We all know Robin Hood, don’t we? The righteous here that steals from the rich to give to the poor?
Well, what if we didn’t? What if there was something else behind that facade, a dark secret perhaps?
For our third production, we recast the Robin Hood story under a different light, in a contemporary retelling by librettists Zoe Palmer and Rebecca Hurst that re-thought his struggles and motivations. Set to beautiful music by up-and-coming composer Dani Howard, and in a multi-floor production directed by Polly Graham, this production breathed new life into a familiar story by bringing out a side of Robin Hood and the characters around him that is deeper than what we see in the old tales.
Read more about it in the words of the creative team in our blog!
Dani is quickly gaining international recognition with regular performances across Europe, the US and Asia. This year she received her Royal Albert Hall Debut with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic performing “Argentum” – commissioned by the Royal Philharmonic Society and Classic FM, and has recently had her works performed by the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong, Southbank Sinfonia (London) and Multi-Story Orchestra among others, and was composer in Residence at the Suoni Dal Golfo Festival of Music and Poetry during the summer of 2018 in Italy.
Zoë’s work has been performed and toured across the UK and Europe. Current projects include collaborations in the USA with Moving Star Ensemble (Carnegie Hall) and Pittsburgh Festival Opera and a development commission for the ROH in association with Leicester Curve.
In addition to libretti, Rebecca also writes poetry, short fiction and essays. She has a PhD in Creative Writing and her work has been published in several magazines. She is also involved with the Voicings Collective and arts project Four Quarters.
Polly‘s directing work includes productions for Welsh National Opera, Independent Opera, Blackheath Halls, Theatre St. Gallen, Haydn 2021 Festival and Yellow Earth Theatre. She if founder of Loud Crowd, and director of their new production The Emperor of Atlantis. She is also Artistic Director at Longborough Festival Opera, and has conceived and run education projects for ENO, Glyndebourne and WNO.
Nicholas trained at the Hochschule für Musik, Cologne and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London. Previous opera experience includes appearances at ROH’s Linbury Studio, English Touring Opera, Paris Opéra Comique and Longborough Festival, amongst others.
Sian is a graduate from the Welsh International Academy of Voice. Her operatic experience includes performances for with Welsh National Opera, Opera UpClose and Hampstead Garden Opera, for example, and international appearances in Malta, France, Norway, Finland, Estonia and Croatia.
Lorna is a Scottish soprano who attended RSAMD and the Royal College of Music. She has a number of concert and recital appearances to her credit, and in opera this includes appearances with the Halle Handel Festival, Glyndebourne Touring Opera and the English Concert, for example, as well as roles in the Netherlands and Sweden.
Cliff attended the Royal College of Music. Apart from being part of the cast of our debut production, Snow, he has performed in numerous occasions in the UK, Malta and France, including appearances at the Royal Albert Hall in London and the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris. Cliff has also recently founded ‘The Marcy Foundation’, which will raise awareness and tackle issues including domestic violence, mental health, child abuse, drug and substance abuse, and HIV.
April graduated from The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama with a First Class (BA HONS) in Theatre Design. Some of her notable opera design credits include work for Theater St. Gallen, Switzerland, Blackheath Halls Opera and Welsh National Opera, for which ‘Le Vin Herbé’ received the Wales Theatre Award for ‘Best Opera Production’.
Claire began working as a lighting designer after having studied Mathematics at Oxford. Her credits include UK and international tours for Blackeyed Theatre as well as designs for Little Angel Theatre and Arcola Theatre, amongst others, and lighting designs for dance productions.
Andrew is a writer and director, and has trained
at the Oxford School of Drama and at the University of York. He has notably directed four plays for new-theatre writing company The Hardy and is currently associate director at Sands Films Studios.
AK Lie has a BA honours degree in Theatre Arts: Design and Technical Theatre from Middlesex University London, and recently finished her MA in Costume Design at University of the Arts London. Her recent work includes the costume-design for Man-Up by Temperamental TC, an Eddie Nominated Performance at Edinburgh Fringe 2017, and she was the ASM for TheOperaStory’s previous two productions, Snow and Goldilocks and The Three Little Pigs.
Robin Hood is a witty, accessible new work that would appeal to both opera buffs and hardened thespians. Its greatest strength lies in its score -a sophisticated and incredibly beautiful piece that surely places Howard amongst the best of contemporary British opera composers.
A striking evening of music theatre. Central to this was Dani Howard’s richly rewarding music. Added to this some highly expressive and singable lines, and the result was more than highly promising as a first opera, and certainly makes me want to know what she will do next.
This was an admirable staging of a new opera, and The Opera Story co-founders Manuel Fajardo and Hamish Mackay deserve congratulations on the success of their project. The relative lavishness of the production speaks to their skill in raising funds, and in giving the opportunity to a young composer to write her first opera they may have launched a major career.
there was insight to be had both into the writing and performance of opera by those at an early stage in their careers and, just as important, into the success of so worthy an initiative. I look forward to seeing – and hearing – what The Opera Story brings us next.
For our third production we returned to the CLF Art Café / Bussey Building in Peckham, the venue of our sold-out debut in 2017. This live performance and clubbing complex corresponds very well to what we want to achieve with our productions, which is to allow you to feel the magic of opera as close as possible, and to break the distance between the performers and the public. Our production used two floors of the building, each of them representing part of the universe that the characters in our opera inhabit.
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