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The Birds: opera

posted on 2023-06-08, 06:35 authored by Ed HughesEd Hughes
Satirical classic The Birds, Aristophanes’s fantastical comedy, is the inspiration behind this opera by Ed Hughes and Glyn Maxwell. The Birds takes a satirical look at the inescapable role of the city in modern life and explores the utopian dream of a life without lawyers, stockbrokers and accountants. Alongside surreal and slapstick humour, Glyn Maxwell’s libretto reflects on the pace and complexity of life in a modern commercial city.


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British Music Information Centre (CV: Contemporary Voices)



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Music theatre work for 1 actor, 10 singers, cello, percussion, live electronics and tape. Composer - Ed Hughes. (2005). Librettist - Glyn Maxwell. (2005). Commissioned by City of London Festival for The Opera Group with the award of the Gresham College Prize. First performance: 29 July 2005, City of London Festival. Additional performances: Salamanca Festival (Spain), Cheltenham Festival, Buxton Opera House, Oxford Playhouse. Broadcast: (extracts) BBC Radio 3, 28 July 2005. Score publisher: BMIC Contemporary Voices, London. The submission consists of a score of the work published by the British Music Information Centre (ISMN M 22551 464 2). The following is supplied in a box file of supplementary materials intended to support Dr. Ed Hughes's submission: 1. DVD of a performance of the work at the Buxton Opera House. 2. Newspaper interview with Ed Hughes and The Opera Group's director, John Fulljames. The development of the score to The Birds included working on a method to use both speech and song to register different worlds. By moving from the near-naturalism of rhythmicised speech to the artifice of song, the piece distinguishes between the corrupt human world from which the protagonist escapes, and the idealised bird world in which he finds himself, and which he rapidly compromises.

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