Thursday, 7 November 2019

Leonardo the opera: Alex Mills' latest work debuts at the Victoria and Albert Museum

As 2019 is the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci's death, the Renaissance polymath is everywhere. Alex Mills, whose imaginative opera Dear Marie Stopes debuted at Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival last year [see my review], is exploring Leonardo through music and his opera Leonardo will debut at the Victoria and Albert Museum on Saturday 9 November 2019 (when there are two performances, at 13.30 and 16;00). Alas the opera is not in one of the museum's evocative Renaissance galleries, but in the Lecture Theatre, though the acoustics there are good.

In the opera Mills aims to focuses on his inner world, emotional life and sexuality, using music to fill in the many gaps that we have in our knowledge of Leonardo the man. In fact, we know fairly little about Leonardo, most of his writings are architectural and technical, and certainly there is precious little about his emotional life or his sexuality. Of course, with historical figures the very silence can be telling.

The text by playwright Brian Mullin is drawn from Leonardo's personal notebooks and journals (of which the V&A have five in their collection), plus other contemporary texts from his lifetime.

The work will be performed by tenor Tom Randle, counter-tenor Feargal Mostyn-Williams and baritone Richard Immerglück with the viol consort Fretwork, conducted by Tim Anderson and directed by Patrick Eakin Young.

Further details from Alex Mills website,  and tickets from the V&A website.

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