Wednesday 30 November 2016

New David Sawer opera for Garsington

David Sawer
David Sawer
Having commissioned Roxanna Panufnik to write a community opera, Silver Birch which premieres in 2017, Garsington Opera has announced its first main stage commission. David Sawer is writing a new opera, The Skating Rink, to be premiered by Garsington Opera in 2018. The new piece has a libretto by playwright Rory Mullarkey (who wrote the libretto for Joanne Lee's opera The Way Back Home), and the work is based on the novel by Chilean author Roberto Bolaño (you can read Philip Hensher's review of the book in The Guardian), and the plot does involve a skating rink.

David Sawer is an interesting choice for a new operatic work. He writes highly dramatic, not to say theatrical music (as well as a significant amount of music for the theatre), yet his operatic output so far has been a bit varied. His opera From Morning to Midnight (based on a Georg Kaiser play) received a highly promising premiere at English National Opera in 2001, though sadly ENO never followed this up with a further commission. Sawer's operetta, Skin Deep with a libretto by Armando Iannucci was premiered by Opera North but it seemed to fail to take wing, perhaps because operettas require tunes. Sawer's subsequent theatrical works have not quite been in the classic opera category, so it will be fascinating to see and hear what he comes up with.

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