Tuesday 28 November 2023

What is existence all about? London Youth Opera relaunches with ambitious new opera, Pandora's Box from Stuart Hancock and Donald Sturrock

London Youth Opera: Pandora's Box from Stuart Hancock and Donald Sturrock.

W11 Opera has relaunched as London Youth Opera, the name change reflecting on the way the company's remit has expanded well beyond the W11 postcode. For their first production under the new name, LYO is presenting Pandora's Box by composer Stuart Hancock and librettist Donald Sturrock at the Royal Academy of Music's Susie Sainsbury Theatre on 16 and 17 December 2023.

The opera is a comic fusion of blues, pop, and classical opera that uses ancient Greek mythology as a starting point. This contemporary satire on 21st century family life asks the big question:

What is existence all about? 

In Hancock and Sturrock's version of the myth, when Pandora Woakes receives the gift from Prometheus, salesman at Olympus Enterprises, on the eve of her 18thbirthday, she is unaware of the mayhem that will befall her well-meaning family.  Opening it, she unwittingly releases Greed, Vanity, and Envy into the mortal world. Friendships break, selfishness rules, and chaos ensues over the course of one turbulent day in the quaint English village of Middle Demos. 

There is resolution, but there are no easy answers.

This will be Stuart Hancock's third opera collaboration with Donald Sturrock for W11 Opera, following the successes of Rain Dance (2010) and the pirate romp Cutlass Crew (2017), which is received its US premiere in Boston in spring 2023. Stuart Hancock is a composer of film, TV and concert music, and his latest film music includes Hiroshima: 75 Years Later (a feature documentary for the History Channel) and the British animated feature film Kensuke’s Kingdom, adapted from the popular Michael Morpurgo book of the same name, which premiered at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2024. [Read my 2020 interview with Stuart]

Full details of Pandora's Box from London Youth Opera's website.

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