of Orpheus and Bacchus Kate Whitley (music) Ian Burrows (libretto) Rosalind Parker (director) Jorge Colorado (Orpheus) Christopher Dollins (Bacchus) Raphaela Papadakis (Xantippe) Maud Millar (Diotima) Nicolas Simeha (Hippocrates) Kate Whitley (piano) PROGRAMME NOTE In Flagrante Songs of Orpheus and Bacchus in flagrante delicto: origin L., ‘in the heat of the crime’ (lit. ‘in blazing crime’). In Flagrante was suggested by Ian Christians, the owner of ‘Orpheus and Bacchus Experiences’. Orpheus and Bacchus are not overtly linked in existing mythology beyond Ovid’s take on the death of Orpheus, where he’s ripped apart by snubbed women at a bacchic orgy: ‘restraint had fled and the spirit of madness reigned. Orpheus’ singing could well have weakened their shots, but cacophony won.’ Over a number of drinks composer, librettist and director spoke with increasing fervour and affection about the process of putting yourself back together the day after the night before. In Flagrante is, we hope, a celebration of that giddy ascent from hangover and ‘never again’ to being drunk once more, making the same mistakes as before but this time making them better. BIOGS IAN BURROWS (Librettist) Prior to Orpheus and Bacchus Ian Burrows’s dramatic works have included “A Perfect Likeness’ (performed at Hampstead Theatre as part of its StartNight initiative) and a version of Faustus set with multiple scripts in a call-centre, “The Favoured One”, which was given a week-long run at Shunt. In 2005 he co-founded the Miscellaneous Theatre Festival, and is one of the current editors of Gadabout Press, an online journal devoted to works in progress, readings and responses. He is also currently working on another libretto, “The Silents”. CHRISTOPHER DOLLINS (Bacchus) Christopher read music at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where he was also a choral scholar, and is currently studying with Glenville Hargreaves at the Royal Academy of Music. Since leaving Cambridge, where he performed extensively with the Cambridge New Music Ensemble, he has retained an interest in contemporary music, recent performances of which include Alexander Goehr’s Broken Psalm, John Hopkins’ Cantata at the Michaelhouse Festival, Oliver Rudland’s Yorkshire Songs in West Road Concert Hall, the world premiere of Ivan Moody’s Fables de la Fontaine with Fitzwilliam Chamber Opera, and performances of the song cycle The Beauty of Sexuality at the King’s Head Theatre. Solo work has included, Bach’s Cantata 140 Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, Berlioz L’enfance du Christ, Mozart’s Requiem, Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle, Handel’s Israel in Egypt at Bristol Cathedral, Bach Magnificat and St John Passion at St-Martin-in-the-Fields, and Handel’s Messiah at St. Edmundsbury Cathedral. Christopher’s operatic roles have included Golaud (Pelléas et Mélisande) Jonathan (Siren Song) Nick Shadow (The Rake’s Progress), Uberto (La Serva Padrona) and, most recently the role of Mr Gedge in Shadwell Opera’s production of Albert Herring at Opera Holland Park. JORGE NAVARRO COLORADO (Orpheus) recently graduated from the Opera Course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, under David Pollard, and is a Britten-Pears alumnus and a Samling Scholar. Jorge has sung Gastone/Giuseppe La Traviata with Scottish Opera, bandit/Footman Don Quichotte by Massenet at Queen Elizabeth Hall with Chelsea Opera Group, Chorus The Fairy Queen at Glyndebourne with Lawrence Cummings, Flute Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Barbican Theatre), Simon Stimson Rorem’s Our Town (Europe Premiere) and Spärlich in Nicolai’s Die Lustigen Weiber von Windsor at GSMD, Tamino The Magic Flute with Co-Opera Co., Eustazio (cover) Rossini’s Armida with Garsington Opera, Aminta Oliver/Peri’s Euridice and Florville (cover) Rossini’s Il Signor Bruschino with British Youth Opera, Alberto Rossini’s L’occasione fa il ladro with Minotaur Music Theatre, Theiere/Arithmetic/Rainette Ravel’s L’Enfant et les sortileges, and Tapiocca Chabrier’s L’Etoile at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Jorge has sung as a soloist in many Oratorios (Mozart’s Requiem with CBSO at Birmingham Symphony Hall, St. John Passion at Saint John’s Smith Square and Handel’s Messiah with LFO amongst others), and recitals in Italy, Spain and U.K., in venues like the Barbican Hall and LSO St Luke’s, London. Awards include the Manning Tenor Prize 2008, Monmouth Choral Society Prize 2009, the Garsington Chorus Award 2010 , finalist in the Oxford Lieder Competition 2012 and semifinalist in the Handel Competition 2013. In the summer 2013, Jorge will return to the Glyndebourne Chorus and will also cover a role in Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie with William Christie. MAUD MILLAR (Diotima) is a graduate of Clare College, Cambridge, where she held a choral scholarship, and is currently studying with Susan McCulloch at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Maud is becoming recognised as an exponent of contemporary music; in 2013, she was engaged by the LSO to sing Thomas Adès’ Five Eliot Landscapes under the composer himself, and made her BBC Radio 3 debut in January 2013 singing Oliver Knussen’s Trumpets with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Operatic roles include Tytania/ A Midsummer Nights Dream (Shadwell Opera), Susanna/ Le Nozze di Figaro (Arch Productions), Miss Wordsworth/Albert Herring (Shadwell Opera), Fiordiligi/Cosi Fan Tutte (Hampstead Garden Opera) and Nella/Gianni Schicchi (Opera Holland Park). Plans for 2013 include Gretel/ Hansel and Gretel for Sinfonia D’Amici and La Cugina/ Madama Butterfly for Opera Holland Park. Also at Opera Holland Park, Maud will create the role of Bottle in the world premiere of Will Todd’s Alice in Wonderland. RAPHAELA PAPADAKIS (Xantippe) is currently studying with Janice Chapman on the Opera Course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, generously supported by JM Finn & Co, the EM Behrens Charitable Trust, the Williams Gibbs Trust, and a Postgraduate Performance Award administered by the Musician’s Benevolent Fund. Her roles at Guildhall have included Susanna in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Aurore in Massenet’s Le portrait du Manon, Tytania (cover) in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and excerpts from Don Giovanni, Tamerlano, Flight, Der Rosenkavalier, Le nozze di Figaro, and La finta giardiniera. In November 2012 she performed as Gretel in a suite of extracts from Hänsel und Gretel with by the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra in the Barbican Concert Hall, under the baton of Sir Colin Davis. Plans for 2012/13 include Haydn’s The Creation with Stephen Cleobury, Pierrot Lunaire at Sutton House, London, and performances in the London Handel Festival and the York Early Music Festival. ROSALIND PARKER (Director) Rosalind has directed Projects at Birmingham REP, MAC, Cambridge Arts Theatre, The Kings Head, The Cockpit, is the Artistic Director of Ardente Opera, Go opera! and Rough Magicke Productions. As the Artistic Director of Ulfah Productions, she Directed the world premiere of Hakawaityyah on its UK, Copenhagen and Kosovo tours. Current projects Cosi Fan Tutte (Sinfonia D’Amici, Director 2013), Lionboy – Theatre du Complicite (AD, 2013), Turn of the Screw (Ardente Opera, Director, 2013), Mystery Plays (Rough Magicke, Director, 2012). Most recent directing credits include; Don Giovanni (Sinfonia D’Amici, Director, 2012) La Boheme (WNO, AD, 2012), La Traviata (Go Opera, Director, 2011). NICOLAS SIMEHA (Hippocrates) Born in Paris in 1983, Nicolas first played the violin, then joined the Maitrise de Radio-France . He trained as a baritone in Dijon, Paris, and completed his Masters in Musical Performance at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Nicolas is a versatile performer active in many fields. In Opera, he has worked with Opera Holland Park, the BBC Symphonic Orchestra, Sinfonia d’Amici, and has sang roles such as Don Giovanni, Count Almaviva, Figaro, Guglielmo, and Barbe-bleue. In Contemporary music he is a member of the multidisciplinary company Elastic Theater premiering Ivan Hussey’s operas Baroque Box and Julius, collaborated with the Dancer Darren Ellis premiering Evangelia Rigaki’s solo for baritone, appeared as the first bad robber in Judith Weir’s Vanishing Bridegroom with the BBC Symphonic Orchestra, and sang with a computer for Oded Ben Tal. Nicolas is performing The Power of Theatrical Madness by Jan Fabre around the world. He is a member of Fabre’s company Troubleyn. Nicolas has also performed for the Oxford Lieder Festival,in Opera galas in Malaysia, on tour with Richard Alston Dance Company singing Dichterliebe. The performance artist Lise Lendais has imagined portraits of Nicolas that he performed in the gallery Schleifmühlgasse 12/14, Vienna. He also models for the photographer Romain Leblanc. KATE WHITLEY (Composer), aged 23, graduated from Cambridge in 2011 with a double First in Music and MPhil in Composition. Her work has been described as “the most exciting development in classical music in decades, if not centuries” (THE TIMES). She has written 3 chamber operas to date; Bonesong, premiered in Cambridge Zoology Museum, Unknown Position, in Clare Cellar underground bar, and Terrible Lips, in a disused warehouse. All have since received subsequent performances including at the 2011 Edinburgh Fringe Festival (“compelling, disturbing and brilliant”- BroadwayBaby****), at the Marylebone Theatre as part of Second Movement’s rough for opera series, and as part of OperaUpClose’s season at the Kings Head Theatre, Islington. Her music has been performed across the UK and Europe and broadcast on BBC Radio 3, and she is the recipient of the Sky Art’s Ignition Series Futures Fund 2013 and BBC Young Composer of the Year Award 2008, and is currently on the SAM Portfolio scheme with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Her work has been funded by GFTA Arts Council England, PRS For Music Foundation, British Council Composer’s Travel Bursaries, The Holst Foundation, The Fenton Arts Trust, The Golsoncott Foundation, The RVW Trust & more.

The Doll Behind the Curtain: programme notes and biogs

The Doll Behind the Curtain (scenes, 20 mins) Amir Mahyar Tafreshipour (music) Dominic Power (libretto) after the short story of the same name by Sadegh Hedayat) Maya Sapone (director) Andy Armistead (bass) Oliver Brignall (tenor) David Jones (baritone) Barbara Walton (soprano) Ruby Aspinall (harp) Mary Dullea (piano) Amir Mahyar Tafreshipour (musical director) PROGRAMME NOTE My opera The Doll behind the Curtain is a modern operatic staged adaptation of Sadegh Hedayat’s short story of the same title. It is an intense, imaginative story of a young man’s fascination for a silent statue behind a boutique window. Captivated by her mysterious beauty, he carries the statue back to Iran, where his infatuation and inner conflict leads him to an act which will destroy his own life and the life of his fiancée who has struggled to compete with her silent rival. Since 2009 I have researched for a short operatic plot which was felicitous for staging. After consulting with different scholars I was very much intrigued by this short story which is very considerable in length and complexity, portraying sequential characters and adaptable for my chamber opera. This opera will explore the complexity of love, sexuality and intimacy from the perspective of the main character torn between tradition and modernity. The libretto and scenario is written by Dominic Power (Head of Screen Arts – National Film and Television School and a librettist for both opera and theatre). BIOGS ANDY ARMISTEAD (bass) Discovered in late 2012, while auditioning for the Bournemouth Symphony Chorus, Andy was referred by the BSC to his first teacher Lynton Atkinson. Together they have worked intensively to develop his technique and range. Just one year after his first lessons, Andy had begun studying as a post-graduate at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and is now engaged in several professional projects alongside that study, recently playing Osmin in Die Entführung aus dem Serail and soon to play Il Commendatore in Don Giovanni. Follow Andy’s career at OLIVER BRIGNALL (tenor) is both a singer and composer. He is currently studying for a PhD in composition at Brunel University under the supervision of Dr John Croft and Professor Peter Wiegold. He has been involved in ‘Blue Touch Paper’ with the London Sinfonietta and had music performed at the Sounds New festival. This year, he was a Britten-Pears young artist at the Aldeburgh Festival. Roles include; Mr Upfold the Mayor in Albert Herring (MWO), Mr Porcupine in The Fantastic Mr Fox (Picker) (OHP), Gastone La Traviata, Orestes La Belle Helene (Merry Opera) and covers of Monsieur Triquet Yevgeny Onegin and Frederico l’Amico Fritz (Mascagni) (OHP). He is a passionate performer of new music, most recently creating the role of Melvyn Bragg in The Francis Bacon Opera (Crowe) (Edinburgh Fringe ’12) and has appeared frequently at the ‘Grimeborn’ and ‘Tete a Tete’ opera festivals. Upcoming Concert of new English songs (Aldeburgh/Institute of Composing), …and trees would sing (Padjing) The Riot Ensemble, Harry La Fanciulla del West (OHP), Ensemble L’Orfeo (Munich Bayerische Staatsoper) and the world premier of a work commissioned specially for the 2014 Dublin Arts Festival. DAVID JONES (baritone) A baritone and actor of rare versatility, David Jones has been acclaimed in work ranging from the title role in Shakespeare’s Hamlet to Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. Recent highlights have included singing Ruprecht in a reconstruction of part of Prokofiev’s The Fiery Angel, playing Ko-Ko in a new production of The Mikado for Co-Opera Co., and singing with Dame Felicity Lott. He has a strong interest in new music and created the roles of Jamie in The Sleeper with Welsh National Youth Opera, James in These Things Happen at the Courtyard Theatre and Hilarianus in Nick Bicât’s cantata, Perpetua, at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford. Forthcoming engagements include Schubert’s Die Schöne Müllerin in Paris and London. MAYA SAPONE (director) A versatile artist with exceptional vocal flexibility and improvisational skills, opera singer Maya Sapone performs both in the UK and internationally. Creative associate and permanent member of award-winning company Elastic Theatre, Maya’s area of activity ranges from performing in operas, musicals and experimental theatre to stage directing as well as teaching. As a director she has worked extensively with people coming from a disadvantaged background using opera as a medium for positive change. Maya starred to great critical acclaim in the role of Lady Thiang in the No. 1 UK Tour of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical THE KING AND I directed by Paul Kerryson. Recent credits include the role of The Teacher in Elastic Theatre’s multi-media film project, Julius, which is currently being presented at various arts and multimedia festivals both in the UK and Europe. AMIR MAHYAR TAFRESHIPOUR (composer) received his BMus from the Esbjerg Academy of Music (Denmark) in piano and pedagogy in 2001 and a BMus in composition at Trinity College of Music (London) in 2003. In 2004 he gained his MA in composition at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (London) and his PHD in Chamber Opera and Composition from the Brunel University in London (2013). Amir Mahyar is an award winning composer, gaining first prize at the Biennial Competition for New Music at Tehran University for his solo Piano piece and also a silver medal for outstanding achievement at Trinity College of Music, presented by the Duke of Kent in 2003. At the Counterpoint Competition held in New York, he was a prize winner for his Solo Flute composition. His works have been commissioned and performed by Soloists, Ensembles and Orchestras including Tomoko Sugavara, the Clarinet Ensemble of the Victoria University, Anadolu Symphony Orchestra and “In Corpore” String Quartet. In 2005, he was commissioned by the BBC Symphony Orchestra to compose a Harp Concerto under the baton of Pascal Rophe for performance in London. This work (A Persian Reflection) went on to be featured on BBC Radio3. Amir Mahyar’s latest work an Opera (“The Doll behind the Curtain”) based on a short story by the famous Persian writer Sadeq Hedayat with libretto by Dominic Power has been performed in 2013. BARBARA WALTON (soprano) Canadian coloratura soprano Barbara Cole Walton attends the Alexander Gibson Opera School at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. In her time there she has won the Governors’ Recital Prize in Singing and was ‘commended’ in the Margaret Dick Award. 
Operatic performances include ‘Queen of the Night’ in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (RCS), ‘3rd Wild Goose’ and ‘Fido’ in Britten’s Paul Bunyan (British Youth Opera), and ‘Eurydice’ in Offenbach’s Orphée aux Enfers (Franco-American Vocal Academy, Périgueux, France). Barbara has understudied the role of ‘Lucia’ in Britten’s Rape of Lucretia (RCS) and looks forward to performing ‘Amore’ in Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse (RCS) this November.