The Art of Venus
first performed at RADA Studio Theatre, London, as part of the 2017 Tête à Tête Opera Festival
5 singers, 4 instruments, 35 minutes
The global search has begun for the first humans to set foot on Mars and make it their home. In 2032, as the spacecraft hurtles through space, humanity holds its breath… can the planet be colonised? But will Venus take it lying down? A short, post-baroque opera about the power of the gods - and a myth waiting to happen. Contains adult themes.
Venus Kate Symonds-Joy (mezzo-soprano)
Mars Dominic Bowe (baritone)
Soprano Earthling Helen Bailey
Tenor Earthling Daniel Joy
Bass Earthling Christopher Foster
Music Edward Lambert
Text Max Waller
Conductor Olivia Clarke
Director Rebecca Meltzer
Accordion Bartosz Glowacki
Violin Maria Fiore Mazzarini
Cello Tom Isaac
Opera With A Title
first performed at Kings Place, London as part of the 2015 Tete a Tete Opera Festival
production made possible with support from the RVW Trust, Golsoncott Foundation and Gemma Classical Music Trust
Sung in English and Spanish. Duration 50 minutes
Drawn from two plays by Lorca, this surrealist opera explores the theme of identity. What the actors are playing, and what is happening to them in the real world, are confused: they bring their fantasies to bear on their performances while their characters invade their own personalities. Thus, role-play and questions of gender are examined, each from the other's viewpoint, as well as the nature of theatre and its relevance to everyday life. Includes material of an adult nature
THE SPECTATOR, a Fascist sympathiser - bass
DIRECTOR (FEDERICO), a playwright & impresario (male) - mezzo-soprano
MANUEL, a stagehand - baritone
SOFIA, a singer - soprano
JOSÉ, a singer - tenor
The Tenor, Baritone & Bass also appear as THE THREE WIZARDS on WHITE HORSES
Instruments: horn, violin, cello, (digital) harpsichord
Peyee Chen (Sofia)
Laura Kelly-McInroy (Director)
Daniel Joy (José)
James Schouten (Manuel)
Christopher Foster (Spectator)
Daniel de Souza horn
Ariel Lang violin
Lydia Hillerudh cello
Edward Lambert digital harpsichord
Image design: Yulia Shtern
Masks: Colin Mayes
Director: David Edwards
Conductor: Ed Spanjaard
The Catfish Conundrum
first performed at Kings Place, London as part of the 2014 Tete a Tete Opera Festival and revived for the Brighton Fringe, May 2015
Duration: about 35 minutes
London, 1971: a gallery exhibits a tank of catfish. The Press is indignant: ‘Animal cruelty!’ 'Is this art?' Spike Milligan, the Arts Council, the artist and, finally, President Reagan all have their say. And the Catfish? Could this be the only opera in which the heroine is killed - and eaten? A musical potboiler!
A Catfish (soprano)
Lord Arnold Goodman, Chairman of the Arts Council (bass)
Spike Milligan, a protester & celebrity comedian (tenor)
Newton Harrison, the artist (baritone)
Ronald Reagan, later President of USA (mezzo-soprano)
Narrative chorus: members of the cast
[Electric] violin & cello
Six Characters in Search of a Stage
chamber opera after the play by Pirandello
first performed May 2014 mini-tour: Brighton Fringe, The Forge Camden, Chiswick & Kintbury
Duration 55 minutes
Six Characters enter an empty theatre determined to stage their drama - but first they need to convince the sceptical Director that their opera is really good. We are drawn into a tragic tale of incest, murder and suicide worthy of any grand opera.
But is it for real? If it actually happened - how can it be true? The Characters' mysterious story raises more questions than it can possibly answer...
Chamber Opera after the play El maleficio de la mariposa by Federico Garcia Lorca
for 7 singers and 7 instrumentalists 70’ 2017 (awaiting production)
The Butterfly’s Spell is a chamber opera based on an early play by Federico Garcia Lorca. An expressionist or symbolist drama arising from the writer’s identity issues, it depicts the world of insects - giving fine opportunities for exotic costumes and staging. It tells how a Poet Beetle rejects the love of the devoted Sylvia in favour of an impossible infatuation with a fragile Butterfly whose destiny it is to fly away, leaving the Poet to die of a broken heart. A sad tale, but a comic opera which also features a drunken Scorpion, an overbearing Mother and Two Fireflies which glow in the dark. Suitable for all ages.
Duration: 70 minutes (Act 1 - 40 minutes, Act 2 - 30 minutes, interval optional)
Sylvia, a young lady beetle & The Butterfly - soprano (& dancer)
Two Young Fireflies, girl & boy - soprano & mezzo-soprano
Mother Beetle, an elderly lady - contralto
The Poet Beetle, Mother Beetle’s son - tenor
Doctor Cockroach, healer and teacher - baritone
The Old Scorpion, a forester - bass
Violin, viola, cello, flute (+ piccolo, alto flute), bassoon, marimba, harp
Text and adaptation © Edward Lambert 2017. The author's rights are asserted.
The philosophising Doctor tells the audience how he once heard a tale about a young Poet Beetle who fell in love with a Butterfly and came to a sorry end. As the stage is transformed into the insects' village and the sun rises in a brilliant dawn, he meets the Poet's Mother to whom he expresses some foreboding at the signs he has seen. He makes his way home and the Mother goes about her chores, while Two Young Fireflies introduce Sylvia, a wealthy young lady who is threatening to drown herself for love. The Mother knows full well that the object of her infatuation is her son, the Poet, and when he enters she resolves to see the couple married. He, however, is pre-occupied with writing a poem and there follows a lively trio. When the young pair is finally left alone, he cannot bring himself to propose and Sylvia departs broken-hearted.
In the heat of the day, the Old Scorpion enters the scene. He is rough and rude and constantly drunk. He teases and chases the young Fireflies, who are rescued when the Mother rushes in, brandishing her broom. Just at that moment, an injured Butterfly is brought in (played by the same singer as Sylvia). Everyone gathers round, concerned for her fate and awe-struck by her beauty. Her wounds are tended to, and she sings of strange things in far-off places. It quickly becomes obvious that the Poet has fallen deeply in love with her. The act ends in fear and sorrow as the sun sets.
By way of an interlude, in the cool of the evening the insects relax, singing a famous ballad about the moon disguised as a lady who came to the gypsy's forge and abducted a young lad.
The Doctor resumes the story. The Butterfly is brought to a forest clearing bathed in moonlight which will help cure her wounds. Her song becomes more melodious as she recovers and the glowing Fireflies - who drink sweet dew-drops and sing of love - appear in her dreams. The Poet enters, filled with longing for the beautiful Butterfly and for a few moments their voices intertwine. They know, however, that her destiny is to fly away.
The Scorpion is now hungry and, coming across the Butterfly, decides to make her into a tasty meal. The Poet protects her, but the Scorpion's tail lashes out at him and he is stung by its deadly venom. The Mother’s stick prevents further catastrophe, but she is too late to save her son who dies as the dawn breaks and the Butterfly takes flight. As the Fireflies cover the Poet in rose petals, the cast reminds us that the Poet's songs will live forever.
text after Edgar Allan Poe
Semi-opera for baritone solo (The Narrator) and Voices SATB (The Book)
Instruments: Bb Clarinet, Bass Clarinet in Bb, Viola, Cello, Piano 22’ 2013
A visitor arrives at a remote castle and is disturbed by the portrait of a young woman.
As her husband painted her, the picture came alive - while she lived on only in his art...
First performances in association with The Opera Box at The Brunel Museum, London and The Croft Hall, Hungerford, in September 2017 (with solo piano)
Narrator Samuel Pantcheff
The Book Jennifer Witton, Elizabeth Karani, Daniel Joy, James Schouten
Director Mark Burns
Music Director/Pianist Edward Lambert
Lighting Designer Fridthjofur Thorsteinsson
Assistant Director Morgan Richards