Introduction from the Directors We are incredibly excited to have come together; Kate with her background in academia and broadcasting, Sam from the world of theatre, to work on this production of The Rape of Lucretia. With new research that has only just come to light, this is a groundbreaking production of Britten's dark and troubling work. For the first time, crucial original lines censored from the libretto in 1946 are reinstated, giving new meaning and understanding to Lucretia's predicament. What is often dealt with solely as a horrific
and brutal rape proves now to be altogether more complex. Ben Glassberg and this stunningly talented group of young singers, musicians and technicians have given this production a fantastic sense of vitality. Working with them and watching them grapple with the many challenges and rewards this piece has to offer has been an extraordinarily exciting and enriching experience for us. We very much hope you enjoy the production. Samantha and Kate
Synopsis Our story begins with the Male and Female Choruses, contemporary observers on the scene, describing the corrupt history of the Roman royalty in the years leading up to the events of the opera. They introduce their religious perspective, and the idea that they might be using this story as a way of reconciling something within themselves, perhaps a mutual sense of grief. It is the year 500 BC. Rome is at war. In an army camp on the outskirts of the city, the Generals Collatinus and Junius have been drinking with the Etruscan Prince of Rome, Tarquinius. But whilst the men fight and drink, conversation quickly turns to the group of soldiers sent back to Rome to see whose wife had remained the most faithful. As wine flows and tempers rise, the resentment towards Collatinus, the only one whose wife was loyal, begins to boil over. Collatinus’ chaste and beautiful Lucretia is more of a temptation than the hotblooded Tarquinius can stand and he soon sets off to Rome, spurred on by the sinister Junius, to ‘prove Lucretia chaste.’ The scene quickly turns to that of Lucretia’s house, as our heroine goes about her daily chores alongside her servants Bianca and Lucia. As afternoon turns to evening, there is a loud knock at the door, paralysing Lucretia with fear. Prince Tarquinius arrives and begs Lucretia’s hospitality, whilst Bianca and Lucia look on with increasing worry.
Interval Later that night, the Prince creeps into Lucretia’s bedroom and watches her sleep. After a while he kisses her, waking her from her dreaming of Collatinus. In an instant, the eerie calm is destroyed and Tarquinius becomes increasingly determined to have his way with the ‘chaste’ Lucretia. Eventually, after a struggle, he succeeds and Lucretia is left with no choice but to succumb to his desires. The next morning we see Lucia and Bianca celebrating the beautiful weather and arranging flowers, oblivious to the events of the previous night. Lucretia enters, devoid of any spirit and, as the servants begin to realise what has happened, Lucretia becomes deranged with rage. Before too long Collatinus returns home with Junius at his side and, as Lucretia confesses all to her husband, he forgives her, for ‘lust is all taking.’ However, forgiveness is the last thing Lucretia wants and, losing all control, she stabs herself in front of those who love her and the self-seeking Junius. As the characters crowd around Lucretia’s body, singing a mournful passacaglia, the Male and Female Choruses return to ask the fundamental question, ‘is it all?’ As the opera concludes, we are left wondering whether or not this story is an allegory for something greater, or whether it is, in fact, all – the injustice of life and death is irremovable.
The Company chamber
Samantha Spiro Co-Director
Dr. Kate Kennedy Co-Director
Ben Glassberg Musical Director
Emma Gait Producer
Bryony Choy Stage Manager
Sue Forward Costume Designer
Hair and Make-Up Designer
Rhiannon Randle Assistant Musical Director
Sarah Ward Lighting Designer
Oliver Duff Technical Director
Catherine Yates Assistant Stage Manager
Directorsâ€™ Notes Last November, Ben Glassberg approached me to ask if I would come to work with the cast on a few scenes from The Rape if Lucretia. I said I was sure I could pop up to Cambridge for a couple of rehearsals and would help out with an acting workshop on it. Cut to three months later and here we are at opening night of an Opera I seem to have co-directed! As soon as I listened to Lucretia I felt the music take a tight grip on me. I was deeply moved and troubled by the story and found myself becoming consumed by the challenges that it threw up. It was only a matter of time before I was left with no option but to accept the offer of directing this thrilling piece of work alongside Dr Kate Kennedy. On meeting Kate, we knew immediately we could work well together. We had similar ideas about what form the production should take and we were both very keen on creating the central character of Lucretia as an identifiable woman with human flaws. We hoped that coming from such different fields, the experience we could bring to the production would make for an exciting combination. That coupled with Ben's incredible enthusiasm, humour and immense talent and we were certainly going to have fun! Having not worked on an opera before, I wanted to approach the piece as I would a great straight play; working on the text, making sure we understood every nuance and
always attempting to make the most dramatically exciting and challenging choices for each character. For the first few rehearsals we only spoke the text, and dissected every moment in great detail. Meanwhile, in separate sessions, Ben and the cast were working on the music, carefully learning it, so by the time we put it together it was electric; although I had been chomping at the bit to hear the cast sing, it was well worth the wait! We then got it on its feet and very quickly realised the piece needed huge physical energy as well as mental clarity and vocal precision, quite some challenge! We wanted to tell the story simply; letting Britten's music do the talking and to stop anything hindering this great piece of work being heard; we therefore decided on a minimal set, a framing that would evoke the period as well as giving us the opportunity for four different locations with very different tone and ambience. We required only a scarce amount of furniture and props to be used throughout. Getting Sue Forward as costume designer on board was a stroke of extreme good fortune. We spoke about creating a timeless world with a "taste" of Ancient Rome. What Sue came up with was really inspiring; Continued on page 6 5
Directorsâ€™ Notes utilising classical shapes and detail with a strong feeling of modernity. The next stroke of luck was Sarah Ward agreeing to be our lighting designer. With such a basic set, we are depending heavily on lighting to create atmosphere. She has worked wonders. Finally, we are immensely proud of the cast for throwing themselves in so bravely to such an incredibly daunting and demanding piece. We have been on a great adventure, and because of the energy and commitment of the cast, the production team and all creatives, this has proved to be a uniquely simulating and rewarding experience. Kate and I hope you enjoy tonight as much as we have enjoyed working on it. Samantha Spiro
Every Monday, as an integral part of the routine of the Chamber Music Scheme, I ply the musicians at Girton with coffee and pastries, and we work out as a group what projects we want to undertake. Normally, it might be something like a piano masterclass, a vocal workshop, or an orchestral concert. When two of my music students declared they wanted to put on a fully staged version of an opera; not a manageable, small-scale Baroque piece, but Britten's fiendishly difficult and traumatic Rape of Lucretia, I should probably have done the sensible thing and said no. However, carried away by their enthusiasm, I failed to do so, and I'm very glad I did! Working on Lucretia has been a challenge, and a huge time commitment, but one that I have not at any stage regretted. For the last two years I have colectured a course in the Music Faculty on Britten's Words and Music. Directing Lucretia has given me the opportunity to explore some of the themes and issues that interest me in Britten's operas in a practical capacity. It has also given the students involved, many of whom are studying Britten, the chance to get to grips with a difficult and under-performed work. I have spent many years observing operas take shape, watching directors at work, and am fascinated by the process. I've written a number of opera libretti, and been involved with their
Directors’ Notes rehearsal and premieres, but never as a director. To have the chance to be involved in the development of this project, and in particular to have the huge privilege of working alongside an actress as experienced and inspiring as Samantha has been wonderful. I believe passionately in inspiring talented young students by giving them the chance to aspire to the highest possible standards. Working with both Andrew Kennedy (Male Chorus with Royal Opera, Norway) and Sarah Connolly (Lucretia with Glyndebourne Opera) has given us all the chance to learn from their
experiences and knowledge of the roles, and we are all hugely grateful to them for giving us their time. I am also grateful to conductors William Carslake and Peter Stark for their insight into the pitfalls of conducting the piece, and their work with Ben in helping him prepare for this huge undertaking. Dr. Kate Kennedy
Musical Director’s Notes Britten’s ‘The Rape of Lucretia’ is his first foray into the genre of chamber opera. Written in 1946, the year after Peter Grimes, Britten demonstrates an ability to create extraordinary musical colours on a vastly smaller scale to that of his previous work. Writing for a chamber orchestra and extensive percussion section, Britten is able to evoke a diverse array of sound worlds, from the serenity of Lucretia’s house (largely with the use of extensive harp solos), to the distress of the rape scene (using innovative percussion writing amongst other devices). Another musical feature worth mentioning is Britten’s use of the leitmotif, traditionally associated with the music of Wagner. The Lucretia
figure, a combination of seven notes (first heard when Tarquinius makes his toast in the opening scene), finds itself throughout the opera in guises both overt and subtle. Cries of the motif in its most clear form are heard by both Junius, Male Chorus and Tarquinius at various points across the opera, but much of the material that makes up the score is, in some way, derived from this seven note motif. It’s quite extraordinary the variety that Britten is able to create from a relatively simple musical idea and it helps cement the importance of Lucretia’s character to everything that happens during the course of the opera. Ben Glassberg 7
The Chaste Lucretia? The Rape of Lucretia, written in 1946, is a deeply troubling and troubled opera. It is uncomfortable in its own skin, with a religious message forced on a pre-Christian event, leaving us unconvinced and bewildered. It is, apparently, a simple picture of weak, female innocence destroyed by malevolence and lust. But now, in Benjamin Britten’s centenary year, a superb new biography by Britten scholar and conductor Paul Kildea reveals a detail that changes one of Britten’s most difficult works completely. When Britten sent the libretto of Lucretia to the Lord Chamberlain’s office for approval, the Lord Chamberlain, not known for his open-mindedness, cut four crucial lines of the libretto, his reader claiming ‘I most certainly think we should draw the line at the somewhat transparent effort by the Chorus on page 5 of Act II to wrap up an ugly fact in pretty language’.
The omission of these lines not only changed the nature of the opera, but raises some disturbing questions. Here, these lines show us directly that she took some sexual pleasure from the rape – a desperately uncomfortable notion. It was clearly too uncomfortable for the censors in 1946; Lucretia had to be unassailably chaste. This certainly wasn’t what Britten and his librettist Ronald Duncan actually intended. With the lines included, a different picture emerges. She is destroyed not by Tarquinius, but by the fall from her own moral height. We could not relate as well to a whiter-than-white figure who seems inured to human passion and emotion; this Lucretia we can recognise, and our hearts go out to her with the knowledge of her psychological complexity and human frailty as she stabs herself, telling her husband ‘even great love’s too frail to bear the weight of shadows. Now I’ll be forever chaste, with only death to ravish me.’
The ‘pretty’ language in question was: Male Chorus: He takes her hand and places it upon his unsheathed sword Female Chorus: Thus wounding her with an equal lust A wound only his sword can heal.
Now, with the original text, Lucretia herself can join figures like Peter Grimes and Billy Budd in the litany of Britten’s desperately troubled and ambiguous heroes and heroines. When she is seen as more than a cliché of perfection, her death becomes a very human and entirely modern tragedy. Dr Kate Kennedy
About the Chamber Music Scheme The Chamber Music Scheme was founded by Dr. Kate Kennedy in 2010, to give musicians at Girton the opportunity to work with professionals of international standing. Girton attracts some of the finest players in the University, and many go on to pursue a career in music. Through the scheme, students can receive help to put on an opera, form and conduct an orchestra, or explore new repertoire. They are given the opportunity to work with a variety of eminent composers, singers and conductors, as well as
with instrumentalists, and can learn to manage posture problems through Pilates lessons. Almost every week sees at least one masterclass, coaching session or concert, and twice a year there are residential weekends, packed with classes for singers, composers, conductors and instrumentalists. Please visit cambridgeCMS.co.uk for details of upcoming events, or for more details about the scheme.
Musical Numbers Act I Scene I 1 “Rome is now ruled by the Etruscan upstart” 2 “It is an axiom among kings” 3 “While we as two observers stand” 4 “Here the thirsty ev’ning” 5 “Who reaches heaven first” 6 “Love, like wine, spills easily” 7 “Lucretia! Lucretia!” 8 “How bitter of you” 9 “Oh, the only girl worth having” 10 “There goes a happy man” 11 “Tarquinius does not dare”
Male Chorus Female Chorus Male Chorus, Female Chorus Male Chorus Collatinus, Junius, Tarquinius, Male Chorus Collatinus, Junius, Tarquinius Junius, Male Chorus Collatinus, Junius Tarquinius, Collatinus, Junius Tarquinius, Junius Male Chorus
Interlude 12 [“My horse”]/”Tarquinius does not wait” Scene II 13 “Their spinning wheel” 14 “Listen! I heard a knock!” 15 “Ah...” – ”Time treads upon the hands of women” 16 “How quiet it is tonight” 17 “The oatmeal slippers of sleep” 18 “None of the women move” 19 “What brings the Prince Tarquinius here”
Tarquinius, Male Chorus Female Chorus, Lucretia, Bianca, Lucia Lucretia, Bianca, Lucia Lucia, Female Chorus, Bianca Lucretia, Bianca, Lucia, Female Chorus Female Chorus, Male Chorus Female Chorus, Tarquinius, Male Chorus Bianca, Lucia, Female Chorus, Lucretia, Male Chorus, Tarquinius
Act II Scene I 20 “The prosperity of the Etruscans” 21 “And Tarquinius Superbus ruled in Rome” 22 “While we as two observers stand” 23 24 25 26 27
“She sleeps as a rose upon the night” “When Tarquinius desires” “Thus sleeps Lucretia” “Lucretia!” – “What do you want?” “Go, Tarquinius!”
Interlude 28 [“See how the centaur mounts”] – ”Here in this scene you see” 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37
Scene II “Oh, what a lovely day” “Good morning, my Lady” “Flowers bring to ev’ry year” “Yes, I remember!” “Where is Lucretia?” “Lucretia! Lucretia” “Then turn away” “If spirit’s not given” “This dead hand lets fall”
38 “Is it all?” 39 “It is not all” 40 “Since time commenc’d”
Female Chorus Male Chorus, Collatinus, Junius, Bianca, Lucia Male Chorus, Female Chorus Female Chorus Male Chorus Female Chorus, Tarquinius Tarquinius, Lucretia Male Chorus, Female Chorus, Tarquinius, Lucretia Male Chorus, Female Chorus Lucia, Bianca Bianca, Lucia, Lucretia Lucretia, Bianca Bianca, Lucia Collatinus, Bianca, Junius Collatinus, Lucretia Lucretia Collatinus, Lucretia Collatinus, Junius, Bianca, Lucia, Female Chorus, Male Chorus Female Chorus Male Chorus Male Chorus, Female Chorus
James Robinson Male Chorus A choral scholar at Gonville and Caius, James’ solo work has included Handel’s Messiah, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Stainer’s Crucifixion and Respighi’s Lauda per la Natività del Signore. His operatic credits include Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen (Schoolmaster) for CUOS, as well as Offenbach’s Orphée aux Enfers and Handel’s Acis and Galatea (Acis).
Janneke DuprÉ Female Chorus A second-year music student at Homerton College, Janneke also sings with Clare College Chapel Choir. Solo work has included Bach’s St. John Passion, Mahler’s Fourth Symphony and Handel’s Messiah. Operatic credits include Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen (Chocholka), The Fairy Queen Re-imagined (Queen Elizabeth/Queen Mab), and Ruddigore (Mad Margaret).
Jack Lawrence-Jones Tarquinius Jack is a fourth-year at Downing College, reading Psychology and Computer Science. He has sung with the Choir of Clare College Chapel, first under Tim Brown then Graham Ross. Recent solo engagements include a recital series of Schumann’s Dichterliebe and Britten folksongs and Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen (Harašta) with CUOS.
Nelli Orlova Lucretia Nelli sings with the Emmanuel College Chapel Choir, with which future engagements include a tour to Prague and a new recording. In concert, she has performed under the baton of Sir Roger Norrington and Morten Lauridsen. Previous operatic roles include Dido and Aeneas (Second Witch) and The Yeomen of the Guard (Dame Carruthers).
Henry Hawkesworth Collatinus Henry Hawkesworth is a second-year choral scholar at King’s College, where he reads music. This is his Cambridge operatic debut. Previously he was a choral scholar at Truro Cathedral, singing, amongst other engagements, Copland’s Old American Songs in the Cathedral Concert series.
Dan D’Souza Junius Dan is a third-year Choral Scholar at King’s, where he reads Music. Previous operatic credits include Cavalieri’s Rappresentatione de Anima, et di Corpo, Far From the Madding Crowd and Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen. He regularly performs as a soloist in Cambridge, and, with King’s, has performed several solos on BBC2 and BBCR4.
Helen Charlston Bianca Helen is a choral scholar at Trinity College, and president of TCMS. Operatic performances include chorus in Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen and Cavalieri’s Rappresentatione di Anima, et di Corpo. Solo engagements include Dvorak’s Stabat Mater and Bach’s St. John and St. Matthew Passions. Helen appeared on TV singing at the 2012 Varsity Rugby Match.
Bethany Partridge Lucia Bethany is a second-year choral scholar at Trinity College where she reads music. During her time in Cambridge she has taken part in productions of Far from the Madding Crowd, Lost and Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen, and has sung various solo roles including Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem, Monteverdi’s Vespers and Ravel’s Trois Poèmes de Stéphane Mallarmé. 15
Production Team Biographies
Samantha Spiro Co-Director Samantha is a Double Olivier Award and British Comedy Award winning actress. Recent Theatre includes: Kate in The Taming of the Shrew at The Globe, Filumena in Filumena at The Almeida, Sarah in Chicken Soup with Barley at The Royal Court, Dolly in Hello Dolly! and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, at the Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park and Maria in Twelfth Night in the Donmar production at Wyndham’s Theatre. Sam will be playing Lady Macbeth at The Globe this summer. Recent TV and Film credits include: Di in Panto!, Mum in Rebecca Front’s Little Cracker, Auntie Liz in Grandma’s House and Debbie in Mike Leigh’s A Running Jump. Samantha will soon be seen in on Sky and the next series of Bad Education on BBC3.
Dr. Kate Kennedy Co-Director Dr Kate Kennedy is a Research Fellow in Music and English at Girton College, and lectures on Britten for the Music Faculty. She has written extensively on music and literature of the early twentieth century, and is currently completing a biography of poet-composer Ivor Gurney, to be published by Oxford University Press. Her collection of essays The Silent Morning: Culture, Memory and the Armistice 1918 will be published in 2013. She writes opera libretti, devises programmes, and gives talks and lectures in venues such as the Southbank Centre, Wigmore Hall, Brighton International Festival and for the BBC Proms. She regularly writes and presents programmes for Radios 3 and 4, and has been awarded a Wingate Scholarship for her research. 16
Production Team Biographies
Ben Glassberg Musical Director Having originally studied as a percussionist, Ben has made the journey from the back to the front of the orchestra over the last few years. As Artistic Director of the London Youth Symphony Orchestra, he has been able to tackle challenging symphonic repertoire, including Holst’s The Planets and Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, as well as premiere new works by composers Philippa Naylor and William Handysides. More recently, Ben staged the first performance of a new edition of David Knott’s chamber opera, Bake for One Hour, and is currently working on a production of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, as well as tonight’s production of Lucretia. Future engagements include further concerts with the London Youth Symphony Orchestra, the CUMS Concert Orchestra and Cambridge University Wind Orchestra.
Emma Gait Producer Emma is a third-year choral scholar at Selwyn, reading music. Production credits include: AMD, The Snow Queen; Company Manager, Princess Ida and AMD, Ruddigore (Minack Theatre, Cornwall). Emma is also vice-president of the Cambridge University Chamber Orchestra, and has performed with CUCO under conductors such as Sir Roger Norrington and Sir Mark Elder.
Rhiannon Randle Assistant Musical Director Rhiannon is a second-year choral scholar at Girton, reading music. Rhiannon is a member of CUCO, CUMSSO and Collegium Musicum, an IAS holder and has her own string quartet, The Fourier Quartet. A keen composer, Rhiannon will have a new commission premiered at West Road in May. 17
Production Team Biographies Bryony Choy Stage Manager Bryony is a first year history student at Girton. Production team credits include ASM in the 2012 Footlights Panto, The Snow Queen and volunteer at the 2013 Watersprite International Student Film Festival. Sarah Ward Lighting Designer Sarah graduated from Cambridge in 2012, having read English. She currently works as a lighting technician at the Royal Opera House, and as a freelance lighting designer in theatre and the events industry. While in Cambridge, production credits include CoDirector, West Side Story; Co-Director, RENT; Lighting Designer, The Boys in the Band; Technician, Macbeth (Pembroke Players Japan Tour 2012). Sue Forward Costume Designer Sue studied Fine Art at Trent and The Slade School, gaining her Higher Diploma in 1981. Credits for the Corn Exchange Theatre, Wallingford include: Costume Design and Wardrobe for Cold Comfort Farm and Billy Liar. Script writer, costume designer and wardrobe for Aladdin (2012 pantomime). Design contributions to Our Country’s Good, Maskerade, The Secret Garden, As You Like It, Jack and The Beanstalk (2011 pantomime) The Snow Queen (2013 pantomime). Forthcoming projects: The Gut Girls and Goodnight Mister Tom.
Oliver Duff Technical Director Oliver is a Chemistry graduate of Queens’ College Cambridge. He has worked on over twenty Cambridge productions, recently acting as Technical Director for Angels in America - Part One: Millennium Approaches (ADC Theatre), Ruddigore (Minack Theatre, Cornwall) and King Lear (European Theatre Group tour). Summer Callow Hair and Make-Up Designer Summer is a second year student at Cambridge Regional College studying for a Diploma in Theatrical, Special Effects, Hair and Media Makeup. She has worked as makeup artist for several recent Cambridge productions including CAIN and The Cunning Little Vixen, and aspires to work on film sets. Catherine Yates Assistant Stage Manager Catherine is a first-year at Girton, studying history. This is her first role on a production team. Repetiteurs Jâms Coleman Rafi Colman Ben Comeau Anthony Fort Rory Heaton Theodore Hill Sasha Millwood Patrick Milne Edward Picton-Turbervill Henry Tozer Photography Declan Corr Barney Couch Tom Porteous
Orchestra Violin I Violin II Viola Cello Double Bass Flute Alto Flute/Piccolo Oboe Oboe/Cor Anglais Clarinet Bassoon Horn Harp Piano Percussion
Rhiannon Randle Matthew Chambers Laura Harrison Hugo Popplewell Dominic Nudd Jonathan Murphy Katie Walton Ben Gershinson Hannah King David Mears Tamsin Alexander Benedict Collins-Rice Niall Murphy J창ms Coleman Richard Souper
Special Thanks The cast and company of The Rape of Lucretia would like to thank the following individuals and organisations, without whom the production would not have been possible. We are enormously grateful to mezzosoprano Sarah Connolly, tenor Andrew Kennedy and conductors Will Carslake and Peter Stark for giving up their time to provide inspirational coaching sessions to the cast and orchestra. The production team wishes to express their heartfelt thanks to the Mistress and Fellows of Girton College Cambridge, and to Lord and Lady Eatwell, for their support in staging this production.
The porters of Girton College Cambridge and Queens' College Cambridge. Robbie Haylett Alex Chan Matthew Cheetham Freddie Tapner Kyle Yeung Corey McKeegan Rosie Morgan Mitchell Clarke Rob Mills Eddy Langley Will Wykeham We would also like to thank anyone who has helped us since this programme went to print.
The management of the ADC Theatre. 19
Programme designed by Craig Slade email@example.com
Programme for the Girton Chamber Music Scheme's production of The Rape of Lucretia at the Fitzpatrick Hall. Directed by Samantha Spiro and K...