17, 18, 20, 22, 24 & 25 November 2017
All performances 7.30pm, except Monday 20th at 7pm

“If the thought is right, the notes will follow” Maria Callas

Founded by actress Selina Cadell and dramaturg Eliza Thompson, OperaGlass Works will present its first production – Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress – featuring soprano Susanna Hurrell, tenor Robert Murray and bass David Soar, at the iconic Wilton’s Music Hall in London’s East End this November.

OperaGlass Works is a company of directors, designers, singers, actors and musicians who have come together in response to the huge and many changes that the opera world has seen in the past 25 years. Committed to performing chamber operas in intimate and exquisite spaces, OperaGlass Works was formed to empower singers and musicians to perform directly to their audience, to challenge convention, and to encourage change in the world of opera.

The idea of The Rake’s Progress arose from a workshop that Selina led at the National Theatre exploring the relationship of Auden’s libretto to Stravinsky’s music. Tenor Robert Murray, who first met Selina through the National Opera Studio, took part and explains: “My training with Selina helped me to focus on the simple transaction of sharing stories... to take real care of the words I am singing and to allow myself the freedom to communicate with clarity”. For this production, the cast will be joined on stage by the Southbank Sinfonia conducted by Laurence Cummings, Artistic Director of the London Handel Festival since 1999 and of the International Handel Festival Göttingen since 2012. As Selina explains: “The digital age has ushered in a new hybrid. The disciplines of cinema, television and film are now merging with those of theatre and opera. Live screening of opera productions have become very popular and the onus on singers to act as well as sing increases daily”.

The 18th century was a time when theatre and opera had immediacy, sharing the same light with the audience, the performers talking and singing directly to those watching. More often than not, productions of opera today are placed behind the fourth wall, removing direct contact between audience and performer. By setting The Rake’s Progress in the intimate, Wilton’s Music Hall, the singers are able to use the language to form alliances and relationships not just with each other, but with their audience who in turn become complicit in the plot. In this small-scale production – designed by Tom Piper – OperaGlass Works has allowed for a lengthy rehearsal period to enable the singers to explore the depth and irony of both score and text.

Known as a stage, film and television actress, as well as a theatre director, Selina Cadell is Head of Drama at the National Opera Studio and also coaches at the Royal Opera House and at English National Opera. She directed her first opera, Handel’s Arianne in Creta at the Royal College of Music in 2014, which as the website Planet Hugill remarked: “had the admirable effect of focusing the drama onto the music”. Her co-producer, Eliza Thompson, is a music supervisor, consultant, score producer and composer in film, television and theatre and previously collaborated with Selina on The Way of the World (Wilton’s Music Hall, and the Royal and Derngate Theatre, Northampton), The Rivals (Arcola) and, Love for Love (RSC, Stratford upon Avon). She was Assistant Director on Arianna in Creta.


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