Tuesday 8 June 2021

Getting WOAD on the road: Alastair White's fashion-opera debuts in film form at Goldsmiths' PureGold 2021

Alastair White: WOAD

WOAD is the latest of composer Alastair White's fashion-operas [for more on fashion-opera and Alastair's distinctive take on music-theatre, see my recent interview with him], his previous operas in this trilogy were ROBE [which we saw at Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival in 2019, see my review] and WEAR, which was staged at the Opera in the City Festival. When I chatted to Alastair in February he had plans for the debut of WOAD but inevitably these have been disturbed by the recent restrictions.

Instead of a live performance, WOAD has been filmed and there is a debut screening at Goldsmiths, University of London SE14 6NW on 16 June 2021. The screening is free but ticketed via Eventbrite and is part of PureGold 2021 Festival, the annual eclectic, innovative and exciting work coming out of Goldsmith's Department of Music. The festival is running now until 17 June, live and on-line, so do check out their website.

WOAD is written for saxophone and soprano, and the film features soprano Kelly Poukens and saxophonist Suzy Vanderheiden, alongside fashion designed by Renli Su. The work is about metamorphosis and parallel worlds, taken the tradition Border ballad of Tam Lin as its basis, a young boy is bewitched - into the form of an ape, an adder, a speck of dust. But is it his shape that twists and churns, or that of the world around him?

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