Thursday, 25 July 2013

Grimeborn Festival

Arcola Theatre
The Grimeborn Festival starts at the Arcola Theatre on 30 July 2013 and provides four weeks of opera in what might be termed an alternative setting. The programme is eclectic, mixing well known classics with newer pieces. There are period instrument performances of Handel and Purcell, Silent Opera performing Monteverdi, Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande and two Mozart operas, but also an admirable selection of contemporary work ranging from the highly challenging to the Puccini-inspired lyrical. The aim of the festival is to both celebrate the world of opera whilst making it accessible. And there are multi-buy discounts, so you can go a little bit mad.

The festival was first staged in 2007 and its name is a humorous play on the name of the famous opera festival in Sussex and the fact that Grimeborn takes place at the Arcola Theatre in Dalston, E8 in a converted paint factory. Performances take place in a pair of studio theatres, one seating 200 and the other seating 100.

Mozart's Cosi fan Tutte is performed by Opera24, ' brought roaring into the 21st Century with a witty contemporary libretto, new orchestrations for a 7-piece orchestra by acclaimed conductor/arranger John Jansson and a snappy new staging from director Benet Catty.' (30/7 - 3/8).

Mozart's The Magic Flute is performed by Ryedale Festival Opera in John Warrack's translation directed by Nina Brazier, with a cast of young singers from the major music colleges conducted by Christopher Glynn, with accompaniment provided by the Quintessence Wind Ensemble and the Eka Quartet (7/8 - 10/8).

Purcell's Dido and Aeneas is performed on period instruments by Eboracum Baroque directed by Chris Parsons (who is currently studying at the Royal College of Music for a masters in Historical Performance) and with choreography by Mary Collins (8/8 - 10/8)

Size Zero Opera present a double bill of new music theatre, Playing with fire. German composer Arne Gieshoff's The Viagron is based on Petronius's The Satyricon.  American composer Darren Bloom's Kettlehead is set in colonial Africa at the end of the 19th century and explores a tisted tale of voodoo and revenge. The production of Gieshoff's work is supported by the PRS for Music Foundation and Bloom's by the London Symphony Orchestra Sound Hub. The double bill is directed by Matthew Monaghan and conducted by Jonathan Mann (13/8 - 17/8).

Mike Christie's new opera The Miller's Wife receives its premiere in a production directed by Matthew Gould (14/8 - 17/8).

Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande is performed by a cast including Ilona Domnich and Alan Ewing, directed by Aylin Bozok with Philip Voldman as musical director, though the website does not specify what the accompany forces are. (20/8 - 24/8)

A new work from those lovely people at Silent Opera, Lament uses the music of Monteverdi to present 'a unique and brand new operatic sound world', directed by Daisy Evans, with Katie Slater (23/8 - 24/8)

The Sounds Baroque Ensemble with Anna Starushkevych and Robyn Allegra Parton perform a new pasticcio, Handel Furioso, based on Handel's arias and duets. Julian Perkins conducts and Max Hoehn directs. (27/8 - 31/8)

Another double bill, this time of love stories. Jeff Spencer's Eros and Psyche, and Danyal Dhondy's Quys and Laila. (30/8 - 31/8).

There are also a number of one-off events. The Vocal Constructivists perform Exquisite Corpses music by six living composers, Mark Applebaum, Anthony Braxton, George Chambers, Pauline Oliveros, Michael Parsons, and Lauren Redhead - British and American experimental compositions that use graphic and open forms of notation. (1/8) Samantha Newton and Na'ama Zisser's horror opera Black Sand is given a performance directed by Stuart Baker (22/8). Strekoza i Muravej (Grasshopper and the Ant) is a re-imagining of a Russian fable by Brian Hosefros and Vadim Yurchenko, directed by Martyna Lyko, conducted by Matthew Waldren (29/8).

The theatre is in Dalston, now even more accessible thanks to the Overground. Further information from the Arcola Theatre website (but I'll warn you, I found the website a little frustrating).

Elsewhere on this blog:

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