Once upon a time, fifty years ago, Apollo (the sun-god) was President of Everything, while his dim sister (the moon-goddess) was just a cabaret artiste in a seedy nightclub. As the Americans invade the moon in July 1969, events take a sinister turn and chaos ensues. Can the gods sort it out or is the “dickhead” President too dysfunctional? Adding a bonkers twist to the Apollo 11 commemorations, this fun-opera investigates our fascination for all things lunar. Apollo’s Mission confuses fact with fiction, earth with moon, god-like humans with a Trump-like god - and then with now.
August 2019 The Place Theatre London
as part of the 2019 Tête-à-Tête Festival of new opera
“An amazing mash-up of myth and science… presented in a fast paced manner with the scenes overlapping and inter-cutting, and the hard-working cast of six singers and two dancers playing multiple roles. Lambert's music moved between the popular and the more serious… This was a terrific ensemble show, and certainly made you think. There was an element of puzzlement too, but the sheer pell-mell nature of the piece and its deliberate car crash of competing facts and fantasies was rather appealing.” (Apollo’s Mission August 2019 Planet Hugill)
text Norman Welch
music Edward Lambert
staging & movement Korina Kokkali
assistant director Marilena Sitaropoulou
design Charlie Wood
Natasha Agarwal (mezzo-soprano)
Helen Bailey (soprano)
Dominic Bowe (baritone)
Daniel Joy (tenor)
Sofia Livotov (soprano)
Samuel Lom (bass)
Becky Stenning & Marilena Sitaropoulou (dancers)
Catriona Scott (clarinet)
Luke Wyeth (percussion)
Susan Holmes (piano)
Michael Papadopoulos (conductor)
Korina Kokkali (direction & movement) graduated from Royal Central School of Speech & Drama with an MA in Movement Directing and Teaching. She has degrees in Theatre Studies and in Dance. She has worked as a Movement Director with Greek National Opera and Greek National Theatre, and as a movement assistant in Blackheath Opera, RADA and Oxford Drama School.
Michael Papadopoulos is a British repetiteur and conductor. Recent conducting engagements have included Bach’s St John Passion and Brahms’s Ein Deutsches Requiem, as well as frequent performances and workshopping of contemporary opera. From September he takes up the position of Emerging Artist Repetiteur at Scottish Opera.
Sofia Livotov (soprano) is an international performer of opera, art-songs and oratorio. Her stage appearances include the Lucerne Opera House, Leiden Theatre, Tonhalle Zurich and TivoliVredenburg. Recent engagements include a concert tour through Indonesia, opera productions in the German Alps and a recital in Berlin with the pianist Natalia Pegarkova-Barenboim.
Lyric soprano Helen Bailey was born in Middlesbrough and trained at Trinity College of Music and The Royal Academy of Music. She was the Buxton Festival Young Artist in2016 and Helen performed in Lambert’s The Art of Venus in 2017. Upcoming roles include Ilia (Idomeneo, Rose Opera) and Adina (L’Elisir d’amore, Red Earth Opera).
Daniel Joy (tenor) studied music at Durham University where he gained a first class music degree and was a choral scholar at Durham Cathedral, before studying on the postgraduate vocal course at RCM, and graduated with distinction from the opera course at GSMD. He has worked for opera companies including Wexford, Glyndebourne, Grange Park, Opera North, Opera Brava, ENO, Swansea City Opera and Scottish Opera.'
Natasha Agarwal (mezzo-soprano) recently completed her Masters at the Royal Academy of Music. Performance highlights: principal roles at the Royal Opera House Mumbai and Warwick Arts Centre and soloist in St.Matthew Passion with Trevor Pinnock. She is also a trained dancer and won the “All England Young Dancer of the Year”.
Marilena Sitaropoulou is a performer-director-choreographer from Greece and her workidentifies as devised, physical theatre. Her background is in contemporary dance andclassical ballet. In 2017 she graduated in Theatre Artsfrom The American College of Greece and iscurrently studying Advanced Theatre Practice at RCSSD. Last year, she debuted her Solo Show ‘’Night Out’’ in London and received an Award ofRecognition for her short movement improvisation film ’conf-lict-dential’ in theBest Shorts Competition, CA.
Becky Stenning (Dancer) has recently graduated in Musical Theatre from Millennium Performing Arts and her theatre credits include Annie (Arts Theatre West End); Riot Offspring (Sadler’s Wells); Wildlife (Bathway Theatre).
Charlie Wood (design) is a recent graduate of Central Saint Martins and works in design, performance, writing and music. They helped create Stacy Makishi’s 2018 show ‘The Comforter’ and have worked with Gillian Wearing, John Cameron Mitchell, Flabbergast Theatre, Rose English and at the Royal Opera House. They created the musical ‘Beneath the Roses’ at the Platform Theatre in 2017 and the musical murder film ‘The Tragedy of Impossible Dreams’ in 2019.
Samuel Lom (bass) recently completed his Masters at GSMD. Last year Samuel performed Prince Yamadori (Madame Butterfly) and Father (Hansel and Gretel) at the Iford Arts Festival. Other opera credits include Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro), Seneca (L’Incoronazione di Poppea), Morales/Zuniga (Carmen) for Opera Warwick, Leporello (Don Giovanni) for Hampstead Garden Opera, Papageno (Die Zauberflöte) for Midland Opera, Conte (Le Nozze di Figaro) for the International Bel Canto Academy, Pluton (Hippolyte et Aricie) for Ensemble OrQuesta and Polephemus (Acis and Galatea) for L'Offerta Musicale di Venezia. He recently gave a recital of newly commissioned works about mental health called 'Music on the Mind' at the Milton Court Concert Hall.
Dominic Bowe (baritone) is a Royal Academy Opera graduate and former Alvarez Young Artist for Garsington Opera. Operatic roles include Figaro (Barber of Seville), Eugene Onegin, Morales and Dancairo (Carmen). He has premiered Mad King Suibhne and Aurora by Noah Mosley for Bury Court and The Art of Venus by Ed Lambert at Tête à Tête.
Catriona Scott (clarinet) has premièred and recorded works by Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Cecilia McDowall, David Matthews and Joseph Phibbs. She recorded James Francis Brown’s Clarinet Concerto for Resonus Classics in 2018, and appeared as musician-actor in the Irish tour of the opera ‘The Nightingale and The Rose’. Catriona studied at St Hilda’s College, Oxford, and the Royal Northern College of Music.
Luke Wyeth (drums) graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and is a teacher for Berkshire Maestros and The University of Reading. Amongst tours around the UK and abroad, he has also played on the West End musical ‘The Lion King’ and performed in the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games.
Susan Holmes (piano) graduated with a Masters in Piano Accompaniment from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. She has performed in the Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, and Wigmore Hall. She was the pianist for Opera Up Close’s Die Fledermaus, works with several choirs and is the Principal Accompanist at Downe House School