RW. Pause. FF.

Well hello… I can’t believe it’s almost the end of the year, but I can believe that it’s been a while since our last update - on the upside it means that your inboxes aren’t filled with the unnecessary any more than they need to be :)

The last time we were in touch was, I think, just before the Summer. It’s been fairly busy since then and now we’re in a short period of reflection before a new cycle begins. Very exciting.

In brief; after the Royal Opera House, Carolina and I had a few days working through some ideas for Sheriff and also for 'Tonight the World' with Daria Martin (more about that later) - we worked with the amazing performer, Hayley Carmichael and the brilliant dancer Vinicius Salles. As I'll mention later, this was the final step of a workshop which allowed Carolina then to start writing; a new departure for us and one that we're very excited about.

Once we'd done this, I went off to work on a production of Ariadne auf Naxos by Strauss, at the Aix Festival - it was performed in the very beautiful Archevêché theatre, an outdoor space and a truly magical environment. We had an absolutely outstanding ensemble cast who were a joy to work with.

Back stage for Ariadne in Aix
Back stage for Ariadne in Aix

After Aix, Carolina and I went to the lovely Snape Maltings to work on developing a new opera with composer Sivan Eldar and Librettist/Playwright, Cordelia Lynn. Snape Maltings is where Benjamin Britten wrote a lot of his work and is now a centre for opera creation and composition. This was the first of 2 short workshops we did to explore how visual and physical languages can be incorporated from the start of a process of creating an opera - essentially another strand of writing that can be woven together with the music and text from the earliest stages, rather than being imposed once the piece is written. We did another short workshop in October and the plan is to now look for a commission. The piece is called ‘Like Flesh’ and more information on its genesis can be found here. We worked with truly amazing singers Juliet Fraser  Elaine Mitchener and Jimmy Holliday, cellist Séverine Ballon and again with Vinicius Salles - Carolina also performed and I directed. We’ll keep you posted on how it develops!

Following that I briefly went to the Czech Republic to continue my collaboration with artist and filmmaker, Daria Martin. This time we were filming a piece called ‘Tonight the World’. It’s a fascinating film which we developed from the dream diaries left behind by Daria's Grandmother, Susi Stiassni. Susi had to flee Czechoslovakia and the Nazis at the start of the Second World War. We filmed at the home that her father built, the Stiassni Villa, in Brno. The film will be screened at the Curve Gallery in the Barbican from the end of January 2019. 

Then… the wonderful summer holidays and finally some proper time with the kids… we had a spectacular trip across the north of Spain with the northern cousins, then down to the Costa Brava for time with Carolina’s immediate family. 

After Spain, to Amsterdam to work on a production of the very beautiful Jenufa by Janáček - this is an opera that comes directly from a play, and as such has a drama and a narrative that is much more coherent than a lot of operas! Again, the cast was delightful; the amazing Annette Dasch as Jenufa and Pavel Černoch (another Brno connection) as Laca.

Now we are preparing for the wonderfully important next stage of Sheriff. Carolina has been doing some very exciting writing and we hope to bring this to the world next year. As always we are faced with the vertiginous struggle of fundraising, but right now we are focused on the creative preparation for what is going to be a thrilling project, marking the next phase of us as artists and theatre makers. No less! :)