By Chris Ruel
“glass human,” a new chamber opera by composer Samantha Fernando and writer and sound artist Melanie Wilson, will have its premiere during the fall of 2022 at Glyndebourne.
The opera explores the theme of loneliness, featuring the stories of three individuals and their experiences with loneliness. A young student lives away from home for the first time and hears disturbing voices in her head, a Syrian refugee seeks asylum, and a bereaved older man experiences the first symptoms of dementia.
Composer Samantha Fernando said in a press statement, “The characters reflect three very different experiences of loneliness but also a shared desire to connect with another person. That’s something they are all striving for, something we can all relate to, I think.”
Fernando and Wilson added a unique aspect; a fourth character called sinkhole, which underpins the opera and acts as the sonic embodiment of loneliness as the voices of real people speak about their experiences.
In a press release, sound artist and writer Wilson stated, “Opera today can take many varied forms, and this project is an example of that multiplicity in its use of electronics, contemporary vocal styles and a horizontal relationship between the instrumentalists and the singers on stage. We are excited to offer our audiences a fresh experience of what opera might feel like.”
“glass human” is scored for viola, cello, accordion, harp, and percussion and will be performed by five musicians from Glyndebourne Tour Orchestra. Joining them are three soloists, soprano Anna Cavaliero, mezzo-soprano Camille Maalawy and bass Stephen Bowen. The production is directed by Lucy Bailey and designed by Joanna Parker. Ashley Beauchamp conducts.
Performance Dates and Locations:
Oct. 28-29, 2022, at Jerwood Studio, Glyndebourne
Nov. 5 at MK Gallery in Milton Keynes
Nov. 12 at The Studio at The Marlowe in Canterbury
Nov. 19 at Stage Two at the Norwich Theatre Royal
Nov. 26 at The Tung Auditorium at the University of Liverpool
Dec. 5 at Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts at the University of Sussex in Brighton