Commission to Luke Bedford

The Royal Opera House, London, UK

The Royal Opera House is commissioning leading, young British composer Luke Bedford to create his second opera. Bedford is widely regarded as one of the most exciting British composers of his generation. While his orchestral, chamber and choral work has received such widespread critical and audience acclaim , his first opera, Seven Angels (2011), received mixed reception. This new commission of a second opera therefore comes at a crucial point in Luke's development as an operatic composer. The Royal Opera House has been nurturing Luke for several years, first through co-producing Seven Angels and more recently through introducing Luke to the librettist for his new work David Harrower (an extremely experienced playwright with whom Luke has formed a strong working relationship) as well as offering research and development time and dramaturgical advice. Ultimately, The Royal Opera hopes to commission a large opera from Luke and this work is an important step for his artistic development. Luke Bedford’s new work is a response to the classic story of Faust and is timed to coincide with Gounod’s Faust on the Main Stage. The opera’s scenario is loosely based on the 2005 true story of Robert Hendy-Freegard, a conman who made his victims believe he was working for the British intelligence agency MI5. This disturbing story is being reworked for the stage by leading playwright David Harrower. The main character will be a shadowy figure working in the secret service, playing with the same ideas of mind games, loyalty and trust which are found in the Faust story. The work will examine themes of manipulation and control, and how one person can exert an uncompromising hold over another human being.

A small chamber orchestra of 8 instrumentalists (clarinet doubling bass clarinet, trombone, accordion, percussion, harp, violin, cello, double bass) and three singers will paint a dark and intense musical landscape. The duration will be one hour without interval and will be performed by acclaimed contemporary music specialists CHROMA, conducted by Sian Edwards. The production will be directed by Bijan Sheibani. 

April 3–11, 2014
Linbury Studio Theatre at the Royal Opera House, London, UK

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