Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Music Theatre Wales - 25th anniversary season

Music Theatre Wales is  the UK’s leading contemporary opera company. At the 2011 TMA Theatre Awards the company’s production of Greek by Mark-Anthony Turnage won Outstanding Achievement in Opera. In March 2013, Ghost Patrol  by Stuart Macrae (created in partnership with Scottish Opera) was nominated for a South Bank Sky Arts Award.. Read my review HERE.  This year marks their 25th anniversary, so they're presenting a very good season.

You'll have to be in Wales to see things first, but, thanks to MTW's arrangements with the Royal Opera House, MTW will also come to London, as they have been doing for some years now. Since 1988 MTW has created 30 productions and presented 14 world premieres. It has created productions with a wide range of partners including the Royal Opera House, Opera National du Rhin, Strasbourg; the Berlin Festival; Opera Vest, Norway; Banff Centre, Canada and Scottish Opera. MTW has been recorded on CD, broadcast on BBC radio and screened on BBC2.

In 2013, the company will also give the UK premiere of The Killing Flower ( Luci mie traditrici) by Salvatore Sciarrino, and re-stage its production of  Mark Anthony Turnage's Greek, with which he exploded onto the London scene as an Angry Young Man.  Salvatorre Sciarrino is of course extremely well known in new music circles (read more about him HERE). Philip Glass and Christopher Hampton are currently writing a new opera for the company, based on Kafka’s The Trial, to be premiered at Covent Garden in 2014 in a co-commission and co-production with the Royal Opera House and Houston Grand Opera.

This season's operas include Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’ classic, Eight Songs for a Mad King, which MTW first staged in 1996. It is given a new production with Welsh baritone Kelvin Thomas reprising the virtuoso lead role. Sir Peter Maxwell Davies played a crucial role in supporting Music Theatre Wales in its formative years, and he remains the company’s Patron. His classic music theatre works  The Martyrdom of St. Magnus, The Lighthouse and Eight Songs for a Mad King - formed the backbone of MTW’s early repertoire - so it seemed entirely appropriate to revisit this early masterpiece.

Eight Songs is coupled with a new piece of multi-media music theatre, Ping, by the young Portuguese composer Vasco Mendonça, based on Samuel Beckett’s disturbing monologue, here receiving its UK premiere. In addition to the first performances in Wales, there will be one further performance of Eight Songs for a Mad King – this time in a double-bill with Salvatore Sciarrino’s The Killing Flower at Buxton Festival. Vasco Mendonça´s music has been performed all over Europe by a wide range of established orchestras and contemporary music ensembles. His second chamber opera, The House Taken Over, will be premiered on July 6, 2013 at the Aix-en-Provence Festival, with stage direction by Katie Mitchell and musical direction by Etienne Siebens - a co-production with Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, deSingel Antwerpen and Asko|Schönberg Ensemble.

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