Tête à Tête Opera Festival 2010
Riverside Studios, Hammersmith, 8 August 2010
Experimental opera, mostly work in progress, is being showcased before the public again during three August weekends, 5-22nd, and also at Wilton's Music Hall *.
On Sunday 8th the fare could not possibly have been more contrasted. On arrival a singer with flute and harp were performing around the foyer.
Evangelia Rigaki's Lullabaloo had her protagonist Margita Zalite, "a curious girl from Latvia", emerge from inside a pile of cellophane - Samuel Beckett's Winnie ? - to give an extended demonstration of advanced vocal techniques, such as we had first heard from Cathy Berberian in Berio etc.
Difficult listening, with an uneasy religious component (and maybe a bit overlong) but this was real contemporary music theatre at the cutting edge. As noted before, Rigaki is a composer to follow and listen for when possible.
Osnat Schmool [R] has a distinctive composing voice, instantly recognisable again in One Dark Night, which might fit into the eventual completion (if finances allow !) of her ground-breaking Drive, Ride Walk (currently it is intended for a cycle of short pieces about emotions linked to "life events"). The One Dark Night fragments - director Sabina Netherclift - had the non-singing protagonist back home after a hard day at work "depressed, weary and alone", surrounded by a shadowy group of singers unseen by the actress, a brilliant conceit.
Peter Grahame Woolf
Sonya (Caryl Hughes) & Zalite photos: Claire Shovelton