PREVIOUS NOVA MUSIC OPERA PRODUCTIONS

PREVIOUS NOVA MUSIC OPERA PRODUCTIONS

Charlotte Bray Entanglement
Thomas Hyde That Man Stephen Ward

Nova Music Opera brings together a pair of contemporary chamber operas by Charlotte Bray and Thomas Hyde about misunderstood characters from modern Birtish history. In the 60th anniversary of her controversial execution, the end of Ruth Ellis' life is examined in Charlotte Bray's work Entanglement.

Thomas Hyde's That Man Stephen Ward, premiered to great reviews in 2008, charts the demise of one of the more tragic characters involved in the Profumo scandal of the early 1960s.


Entanglement
Charlotte Bray composer 
Amy Rosenthal librettist

In the summer of 1953, nightclub manageress Ruth Ellis meets two men with whose lives her own will be fatally intertwined. As lonely businessman Desmond Cussen loses his heart to her, so Ruth loses hers to troubled racing-car driver David Blakely, with whom she spirals into a violent and obsessive co-dependence. Set amidst the grubby glamour of London in the 1950s, Entanglement charts two years in the lives of the trio as they are driven towards their tragic destiny – and the act that will see Ruth Ellis defined forever as the last woman to be hanged in Britain.

Nova Music Ensemble
Richard Williams director
George Vass conductor
Kirsty Hopkins Ruth | Howard Quilla Croft Desmond | Greg Tassell 
David

Entanglement is a joint-commission between Nova Music and the Cheltenham and Presteigne festivals, supported by the Britten-Pears Foundation and the Arts Council of Wales
 

That Man Stephen Ward
Thomas Hyde composer
David Norris librettist

Dr Stephen Ward, society osteopath, man-about-town and (in his own mind at least) Cold War peace negotiator, is arrested for living off immoral earnings. Will his many friends and famous clients stand by him in his hour of need? 

With its mixture of cabaret songs, recitatives and arias, this operatic entertainment charts the fall of the key figure in the famous Profumo scandal with a suitably British mixture of tragedy, irony and comedy.

Nova Music Ensemble
Richard Williams director 
George Vass conductor
Damian Thantrey 
Ward

Co-producers
Nova Music
Cheltenham Music Festival
Presteigne Festival

Production partners
Cheltenham Music Festival
Presteigne Festival

Production supporters
Britten-Pears Foundation
PRS for Music Foundation
RVW Trust

    

Production benefactors
The Nicholas Boas Charitable Trust
The Honeymead Arts Trust
Philip Waller CBE


 

Stephen McNeff Prometheus Drown'd
Cecilia McDowall Airborne

United by a common theme of misadventure, but distinct enough to engage and excite on many levels, this pair of new chamber operas make perfect performing partners.

Prometheus Drown'd, Stephen McNeff's reworking of an earlier commission from the Presteigne Festival, is a chilling exploration of the strange circumstances surrounding the death of Percy Bysshe Shelley in 1822 at Livorno in Tuscany. Richard Williams has reworked the libretto from contemporary sources, using journals, diaries and incorporates a number of Shelley's own writings.

In Airborne, we move forward in history to World War I, where we meet Johnny, a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps, and Alice, a nurse in the Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service Reserve. The opera reflects their parallel experiences on 1 July 1916, allowing them to interact and sing and dance together as their minds go back to the high spots of their deepening love affair; both anticipate and then witness the huge debacle that was the Battle of the Somme.

Promethus Drown'd
Stephen McNeff composer
Richard Williams librettist and director
George Vass conductor
Clare McCaldin Jane | Christopher Good Trelawny
Max Keeble Shelley | Grant Sterry Young Trelawny
Nova Music Ensemble

Airborne
Cecilia McDowall composer
Andy Rashleigh librettist
Richard Williams director
George Vass conductor
Donna Lennard Alice | Henry Manning Johnny

Airborne is a joint-commission between Nova Music and the Presteigne Festival, supported by the RVW Trust, the Bevis Foundation and the Arts Council of Wales.

Co-producers
Nova Music
Presteigne Festival

Production partners
Canterbury Festival
The Barber Institute of the Fine Arts, Birmingham University 

Production supporters
RVW Trust
Fidelio Trust

Production benefactors
The Bevis Foundation
The Nicholas Boas Charitable Trust
The Honeymead Arts Trust
George Kessler CBE
Ursula Vass
Philip Waller CBE 


 


Sally Beamish Hagar in the Wilderness
Benjamin Britten Curlew River

In celebration of Benjamin Britten’s centenary year, Nova Music Opera present an intriguing operatic double-bill exploring the themes of loss, redemption and forgiveness.

The Old Testament story of Hagar and Abraham is vividly brought to life by multi award-winning composer Sally Beamish and librettist Clara Glynn in their new chamber opera, Hagar in the Wilderness. The opera’s uncomfortable account of social injustice is particularly pertinent in society today and in many ways echoes similar sentiments conveyed in Curlew River.

Initially inspired by Benjamin Britten’s encounter with Noh theatre while on tour in Japan in 1955, Curlew River tells the haunting story of a mother’s search for her lost son. Britten and librettist William Plomer transformed the noh play Sumidagawa into a medieval Parable, set in the fenlands of East Anglia. Britten’s masterpiece, with its strange, other worldly scoring for exotic bells, un-tuned drums, organ and chamber ensemble is a once heard, never forgotten experience.

Curlew River
Benjamin Britten composer
William Plomer librettist
Richard Williams director
George Vass conductor
Cast: Mark Milhofer The Madwoman | Owen Gilhooly The Ferryman
Christopher Foster The Traveller | Stephen Holloway The Abbot

Hagar in the Wilderness
Sally Beamish composer
Clara Glynn librettist
Richard Williams director
George Vass conductor
Cast: Kirsty Hopkins Hagar | Owen Gilhooly Abraham | Edmund Hastings Gabriel

Hagar in the Wilderness is a joint-commission between Nova Music and the Presteigne Festival, supported by the Britten-Pears Foundation and the Arts Council of Wales.

Co-producers
Nova Music
Presteigne Festival
St John's, Smith Square, London

Production partners
Canterbury Festival
Music at Oxford
St Andrew's Voices Festival

 

Previous Projects:
 

  • August 2012 – Presteigne Festival Orchestra (23-28 August)

  • February 2012 – Orchestra Nova recording for Dutton Epoch of works by John McCabe with soloists included Angela Whelan and the Retorica violin duo (Harriet Mackenzie and Philippa Mo)

  • January 2012 – Orchestra Nova recording for Dutton Epoch of works by Cecilia McDowall

  • 9 October 2011 – Orchestra Nova and City of Canterbury Chamber Choir at St John’s, Smith Square – 60th birthday celebration concert for Cecilia McDowall

  • September 2011 – Ulster Orchestra recording of works by Cecilia McDowall with Jeremy Huw Williams and Michael Hurd’s Henry James inspired opera The Aspern Papers with Owen Gilhooly, Pippa Goss, Claire McCaldin and Louise Winter

  • August 2011 – Presteigne Festival Orchestra (25-30 August)

  • December 2010 – Orchestra Nova recordings with Jinny Shaw of oboe concertos by Kenneth Leighton, John Joubert and John McCabe for the Guild label

  • October 2010 – Orchestra Nova recording of Michael Hurd’s comic opera The Widow of Ephesus and the cantata Mr Owen’s Endeavour for the Dutton Epoch label with Pippa Goss soprano, Louise Winter mezzo, Michael Bundy baritone and the City of Canterbury Chamber Choir

  • August 2010 – Presteigne Festival Orchestra (26-31 August)

  • May 2010 – Nova Opera at the English Music Festival – concert performance of Gustav Holst Savitri with David Wilson-Johnson as Death

  • March 2010 – Orchestra Nova recordings for Dutton Epoch of Concertos by David Matthews and Paul Patterson with soloists Philippe Graffin, Sarah-Jane Bradley and Alice Neary

 

 

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