Director Daisy Evans
Conductor Stephen Higgins
Design Adrian Linford
Lighting Design Jake Wiltshire
Sound Design Max Pappenheim
Judith Susan Bullock / Gweneth Ann Rand
Bluebeard Gerald Finley / Michael Mayes
A new partnership between long-time collaborators Daisy Evans and Stephen Higgins who have a shared passion and vision for presenting opera in new and exciting ways, Theatre of Sound will foster a free flow of artistic ideas across genres and artforms to create intimate, inclusive and innovative experiences of opera for people of all backgrounds. It will launch in November 2021 with a brand new and immersive production of Bluebeard’s Castle by Béla Bartók, co-produced by Opera Ventures and in partnership with Stone Nest.
Turning the Gothic thriller on its head, the story will be retold through the lens of a family living with dementia in a staged production at Stone Nest, a stunning former Welsh chapel in the heart of London’s West End, from 4th -14th November. For an audience of up to 200, this intimate re-imagining of the opera for chamber orchestra promises to take audiences on a unique theatrical experience that will place them at the heart of the action. It will also mark the first time a staged opera production has taken place in front of an audience at Stone Nest.
Sung in English in a newly-commissioned translation, the production features a stellar cast including internationally renowned singers Susan Bullock, Gerald Finley, Michael Mayes and Gweneth Ann Rand sharing the principal roles of Duke Bluebeard and Judith under the dynamic direction of Evans, Higgins and their creative team. In a new chamber orchestration, players from the virtuosic London Sinfonietta accompany the fourteen performances conducted by Higgins.
Marking the start of an extended partnership that will explore opera as a powerful pathway for connection with each other and the world around us, Theatre of Sound will join forces with Live Music Now to facilitate creative participation programme Judith’s Castle. Created in collaboration with families living with dementia to explore the role of music in key moments of their lives, new works by emerging female composers will be presented in special performances on the set of the opera production at Stone Nest, featuring musicians from Live Music Now and the London Sinfonietta.
Further details including dementia-friendly performances and a series of talks and insights from specialists in the field of dementia care, will be announced at a later date.
Stone Nest is an old building and unfortunately cannot currently accommodate electric wheelchairs. We can accommodate manually operated wheelchairs via a temporary ramp; please let us know that you are a wheelchair user when booking and whether a Companion will be accompanying you.
Entrance is via the Shaftesbury Road door
Comfortable footwear and warm clothing is recommended!
Theatre of Sound is indebted to the following generous supporters who have helped us create this new production:
The Martin Smith Foundation
The Tadpole Trust
Patti and George White
Clara and Percy Weatherall
(subject to change)
4th November, 7pm Finley/Rand
5th November, 7pm Mayes/Rand
6th November, 4pm Finley/Bullock
6th November, 7pm Finley/Bullock
7th November, 4pm Mayes/Rand
7th November, 7pm Mayes/Rand
9th November, 7pm Finley/Bullock
10th November, 7pm Mayes/Rand
11th November, 7pm Finley/Bullock
12th November, 7pm Mayes/Rand
13th November, 4pm Finley/Rand
13th November, 7pm Finley/Rand
14th November, 4pm Mayes/Bullock
14th November, 7pm Mayes/Bullock
Inspired by the themes of this unique reimagining of one of opera’s great masterpieces, Judith’s Castle will see award-winning composer Electra Perivolaris working with families living with dementia to create new pieces of music drawn from their stories, experiences and musical memories. These works will have their world premieres this autumn, on Saturday 6 November and Saturday 13 November in relaxed performances on the set of the opera at Stone Nest, performed by musicians from the London Sinfonietta and Live Music Now together with singers Gweneth Ann Rand and Michael Mayes.
The concerts will also include reflections and insights from Julian West - a leading expert in the field of dementia and music research alongside poetry readings by actor and Alzheimer's Society ambassador Kevin Whately. The performances will end with an opportunity for a dialogue between the audience and performers to discuss the role music can play to improve the lives of those living with dementia.