A co-production between The Royal Opera and Music Theatre Wales in association with the London Sinfonietta
Gerald Barry creates operas like no other – brilliant, surreal and often laugh-out-loud funny. Not seen in London since 1990, Barry’s first opera The Intelligence Park (with a libretto by Vincent Deane) comes to the Linbury Theatre ahead of Alice’s Adventures Under Ground on the main stage later in the Season.
The Intelligence Park was commissioned by the ICA and was first performed in 1990 at the Almeida Festival, introducing a completely new operatic voice to the world. Almost 30 years on, The Royal Opera and Music Theatre Wales are co-producing a new production together with the London Sinfonietta, the UK’s leading contemporary music ensemble, which will open in the Linbury Theatre at the Royal Opera House and then tour to Cardiff, Manchester and Birmingham. Director/designer Nigel Lowery directs and designs a new ‘messed-up’ Baroque production that aims to rediscover the opera’s ‘zoo’ of emotions, characters and absurdities in a blurring of imagination and reality that explores notions of creativity, sexuality and obligation.
The setting is Dublin in 1753, where a composer’s work on an opera is disrupted and intensified when he falls in love with the lead castrato, who at the same time elopes with the composer’s fiancée, thus causing fantasy and reality to become mixed. The music, scored for chamber orchestra and conducted here by Jessica Cottis, is startling in every aspect of its range, making extravagant virtuoso demands of the six performers.
The cast includes former Jette Parker Young Artist and Brazilian baritone Michel de Souza as Paradies, Australian tenor Adrian Dwyer (who made his Royal Opera debut in 2015 as Emir in Cities of Salt), as D’Esperaudieu, Welsh soprano Rhian Lois (Papagena in The Royal Opera’s Die Zauberflöte in 2015) as Jerusha Cramer, American countertenor and Jette Parker Young Artist Patrick Terry as Serafino, Canadian mezzo-soprano Stephanie Marshall (who has previously sung in Barry’s The Importance of Being Earnest for The Royal Opera) as Faranesi and Stephen Richardson as Sir Joshua Cramer, the role he created in 1990.
Australian-British conductor Jessica Cottis made her Royal Opera debut conducting Mamzer Bastard at Hackney Empire in 2018. She also conducted the world premiere of Gavin Higgins’s opera The Monstrous Child earlier in 2019.
Director and designer Nigel Lowery’s previous work for The Royal Opera has included Der Ring des Nibelungen (designer, 1990s production for Richard Jones) and Il barbiere di Siviglia (designer and director, Shaftesbury Theatre, 1997).
The Intelligence Park opens on 25 September 2019, with subsequent performances on 27 and 28 September, and 1, 2 and 4 October 2019.