Friday, 7 December 2012

NMC appeal - new operas

NMC Recordings celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2014 and as part of this they have launched an appeal to raise funds to issue recordings of three significant contemporary operas, by Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Judith Weir and Gerald Barry. Amazingly, NMC is a charity run as a not-for-profit and started with substantial support of the Holst Foundation. This means, of course, that they can take a long view and issue recordings which a commercial organisation would not. So far they have recorded over a dozen contemporary British operas to-date. The new appeal needs to raise £43,0000 to support Birtwistle's Gawain, Weir's The Vanishing Bridegroom and Barry's The Importance of Being Earnest.


Gawain was premiered in 1991 at Covent Garden with John Tomlinson and Francois le Roux. Birtwistle revised and shortened the work and this version was performed at Covent Garden in 1994. A live recording was issued by Collins Classics of the 1994 performances conducted by Elgar Howarth, and it is this that NMC wish to issue. Gawain was a remarkable and compelling work with Tomlinson giving an amazing performance, it will be good to see this back in the catalogue.

Judith Weir's The Vanishing Bridegroom was premiered by Scottish Opera in 1990, and given a concert performance by the BBC in 2008 as part of their Judith Weir weekend at the Barbican. It is a curious and elusive work about supernatural events, and would seem well worth reviving properly. NMC plan to issue the 2008 BBC recording with the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Martyn Brabbins.

Gerald Barry's The Importance of Being Earnest was also performed in concert at the Barbican (where would we be without these Barbican concert performances of important but neglected 20th century and contemporary operas). In the opera Barry attempts the impossible, turning Oscar Wilde's play into an opera, complete with Lady Bracknell played by a bass. NMC plan to issue the BBC recording, conducted by Thomas Ades.

Anyone who supports will received credit on the NMC website, share project updates, and be invited to a 25th anniversary event and have the discs available to purchase before the official release at a discounted price. Those who contribute £500 or more will receive signed complimentary copies of the three releases and CD booklet credits.

Further information and donations at the NMC Annual Appeal page.

1 comment:

  1. Gladly support Gawain but wouldn'tput money on Barry, who can get lenty of funding from Ireland

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