A grumpy dragon. An even grumpier dwarf. A sleeping heroine who has to be awoken by a brave-but-dim hero. The story of Siegfried, and indeed, Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle as a whole may not, on the surface, appear to the stuff of 21st-century headline news. Yet the four operas that make up the whole series … Continue reading #7 Anyone for… Wagner? 17/2/2020
What makes a good libretto? As the BBC Comedy, Fleabag, continues its glorious, gold-digging rampage through the awards season, I've been pondering a discussion that unfolded on Twitter in the immediate aftermath of the second series. The word ‘operatic’ was used in relation to the devastating repartee of the opening episode, and one person even … Continue reading #6 15/01/2020 Fleabag the Opera? What makes a good libretto?
I was recently in Meath, Ireland, for a friend’s wedding, and managed to combine the trip with a visit to Newgrange: a Neolithic passage tomb located 1km North of the River Boyne. Dating from 3200BC, the structure is older than the pyramids, and remains a baffling feat of engineering. Tests have shown that the rocks … Continue reading #5 21/12/19 Shadowcasters and Operamakers
(In 29 Surtitles) Some love them, some hate them, but if you get them wrong, they can derail an entire show Punctuation is a delicate balance. Many opera libretti are written in an overly punctuated style! But the eye gets tired of endless rows of exclamatory text! It’s exhausting! …as is … Continue reading #4 28/11/2019 Confessions of an Opera Surtitler
From Cricklyvich to Vimblybush and beyond Sophie Rashbrook It all started with a drawing. As a student in the late 1950s, and a novice to London’s transport system, Pamela Howard was too nervous to take the bus or tube to her art classes at Slade School of Fine Arts. Instead, she preferred to walk the … Continue reading #3 11/11/19 Interview with Pamela Howard OBE: The Ballad of the Cosmo Café
7 Observations on Participatory Art Sophie Rashbrook On a soggy Sunday morning, driving through an industrial estate in Purfleet, Essex, I hadn’t expected to turn left at Carpetright and be greeted with a complex of buildings dedicated to arts and culture. Yet there they were. Looming mirage-like out of the greyness was the huge curved … Continue reading #2 15/10/19 Musical Storytelling in Purfleet
Reflections on the RESEO conference, Brussels, 26-28 September Sophie Rashbrook “Who would like to make a paper boat?” asks Italian director Laura Fatini. By this point in the RESEO conference, my fellow delegates and I have sung in harmony and participated in a dance workshop together, so a spot of origami feels natural. Seated in … Continue reading #1 04/10/19 Opera is… making a paper boat