Promised End: a new opera is born

Wednesday 13 October 2010

A full foyer for the world première of Promised End.

What a week. Just going off to the run through of The Duenna prior to its London opening; as it already had a great opening at Poole, I don’t expect there will be any hitches. It is slick and funny, with every characterful nuance of the score and the script realised, as far as I can tell.

Our new opera, Promised End, opened on Saturday and had its second performance last night. I confess I am more than ever in thrall to the piece. It is SO well written, and so subtle and intelligent. It does not reveal itself immediately, at least on a musical level. last night I had to sit out of the performance, as we had no guest seats left, and as I had some work to do (on Charpentier, no less, in preparation for a special season next year); as the performance was relayed to the lobby I heard much of it, and found my heart beating fast. The scene in which Lear and Cordelia are reunited is as poignant as it is economical, and does not fail to make me cry.

The score has not found favour with a few critics, I gather – a good sign, I reckon. If it was familiar it would not be something new. If it was a reverential setting of King Lear it would not be worth doing. The colleagues from German opera houses who have been have reacted in the opposite way, immediately seeing the piece’s importance. I have asked my sharpest and most attentive personal critics the important question: did something happen tonight? To a person they have said that something happened, that it was unfamiliar, arresting and serious. That is what matters, to me, and I reckon that is what will matter in the life of Promised End.

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