Promised End

Alexander Goehr - Autumn 2010

English Touring Opera gives the premiere performances of Promised End, by Alexander Goehr, one of the leading figures of British contemporary music.

Conductor 
Ryan Wigglesworth
Orchestra 
Aurora Orchestra
Director 
James Conway
Designer 
Adam Wiltshire
Lighting Designer 
Guy Hoare

English Touring Opera presents Promised End, a new opera based on Shakespeare’s King Lear, by leading British composer Alexander Goehr, with award-winning, contemporary ensemble Aurora Orchestra conducted by Ryan Wigglesworth.

Promised End consists of 24 short scenes, selected, distilled and re-arranged by the composer and by scholar Sir Frank Kermode. The effect is to emphasise one aspect of Shakespeare’s great play: King Lear and the Earl of Gloucester, men who in their prime committed errors of judgment, bringing upon themselves their own tragic destinies.

Goehr, a leading composer with a distinguished career in Europe and Asia particularly, has drawn upon a range of influences in creating what he says will be his last opera. He describes the original ‘kernel’ idea as being inspired by Japanese Noh theatre and dance, also citing the influences such as the King Lear film adaptation of Koznitsev (with Shostakovich’s score), Bertolt Brecht, Ezra Pound, and a film by director Miklós Jancsó featuring a Hungarian military band – on which Goehr’s orchestration is partly based.

A Talking Programme for this performance will be available at the Hawth, Crawley for visually impaired people half an hour before the performance. Please reserve headsets in advance at the Box Office on 01293 553636.

Click here to hear some of Goehr’s music

Photographs of Alexander Goehr by devondigital.co.uk

Promised End was developed at the Dartington Space with support from the Arts at Dartington.

Running time: approx. 1 hour and 45 minutes, including a 20 minute interval.

Showing At

  1. Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House, London
    9th Oct 2010 - 7:45 pm
  2. Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House, London
    11th Oct 2010 - 7:45 pm
  3. Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House, London
    14th Oct 2010 - 7:45 pm
  4. Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House, London
    16th Oct 2010 - 7:45 pm
  5. Malvern Theatres
    21st Oct 2010 - 7:30 pm
  6. De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill
    26th Oct 2010 - 7:30 pm
  7. Exeter Northcott Theatre
    29th Oct 2010 - 7:30 pm
  8. The Hawth, Crawley
    1st Nov 2010 - 7:30 pm
  9. Cambridge Arts Theatre
    3rd Nov 2010 - 7:30 pm
  10. Cambridge Arts Theatre
    6th Nov 2010 - 7:30 pm
  11. Snape Maltings Concert Hall
    26th Nov 2010 - 7:30 pm
  1. Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House, London — 9th Oct 2010 - 7:45 pm

    Covent Garden, London , WC2E 9DD

  2. Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House, London — 11th Oct 2010 - 7:45 pm

    Covent Garden, London , WC2E 9DD

  3. Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House, London — 14th Oct 2010 - 7:45 pm

    Covent Garden, London , WC2E 9DD

  4. Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House, London — 16th Oct 2010 - 7:45 pm

    Covent Garden, London , WC2E 9DD

  5. Malvern Theatres — 21st Oct 2010 - 7:30 pm

    Malvern Theatres, Grange Road, Malvern, Worcestershire, WR14 3HB

  6. De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill — 26th Oct 2010 - 7:30 pm

    TN40 1DP

  7. Exeter Northcott Theatre — 29th Oct 2010 - 7:30 pm

    Exeter Northcott, Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4QB

  8. The Hawth, Crawley — 1st Nov 2010 - 7:30 pm

    Hawth Avenue, Crawley, RH10 6YZ

  9. Cambridge Arts Theatre — 3rd Nov 2010 - 7:30 pm

    6 St Edward's Passage, Cambridge, CB2 3PJ

  10. Cambridge Arts Theatre — 6th Nov 2010 - 7:30 pm

    6 St Edward's Passage, Cambridge, CB2 3PJ

  11. Snape Maltings Concert Hall — 26th Nov 2010 - 7:30 pm

    Aldeburgh Music, Snape Maltings Concert Hall, Snape, Suffolk, IP17 1SP

Ryan Wigglesworth

Ryan Wigglesworth

Conductor

RYAN WIGGLESWORTH
Conductor Promised End

Ryan Wigglesworth has established himself as one of the foremost composer-conductors of his generation. Recent engagements include the BBCSO at the 2009 Proms and during their Barbican season, recordings with the Halle Orchestra, Eugene Onegin at the St Endellion Festival, London Sinfonietta, and a return to the Philharmonia Orchestra. 2010/11 sees engagements including the Britten Sinfonia at the Proms, and debut concerts with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic – the latter to include the world premiere of his own A First Book of Inventions. Following his recent triptych of works written for the BBCSO, future projects include works for Mark Padmore and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra’s Scharoun Ensemble, and the NCO as part of his residency with the Chamber Orchestra and Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra.

Aurora Orchestra

Aurora Orchestra

Orchestra

James Conway

James Conway

Director

General Director of ETO, James Conway has directed 24 new productions and 4 revivals for the company, including Donizetti’s The Siege of Calais (to be revived in 2015), Maria Stuarda and Anna Bolena and Handel’s Alcina, Ariodante, Teseo, Tolomeo, Flavio, Xerxes and Agrippina. Other notable ETO productions include Eugene Onegin, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Simon Boccanegra, The Emperor of Atlantis and the world première of Alexander Goehr’s Promised End. For RCM he directed L’incoronazione di Poppea and Le nozze di Figaro, and for the Canadian Opera Company Don Giovanni. His production of The Cunning Little Vixen is in repertory at the Moravian National Theatre in Janacek’s home city of Brno. He has written original libretti for 2 operas and translations for 5 others, as well as several works of fiction; his most recent translation was last season’s Agrippina. Upcoming productions include Giulio Cesare (Lucca) and Ottone (ETO).

Adam Wiltshire

Adam Wiltshire

Designer

Adam received his BA with Honours in Theatre Design at the RWCMD. He was a group winner of the Linbury Biennial Prize for Stage Design in 2003. Recent operatic engagements include design for I was Looking at the Ceiling and then I Saw the Sky (Stratford East Royal Theatre); Roméo et Juliette (ON); Le nozze di Figaro (RNCM); As I Crossed the Bridge of Dreams (Almeida Opera). Ballet engagements include Children of Adam and Sensorium (Royal Ballet at the ROH). Additionally, Adam worked with ETO as designer for Country Matters, Katya Kabanova and Teseo.

Guy Hoare

Guy Hoare

Lighting Designer

Opera includes: The Lighthouse; Albert Herring; Gianni Schicchi; Il Tabarro; Promised End; Katya Kabanova; Don Giovanni; Eugene Onegin (ETO); Jakob Lenz (ENO); American Lulu; The Firework-Maker’s Daughter (The Opera Group).

Theatre includes: Strange Interlude (National); Roots; Serenading Louie; Be Near Me (Donmar); A Doll’s House (Young Vic); NSFW; In Basildon (Royal Court); A Delicate Balance; Waste (Almeida); Peter Pan (NTS); The Little Mermaid, Faith Healer (BOV); Rutherford & Son; Othello (Northern Broadsides).

Dance includes: The Metamorphosis (Royal Ballet); The Land of Yes, The Land of No (Sydney Dance Company); Frontline (Aterbaletto); Dream (NDCWales); Pavlova’s Dogs (Scottish Dance Theatre); Dracula (Mark Bruce Company); Mischief (Theatre Rites).

Cast

Roderick Earle

Roderick Earle

Lear (King of Britain)

Over sixty roles with the Royal Opera including Tippett’s King Fisher The Midsummer Marriage. Roderick has sung with all the main British companies as well as in several European opera houses (including Turin, Rome, Oslo and Valencia) and further afield (New Zealand, the Far East and Israel). His roles include Count, Rigoletto, Germont, Ford, Flying Dutchman, Alberich and Scarpia. In 2010 he sang Nekrotzar Le Grand Macabre at the Adelaide Festival, a role he also sang in 2011 at the Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires. In 2010 he sang King Lear in ETO’s world premiere of Alexander Goehr’s Promised End.

Jacqueline Varsey

Jacqueline Varsey

Goneril (Lear's eldest daughter)

Jacqueline, born in London, was awarded an Entrance Scholarship to GSMD where she won prizes in the Liza Lehmann and Schubert competitions. She also received a bursary to study French song at Aldeburg with Suzanne Danco and Hugue Cuenod. Operatic roles include Mimi/ La bohème; Micaëla/ Carmen; title role/ Madame Butterfly; Nedda/ Pagliacci; Gretel/ Hänsel und Gretel. She created the role of L’Apparizione in Federico Bonetti Amedola’s opera Pergolesi: L’Apparizione e Mito (Jesi Festival, Italy) and her appearances with ENO have included New Ofglen/ The Handmaid’s Tale and Adjutant de Murat/ War & Peace. She has a wide concert and oratorio repertoire and has broadcast live on BBC Radio 2’s Friday Night is Music Night. Jacqueline previously sung Goneril with ETO in the world premiere of Alexander Goehr’s Promised End.

Julia Sporsen

Julia Sporsen

Regan (Lear's second daughter)

Julia Sporsén was born in Gothenburg, Sweden. She studied at RAM and graduated from the Opera Course with a DipRAM. Operatic roles include Arminda/ La finta giardiniera; Armida/ Rinaldo; Iphise/ Dardanus (cond. Laurence Cummings); title role/ Iolanta; Violetta/ La traviata (Clonter Opera); Donna Anna/ Don Giovanni (ETO); Tebaldo/ Don Carlos (ON, recorded for Chandos); cover Musetta/ La bohème (SO; ENO). Last year Julia made her debut at ENO singing Jano and covering the title role in Jenůfa. Recent highlights include Gianetta/cover Adina/ L’elisir d’amore; Micaëla/ Carmen (OHP); Julia in Torsten Rasch’s Duchess of Malfi (ENO). Julia recently made her debut recital at the Wigmore Hall, and later this season she’ll sing First Squire/Flower Maiden/ Parsifal (ENO).

Lina Markeby

Lina Markeby

Cordelia/Fool (Lear's youngest daughter/fool)

Lina was born in Sweden, started her singing studies there and completed them at GSMD. She has recently performed Cherubino/ Le Nozze di Figaro and Dorabella/ Così fan tutte (Théatre des Champs Elysées; Atelier Lyrique de Tourcoing) with Jean-Claude Malgoire. Other roles include Arcane/ Teseo (ETO), Second Woman in Katie Mitchell´s After Dido (ENO; The Young Vic); Second Woman in Deborah Warner’s Dido & Aeneas (Les Arts Florissants for Wiener Festwochen; Opéra Comique; The Netherlands Opera); Messaggiera/Ninfa/ L’Orfeo (Drottningholm); Carmen/ La Tragédie de Carmen, Third Sprite/ Rusalka (both Wexford Festival); Doris/Zaide/ L’Europe Galante (Academie Baroque d’Ambronay, cond. William Christie). In concert she has performed the roles of Idamante/ Idomeneo (Chelsea Opera Group), Idamante and Sesto in extracts from Idomeneo and La Clemenza di Tito (Mozart Galas, English Baroque Soloists, cond. John Eliot Gardiner). Future plans include Sesto/ Giulio Cesare with Jean-Claude Malgoire (Atelier Lyrique de Tourcoing at L’Opéra Royal; Versailles; on tour across France).

Nigel Robson

Nigel Robson

Earl of Gloucester (Lear's vassal)

Nigel Robson was born in Argyleshire and studied with Alexander Young and Gustave Sacher. Operatic roles Bajazet/ Tamerlano; title role/ Peter Grimes ; The Witch/ Hansel and Gretel, Laca/ Jenufa, Captain Vere/ Billy Budd (all for WNO); Ulisse/ Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria title role/ Idomeneo The Madwoman/ Curlew River); Septimus/ Theodora UK premiere of Alexander Goehr’s Kantan and Damask Drum. Recordings include Handel’s Tamerlano, Jephtha and Monteverdi Vespers (Gardiner/Phillips Classics). Recently premiered ‘The Tenor Man’s Story’, a self developed theatre peice for Enschede Festival in Holland. At centre is poem written by his father about returning to Campbeltown, Scotland to see the grave of his sister Christine who died there, aged two.

Adrian Dwyer

Adrian Dwyer

Edgar (Gloucester's son)

Adrian Dwyer studied at GSMD and the NOS. Opera includes: Andres Wozzeck, Jaquino Fidelio, Arturo Lucia di Lammermoor, Officer The Passenger (ENO); Sam Kaplan Street Scene (Toulon); Rodolfo La Bohème (Los Angeles, Cape Town Opera, Royal Albert Hall); Almaviva Il barbiere di Siviglia, Macduff Macbeth (Scottish Opera); Alfredo La traviata, Almaviva (Opera Queensland), Ismaele Nabucco (State Opera of South Australia); Janek Makropulos Case, Cherevin House of the Dead, Robert Skin Deep, Miroslav Mr Broucek (ON); Tamino Magic Flute (OTC, Grange Park); Hagenbach La Wally, Don Ottavio Don Giovanni (Holland Park); Steuermann Der Fliegende Holländer (NI Opera).

Nicholas Garrett

Nicholas Garrett

Edmund (Gloucester's bastard)

Nicholas studied at Trinity College, London and is the recipient of a Wolfson foundation award. His forty stage roles include Escamillo/ Carmen (Opera North); Sourin/ Pique Dame (Scottish Opera); Basilio/ Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Don Giovanni (both OHP); Baron Douphol/ La Traviata, Angelotti/ Tosca, dir. David McVicar (both ENO); Lear/ The Vision of Lear, Wolf/Cinderella’s Prince/ Into the Woods (both ROH2); Fiorello/ Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Opera National de Paris). Recent credits include Carl Magnus/ A Little Night Music (Théâtre du Châtelet); title role/ Don Giovanni (OHP). He made his debut with the ROH Covent Garden in 2001 in Palestrina. He created the roles of Federzoni/Sagredo in the world premiere of Galilėe at the Grand Théatre de Genève. Future plans include Anthony Hope/ Sweeney Todd (Théâtre du Châtelet).

Jeffrey Stewart

Jeffrey Stewart

Knight/Servant (Lear's retainer)

Highlights of his work in the United Kingdom include Tamino/ Die Zauberflöte (Opera Northern Ireland); Rinuccio/ Gianni Schicchi, Nemorino/ L’Elisir D’Amore, Edgardo/ Lucia Di Lammermoor, Federico/ L’Arlesiana (all for OHP); Pinkerton Madama Butterfly (Raymond Gubbay Ltd, Royal Albert Hall), and appearances with ON and ENO. He made his debut at Covent Garden as Conte Ivrea in Verdi Un Giorno Di Regno. International credits include Ernesto/ Don Pasquale (Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Düsseldorf); title role/ Les Contes D’Hoffmann; Alfred/ Die Fledermaus; Alfredo/ La Traviata. A regular oratorio and recital performer, his appearances have included all the major London venues, as well as debuts in Dublin, Vienna, Budapest, Paris, Belgium, Italy and the USA including acclaimed performances of Schumann’s Dichterliebe. For ETO Jeffrey has previously sung Duca/ Rigoletto and Nadir/ Les Pecheurs De Perles.

Adam Tunnicliffe

Adam Tunnicliffe

Servant/Captain

Canadian tenor Adam Tunnicliffe read music at Christ Church, Oxford and studied as a postgraduate at GSMD. Roles with ETO include Sandy The Lighthouse, Albert Albert Herring, Lensky Eugene Onegin, Don Basilio The Marriage of Figaro, Mr. Porcupine Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Mask The Duenna, and Captain Promised End (Alexander Goehr, world premiere). Other roles include Rinuccio Gianni Schicchi at OHP, Fracasso La Finta Semplice, Apollonia La Canterina and Sumers in L’italiana in Londra for Bampton Classical Opera.

Emotionally, intellectually and dramatically it’s a wonderfully powerful, intense Lear. As in all Goehr’s theatre pieces, there are no unnecessary notes. Everything tells.

Opera Magazine

Conway’s staging was intelligent, unfussy, musical, singer-cooperative and honest in a way that has become rare today, without smutty embellishments…

Opera Magazine

Goehr has succeeded where many failed, turning King Lear into opera

The Times

Goehr’s sympathetically written and sensitively scored opera in Conway’s highly effective staging deserves success as it leaves London and embarks on it’s national tour. Catch it if you can

Opera Britannia

James Conway’s stylish production for English Touring Opera, with striking designs by Adam Wiltshire…, guided by Ryan Wigglesworth’s lucid conducting

The Guardian

That the initial impact is so powerful is partly thanks to the perfection of the performance – no lesser term will do for this astonishing achievement of English Touring Opera

The Spectator

English Touring Opera mounted a skilful, well cast-staging by James Conway, expertly played by the Aurora Orchestra under the baton of Ryan Wigglesworth and with Roderick Earle in the title role

The Observer

But if Goehr has called it right when it comes to Lear, I hope he has called it wrong when it comes to this being his last opera. And if, as I suspect may be the case, this exemplary collaboration with English Touring Opera was also partly intended as a calling card for the country’s main opera houses, then I hope it will result in an invitation.

Times Literary Supplement

I enjoyed Promised End very much indeed. Apart from the work itself and the musical performances, I was struck by great range of theatrical arts on display: stage design, use of props and stage business, lighting, costume, make-up, in fact all the direction, and not least the wonderful acting and interactions. I will remember Nigel Robson’s performance for ever. Congratulations to ETO for the whole achievement.

Audience Member at the Linbury Studio Theatre, London

Showing At

  1. Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House, London
    9th Oct 2010 - 7:45 pm
  2. Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House, London
    11th Oct 2010 - 7:45 pm
  3. Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House, London
    14th Oct 2010 - 7:45 pm
  4. Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House, London
    16th Oct 2010 - 7:45 pm
  5. Malvern Theatres
    21st Oct 2010 - 7:30 pm
  6. De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill
    26th Oct 2010 - 7:30 pm
  7. Exeter Northcott Theatre
    29th Oct 2010 - 7:30 pm
  8. The Hawth, Crawley
    1st Nov 2010 - 7:30 pm
  9. Cambridge Arts Theatre
    3rd Nov 2010 - 7:30 pm
  10. Cambridge Arts Theatre
    6th Nov 2010 - 7:30 pm
  11. Snape Maltings Concert Hall
    26th Nov 2010 - 7:30 pm

Your Comments

  1. Could you let me know, when they are available, details of where and when Promised End will be performmed

    Said josephine woods at 09:42am on 8th Feb 2010

  2. Dates and venues to be announced soon - we're just finishing confirming them!

    Said Thalia (ETO) at 15:16pm on 10th Feb 2010

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