We had a wonderful time performing our Winter’s Tale to a sold-out Cockpit Theatre last week. The project was generously supported by Aldeburgh Music, Arts Council England, the RVW Trust, Hinrichsen Foundation and Britten-Pears Foundation. Some photos are available on our facebook page HERE and below are some lovely reviews (videos to follow!).
★★★★½ “groundbreaking” The Reviews Hub – full review HERE
★★★★ “wonderfully appropriate and left me with a nice warm feeling as I departed the theatre” London Theatre 1 – full review HERE
★★★★ “The musicians were excellent” Everything Theatre – full review HERE
“I was (…) delighted to have been there” Seen and Heard International – full review HERE
“makes this production so successful (…) resourceful and inventive” The CUSP Magazine – full review HERE
“Hopefully, this viewing of The Winter’s Tale won’t be the last. The Hermes Experiment is an ensemble that seems to tirelessly look forward, and reimagining Shakespeare in this way is an exciting trend to start” Schmopera – full review HERE
“This was a most impressive production that gripped the capacity audience from beginning to end” Early Music Reviews – full review HERE
photo by Cathy Pyle.
Compared with ‘normal’ composition, where one sits lonely at one’s desk for weeks or months at a time, devising a piece with other people is rather different: it is quite a bit quicker, quite a bit more unpredictable, and (if one is honest) quite a bit more fun. Luckily our visions were not too dissimilar: Nina Brazier (the director), The Hermes Experiment, the actors and I are all interested in layering text, music and movement together in a variety of ways, such that each strand is dominant or subordinate at different moments, sharing equally in the unfolding of the narrative. Sometimes we hope to excite or overwhelm; sometimes we hope that simplicity will move you. My position as ‘composer’ of the piece is precarious: while my name appears at the top of the score (a compilation of instructions, including only sparse musical notes), the music is as much by The Hermes Experiment as it is by me, since most of what you will hear is being improvised live, according to musical shapes and behaviours agreed in advance. The ‘folk song’ appearing in the second half is a case in point – particularly since it is the first tonal piece I have ‘composed’ in about 15 years! When someone suggested that a folk song would suit one scene well, the soprano Héloïse sketched out its opening melody; I then fleshed this out into a rough whole; finally Héloïse, Anne (who plays it later on the Harp) and I all tweaked it here and there until I no longer remember who was originally responsible for which note.
The Winter’s Tale will be performed at London’s Cockpit Theatre on 13th December 2016.
With many thanks to Arts Council England, RVW Trust, Hinrichsen Foundation, Britten-Pears Foundation and Aldeburgh Music for their generous support in the project’s development.
Check out our Winter’s Tale trailer and poster, and get your tickets for the 13th at The Cockpit!