An opera for solo baritone by Pete M. Wyer.
Performed by Adam Green
Shown as work in progress at the Tete a Tete Opera Festival, July 26th and 27th, 2014
“There is the feeling of exhilaration as we enter the descent. As we rush toward the ground we experience a new gravity – somewhere in the gut – pushing us back towards the sky, we sense it in the body. But always, the pull of the earth is so compelling.”
Composed and written by Pete M Wyer
Performed by Adam Green, directed by Zachary James
Saturday 26 July 20.05 – 20.45 & Sunday 27 July 16.05-16.45
White Lab, Central Saint Martins, London
A new opera to be premiered at London’s Tête à Tête festival by
leading British composer Pete M Wyer is an unflinching and ultimately
redemptive story of psychological breakdown. The first act of the
opera-in-progress, Gut, will be performed by baritone singer Adam
Green and accompanied by a film and music installation.
London-based composer Pete M Wyer said: “The writer Ben Okri once
said to me: ‘The loudest sounds in the universe are inside us and
opera is the form that best gives them voice’. With this new work, I
aimed to give voice to that inner landscape, through the story of an
individual surviving a psychological breakdown and suicide attempt,
and then finding a sense of peace, even happiness.”
Mental illness and breakdown touches virtually every one of us. Mental
health charity SANE notes that one in four of us will be affected by
mental illness at some point in our lives, which can lead to profound
emotions of despair and thoughts of suicide.
The first act of Gut will be premiered by Tête à Tête on July 26 and
27 at the opera festival’s new home, Kings Place in London. Tête à
Tête is the country’s most prolific pioneer in the field of new opera,
producing over 50 new works over the last 15 years, and hosting a
further 200 as part of Tête à Tête.
1. Pete M Wyer is a London-based composer who has composed works for
the London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal
Opera House ROH2, Juilliard Orchestra and many others. His seven
operatic/music theatre works include ‘Johnny’s Midnight Goggles’,
‘Numinous City’ and ’57 Hours In The House Of Culture’. His most
recent work was the first ‘headphone choir’ setting of the poem ‘And
Death Shall Have No Dominion’ in New York as part of the British
Council’s centenary celebrations of poet Dylan Thomas.
Adam Green, baritone studied at St John’s College, Cambridge, the
Royal Academy of Music, London, and the National Opera Studio. Winner
of the Song Prize at the National Mozart Competition and the Great Elm
Competition he was awarded the prestigious Ian Fleming and Sybil
Tutton Awards and has sung in numerous opera internationally.
Zachary James, Director was recently Associate Director at the
National Theatre on Yellow Face by David Henry Hwang. His recent work
as lead director includes Tree Of Seeds by Kayhan Irani at Rich Mix,
and Challenge by various authors at the Soho Theatre, and film work.
2. The story of Gut
Act 1: The protagonist relates his view of the world and his deep
sense of isolation and dislocation. He plans to end his life.
Act 2: In a psychiatric ward the protagonist is removed from the last
vestiges of ‘normality’ and immersed in a shadow-world where the
boundaries between what is external and what is internal no longer
exist. He must encounter his inner demons alongside the clinical world
of psychiatric care.
Act 3: The protagonist survives his suicide attempt in a way that
seems mysterious and almost miraculous: “For all the suffering and
striving/The sounds of life embrace an incomprehensibly wonderful
harmony/Entering the weightlessness of love, half-turned to heaven/For
seeing that this is a garden and it is spring/I try to remember that.”