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Contents

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Introduction: Dialogue of Composer and Librettist

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Historical and Cultural Context

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Scenario and Production

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Dance

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Cast

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Orchestra

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Links

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Our partners

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General information

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Introduction: Dialogue of Composer and Librettist

Note: this conversation is between Barry Seaman, the composer and Mariam Al-Roubi, the librettist. The central character is known both as Mirabai and Mira. In the opera she is mainly called Mira.

BS: The idea of creating the opera came from a visit to the Sri Swaminaryan Mandir in London. In this holiest of places, I saw a statue of a beautiful woman playing a musical instrument as she sung –

I discovered that I was looking at a statue of Mirabai, known for her at once devotional and romantic love for the deity Lord Krishna, expressed through her body of songs, still appreciated throughout the world, but best known in her native India. MAR: Barry approached me with the idea of writing an opera about Mira, but it was only after I had done some research about Mira and her story that I became intrigued. I was surprised that she was not already widely known in the Western world. Writing the libretto for Mirabai was a great learning curve as I had never done anything like it before, but with Barry’s advice and fundamental key point of not studying any other libretto to aid the process of writing Mirabai, I had developed a feel and strong idea how I thought I should write it. This also helped me portray her in my own way. By simply researching her history I also became inspired by other great icons from different eras who shared or elaborated her beliefs and idea of love. Starting out with writing a few poems inspired by Mira’s purpose and her great accomplishments in her life, it served as a testbed for my approach. It became the ignition for writing the opera in its entirety. 3


BS: I set the resulting poems to music, and this became a companion piece to Mirabai - the Love Songs. They were a good springboard for us both – Mariam evolving her poetic language as I developed musical language that would give Mira a voice. MAR: I had read Plato’s Symposium (The Drinking Party). These philosophical dialogues on the subject of Love were the subject of much discussion between us, because we could see the relevance to Mira’s story. BS: The guests at the Drinking Party, together with other figures, became absorbed into our creation of the Ghosts – characters from different times and places, who make occasional appearances during the course of the opera. All have something to say about love, and their disparate origins emphasise the universal nature of love. Their existence on another plane from the living characters is expressed through holograms for each Ghost as well as for each of the deities that appear in the opera. MAR: During my research on Mira’s history and character I came across several versions of events and stories of her life. It was clear to me to mix factual and fantasy events to form the otherworldly beauty of the opera.

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Historical and Cultural Context

Her name was Mira, but she is commonly known as Mirabai. The suffix “-bai” means girl or sister. She was a princess living in Rajasthan in India in the early 16th century. There is little precise factual knowledge of Mira’s life. Now she is known chiefly as a poet / singer, whose many songs were in praise of Lord Krishna. Our opera is not intended as a factual biography; it is more a fusion of historical detail and ideas inspired by Hindu legends. Hinduism recognises one God: Brahman. The many facets of Brahma are represented as a number of deities, each with his or her own characteristics. This is reflected in the Aarti ceremony in Act III and the many different deities that are celebrated there. Act III takes place in Vrindavan, the mythical planet upon which Krishna dwells. Its full name is Goloka Vrindavan; and this place should not be confused with a town in Uttar Pradesh in India also called Vrindavan, where it is said that Krishna spent his childhood. Krishna’s handmaidens, the Gopis, live in Goloka Vrindavan. His consort was Radha, one of the Gopis. In some traditions Mira is an avatar of Radha; in others Mira thought herself to be Lalita, one of the principal Gopis. Lord Krishna is often portrayed as the seductive God of love and the subject of Mira’s obsession, and is usually seen playing the flute and coloured in blue. There are various explanations for this; for example that it is the colour of all-inclusiveness, like the sky and the sea. Another explanation is that it is the result of his being poisoned as a baby. Other deities also are sometimes seen in blue. The word krishna means black in Sanskrit, and He is sometimes seen in that colour, and referred to by Mira as the Dark One. Krishna has a large number of alternative names; and one of these, Girdhar, is often used by Mira. Saraswati was the river deity of learning, science and music, and she appears in the opera as one of Mira’s spirit guides. Mira was part of the Rajput community, whose deity was Durga, protector of the universe, but Mira had her own Krishna shrine on the grounds of her husband’s palace, and this was greeted with dismay. This was because the family’s Rajput class worshipped Shiva as well as Durga, and were rivals of those who followed Krishna. Additionally, her refusal to compromise and the way in which she preached using songs and dance was regarded as unseemly for a woman of her social status. 5


She was married to Prince Bhoj Raj, and this was a political alliance. He died in battle. He was the son of Rana Sanga, an influential Rajput (warrior class) leader. Bhoj had a sister Uda (Udabai), who was resentful of Mira. Hindu traditions include that of Sati, in which, following the death of a husband, a woman would throw herself on to his funeral pyre and die with him in the flames. Mira refused to comply with this, because she regarded Krishna as her true husband. There has been much speculation about whether or not Mira’s love for Krishna was sexual, but we felt that the nature of her love transcended such considerations, so in our opera the erotic and the devotional are inseparable. Mira has other spirit guides too. They lend a multi-dimensional aspect to the opera. They are the Ghosts. As an expression of the universal nature of Love, each Ghost comes from a different location in time and place. They are: 1- 4: Four guests at the Drinking Party of Plato’s Symposium in which philosophies of love are discussed Pausanius on the virtues of serving God; Eryximachus on communication with the Gods; Aristophanes on the interdependence of man and woman; Socrates, who, like Mira, was ordered to drink poison because of his ideas perceived as subversive. 5: The Tango dancers, who appear after Aristophanes, dancing as one, symbolising Aristophanes’ idea. 6: St Teresa of Avila, who appears when Mira is tortured. Her religious poetry expressed the ecstasy of pain as a sacrifice to God.

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Scenario and Production

Act I Awakening of Love and Devotion During the tranquil overture, points of light are seen in the dark, and there is a fall of petals to welcome the audience. Scene 1 The Wedding Rajasthan, India; the 16th century. Mira’s palace Mira is a princess of the Rajput warrior class. At her palace she is seen standing with her mother, watching from a balcony a wedding procession. There is a statue of Lord Krishna and his consort Radha.

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Scene 2 The Adoration of Krishna Bhoj Raj’s palace. Mira, now a young woman, has become the bride of Prince Bhoj Raj. It is a political marriage, and she regards Krishna as her true husband, so her first night with Bhoj is unfulfilled. She leaves the bed, walks out into a garden, and has an erotic fantasy in which a statue of Krishna appears to her. She brings Him to life, and He sings a secret song to her.

Scene 3 The Shrines A clearing in a forest Bower birds are seen making shrines to attract mates. Rana’s palace There is a transformation to the shrine Mira has built for Krishna, before which she performs an erotic dance, spied upon by Uda, her resentful sister in law. Tableau vivant of ghosts: Greece, 4th century BC: The house of Socrates. A drinking party. A guest, Pausanius, sings that serving the Gods can gain wisdom and virtue, so one may be a slave of God if this is voluntary.

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Scene 4 The Satsang Gardens and a river by Emperor Akbar’s palace. Evening. Akbar, a cultured man curious about other religions, has heard of Mira, her songs, her dancing and her preaching in praise of Krishna. The deity Saraswati appears to him. She is the river goddess of science, reading and music. She enjoins Akbar to find Mira.

Saraswati hologram

The drinking party A guest, Eryximachus, sings of the importance of communication between Gods and humans.

Scene 5 Akbar’s pilgrimage The desert at night and a camp fire, around which are grouped Akbar and his entourage. Tansen, Akbar’s court musician, is performing a devotional song. As he completes his song, Mira is heard singing in the distance. Akbar goes to her and presents her with a gift: a jewelled necklace as a symbol of truth. As Mira accepts it, the chorus sings a sacred verse.

If one offers Me with love and affection a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it. (Krishna to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita 9:26)

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Act II The Three Offerings Mira’s first offering to Krishna is her body in pleasure, her second offering is her body in pain, and her third offering is her soul in devotion. Scene 1 Durga Rana’s palace. Uda prays to Durga, the family deity, then speaks to Rana, her father, turning him against Mira. She suggests that the necklace given to Mira is from a lover. A messenger comes with news of Bhoj’s death in battle. Scene 2 The Lake Sunset. Mira sleeps by the lake. She has a vision, in which Krishna appears. They talk. Their discourse is on the nature of transcendental love. Krishna departs. Rana and Uda enter, and Rana orders her to follow the custom of Sati at Bhoj’s funeral. She refuses, saying that Krishna and not Bhoj is her true husband. Rana orders Mira to drown herself. Mira complies. Slowly she enters the water singing. When she is under the water, Krishna appears in the water with her. He kisses her mouth, breathing life into her, and frees her. She swims up to the surface and gasps for air and in her ecstasy. Scene 3 The Torture Rana’s palace. A great hall, with adjoining cell. Mira is put on trial in an effort to persuade her to renounce Krishna and comply with the wishes of the family. But she is steadfast, and so endures torture. In the background is a statue of St Teresa of Avila with an angel. St Teresa emerges from the statue, singing the ecstasy of pain as part of sacred love. Mira reacts to the pain with excitement that foretells Act III. The Ghost Socrates appears and observes. She drinks the poison, and Socrates drinks with her. Scene 4 Mira’s pilgrimage The road to Krishna’s Temple. Followed by onlookers, devotees and the rest of the Ghosts, Mira progresses along the path to Krishna’s Temple. All observe her with a sense of wonder that she has survived the poison. Krishna calls from inside the Temple. Mira responds, and moves toward the entrance. There is processional music, which together with the action, suddenly stops. Darkness descends, and all the figures on the stage are seen frozen in time. Tableau vivant of ghosts: Greece, 4th century BC: The house of Socrates. A drinking party. A guest, Pausanius tells of how two lovers become one. The ghost tango dancers appear, dancing as one, with a harp on stage.

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Tango dancers and harp holograms

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Act III The Moment This act is a single extended scene with constantly changing images, as time stands still for Mira, and everything takes place in that moment. It begins with the action unfreezing as Mira enters the temple of Krishna, becomes one with Him, and ascends to Vrindavan, the planet of trees on which Krishna dwells.

When the guardians of the gates ask Mira what she seeks, she replies: Satyaloka (the place of Truth), and she offers the jewelled necklace given to her by Akbar, revealed as the key. She embarks on a journey of emotional, spiritual and erotic intensity, aided by Krishna’s handmaidens, the Gopis. Mira is purified in Aarti, the ceremony of washing in the light. The Gopis prepare Mira for Krishna. The sun and moon join together, and Mira finds herself in a beautiful room. Eventually the room disappears, leaving her floating in space. Krishna, invisible, makes love to her with His melody. The Gopis reappear and dress her in ceremonial clothes, then Krishna appears and she takes her place beside Him, revealed as Krishna’s consort Radha, of whom Mira was an avatar. The image of the divine couple is the same as that of the statue in the palace from which she had seen the wedding procession as a child. Krishna sings one final brief song to Radha / Mira. With the Gopis, the sacred dance the Rasa Lila is performed. They embrace. Then, all of Vrindavan, Krishna, the Gopis and the Guardians disappear, leaving the stage dark and bare except for Mira's writing table to one side. Mira is sitting at the table, gets up, and comes forward, holding her quill pen in her hand. To the audience, she sings an intimate bhajan (devotional song), which has Mira’s original words. My Lord is Giridhar Gopal and none else. He wears the crown decorated with the feathers of a peacock. The conch, the discus, the mace and the lotus flower all suit Him. Now I do not have any relations like father, mother and brother. I am not bothered about what people say about me while I sit in the company of saints and monks. I am nurturing the Creeper of Love by the waters of my tears. Now Mira is immersed in God, so let whatever might happen.

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PRODUCTION

Although Mirabai is written in a way that makes it work with many different approaches to production, it does especially lend itself to some of the creative possibilities now available with advanced technology, especially with regard to the use of holograms, whose startling nature complement the supernatural content of the story, making the impossible seem real. The first production priority is to stay faithful to the aesthetic, which emphasises rich and intoxicating colours and images whose mixture of restlessness and tranquillity reflect the personality of Mira; they are a magical extension of her; at once a woman and a devotee, at once human and divine. If her mood is dark, so are the sets, and if her mood is light, so are the sets. Movement of trees in the wind, and water in the lake also reflect her. Attention should be paid to the significance of colours in Hindu culture: Red - erotic and positive Saffron - sacrifice and devotion Yellow - knowledge Green – life-affirming and peaceful Blue – courage and steadfastness as Lord Krishna and Lord Rama, often depicted in this colour White – as a mixture of all the colours, white combines all the positive virtues. Mira wears white throughout the opera except where she wears saffron for her final song of devotion to Him. The pristine neutrality of white is seen in the set and costumes for the tableaux vivants of the Ghosts who are guests at Plato’s drinking party. Above all, as in the music, the aim is beauty. Mira’s earthly surroundings (the architecture and costumes of 16 th century Rajasthan) are seen in the first two acts. In Act III, the magical planet Vrindavan provides an opportunity for fantasy in magic landscapes. Now, the set extends to the auditorium itself with a vast panoply of stars above the heads of the audience. PLEASE NOTE THIS OPERA SHOULD NOT BE PRODUCED USING SETTINGS, COSTUMES ETC. THAT CONFLICT WITH THOSE DESCRIBED ABOVE.

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Dance

Mira came from a culture in which dance and music were of the greatest spiritual significance, and this remains true in the India of today. In the opera, most of the dances, like the music, are not “Indian� in style. As Mira expressed herself in song, she also danced. Four of the dances are in a contemporary, balletinfluenced style. There is also a tango, and a classical Indian dance. The contemporary aspect of the dances will be choreographed without Influence of Indian dance but it will emphasise the body’s ability to express both sacred and devotional levels of a dance as well as the eroticism and intense desire; a strong theme throughout the opera.

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Cast

Mira, soprano

Veer Kumari, mezzo-soprano

Mira’s mother

Bhoj Raj, baritone

Mira’s husband

Lord Krishna, soprano saxophone

deity loved by Mira

Akbar, lyric tenor

Moghul Emperor

Saraswati, coloratura soprano

deity of music and science

Tansen, baritone

musician to Akbar’s court

Uda, soprano

Mira’s sister in law

Rana Sanga, baritone

Mira’s father in law

Durga, 2 amplified altos (unison)

Bhoj’s family deity

Messenger, silent

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The Gopis as singers:

Lalita, soprano Vishakha, soprano Campakalata, soprano Citra, soprano Tungavidya, soprano Indulekha, soprano Rangadevi, soprano Sudevi, soprano

The Gopis as dancers:

8 classical Indian dancers

The Guardians*:

12 basses in two parts

The Ghosts (dance / mime artists):

Eryximachus Pausanius Socrates Aristophanes St Teresa of Avila Tango couple 6 female dancers

Female chorus*: 8 sopranos (may double as Gopis), 8 altos *Numbers of female chorus and Guardians can be doubled for large performing areas.

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Orchestra

2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet (separate player), 2 bassoons, 3 horns, 3 tenor trombones, percussion (4 players): vibraphone, marimba, handbells, tubular bells, glockenspiel, crotales, timpani, tam-tam, large gong, cymbal, tambourine, triangle, claves, cymbal, shaker, sleigh bells piano, electronic keyboard, harp, string quartet, strings

additional instruments:

soprano saxophone (Lord Krishna),

harp on stage (Act II scene 4 only)

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Links

Below are links to audio excerpts from Mirabai, with texts and translations for vocal sections.

[1] Petals

https://soundcloud.com/barry-63/petals-from-mirabai

The overture to the opera, to accompany a fall of petals. Arch Sinfonia conducted by Chloe van Soeterstede [2] The Lake

https://soundcloud.com/barry-63/lakelivesolos

Concert version from Act II scene 2 Mira is sleeping by a lake. Lord Krishna appears to her in a dream, and they have a conversation about love. He is portrayed by a soprano saxophone, not a voice. His actual words are generally secret throughout the opera, except in this scene where they are given as surtitles. Mira: Eleanor Ross, soprano Krishna: Richard Melkonian, soprano saxophone

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Virtual orchestra


Text: Sunset. Mira asleep by a lake, lying on her side, facing the audience.Krishna appears to her in a vision, a distance away. Throughout her conversation with Him, her eyes are closed. (Krishna’s words, decoded from his melody, are in square brackets.) MIRA Girdhar! KRISHNA [yes] MIRA Rana sets the world against me! Mira seeks your protection. KRISHNA [I am here] MIRA Dark One, I have a question… KRISHNA [yes] MIRA Of the five ways of joining with God, what is the way of the lover? + ORCH. SOPRANO santa, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya…

[neutrality, as a slave, as a friend, as a parent]

KRISHNA [Madhurya] [erotic love]

MIRA Madhurya! Then Madhurya is where I am for you. Love is all I know and understand. Sati for Bhoj Raj is a command I cannot bear to obey. My strength in who I am will not allow it. KRISHNA [I am the strength you find when weak] MIRA Please give me strength… 19


KRISHNA [Your torture on earth will count for a blissful end] MIRA Please give me strength. I know I love you. KRISHNA [How do you know you love me?] MIRA Because I am here. KRISHNA [Yes.] A love that can mystify the wisest is a love that can only be felt. Once the end of the journey has been reached, its beauty does not allow another word. A lotus is seen blossoming. Saraswati appears in the centre. MIRA Satya [truth]

KRISHNA [You are and will always be] Krishna disappears. MIRA I am and will always be.

[3] The Gopis

https://soundcloud.com/barry-63/the-gopis-1

From Act III Eight handmaidens of Krishna sing a seductive song as they prepare Mira for Him.

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[4] Bhajan

https://soundcloud.com/barry-63/mirabai-bhajan

From Act III sung in Rajasthani; Mira’s own words (Bhajan : devotional song; Giridhar: one of Mira’s names for Krishna. It means he who holds a mountain in his hand.) Elizabeth Fulleylove, soprano Ruby Aspinall, harp mere to giridhara gopala dusaro na koyi jakeshira mora mukuda meropati soyi shanka chakra gada padma kandamala soyi tata mata prata banddhu aapano na koyi chanda dayI kulaki kana kyakaraika koyi santana sanga baita baita lokalaja koyi apato pada pailakayi jane sab koyi asuvana jala sIncha sIncha prema peli poyi mIra prabhu lagana lagI honi hosa hoyi My Lord is Giridhar Gopal and none else. He wears the crown decorated with the feathers of a peacock. The conch, the discus, the mace and the lotus flower all suit Him. Now I do not have any relations like father, mother and brother. I am not bothered about what people talk about me while I sit in the company of saints and monks. I am nurturing the Creeper of Love by the waters of my tears. Now Mira is immersed in God, so let whatever might happen.

Come what may, Mira is with God. mere to giridhara gopala dusaro na koyi My Lord is Giridhar Gopal and none else.

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Our partners

Satish Modi http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8266308.Satish_Modi

Musion 3D

Based in London, Musion is the global leader in the development, marketing, production and broadcasting of realistic, life-sized, interactive 3D holographic video shows and effects. Musion’s patented 3D technologies and imaging systems create spectacular, immersive, multi-media presentations with 3D holographic images so real that they are indistinguishable from the live performers and presenters appearing alongside them. Exclusive immersive telepresence technology makes it possible to simultaneously broadcast multiple live events to multiple venues located anywhere in the world. Musion 3D is an entirely new communications medium with virtually unlimited potential. Their impressive client portfolio includes: Jean Luc Melenchon – Double Meeting & Multi Meeting Manchester United Museum of Football featuring Sir Alex Ferguson Boots No 7 TV Commercial BMW 7 Series Launch, Moscow Psy Holographic Concert Sony Experia launch Martini Tupac Christian Louboutin Dita von Teese Exhibition BASF Mariah Carey Burberry Ferrari For more information go to http://www.musion3d.co.uk/portfolio-category/portfolio/

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Arch Sinfonia

The Arch Sinfonia was founded in 2012 by its dynamic Artistic Director, ChloÊ van Soeterstède, supported by musicians from the Royal Academy of Music, the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, all of whom are passionately committed to orchestral music, chamber music and solo performances. It is a sophisticated London based cross-arts symphony orchestra building different bridges between young professional musicians, contemporary composers and both established and emerging solo performers, enabling them to share their passion with a variety of audiences in stimulating and enjoyable environments, aiming to lift the boundaries between the musicians on stage and the audience. For more information go to http://archsinfonia.co.uk/ Conductor and Artistic director, Chloe van Soeterstede Born in 1988, Chloe van Soeterstede studied the violin and the viola at Conservatoire Regional of Paris and entered Nicolas Brochot's conducting class, obtaining her final diploma in 2010. Since then, she has studied at the Royal Academy of Music, studying viola with Professor Yuko Inoue and conducting with Raymond Holden and Paul Brough. She is also attending conducting classes with Sian Edwards, head of conducting at the Royal Academy of Music, as well as Professor Peter Stark at the Royal College of Music. In April 2013, Chloe was selected to participate in an international conducting masterclass in France and as a result, conducted the United Strings of Europe chamber orchestra in April and in November 2013. She also conducted the Berlin Sinfonietta, and the Harmony Sinfonia, and has great support from Daniel Harding who frequently invited her to attend some of his rehearsals and work with him. Chloe was a member of the European Union Youth Orchestra (EUYO) and gave a recital in the famous Wigmore Hall with the Stella Quartet (in which she is currently the viola player). She also played under the baton of prestigious conductors that include Mark Elder, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Trevor Pinnock, Mistuko Ushida, Franck Ollu, Marine Alsop, Semyon Bycko and Krysztof Urbanski. Chloe has worked with the Aurora Orchestra, the Halle Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the Solingen Orchestra. For more information go to http://chloevansoeterstede.co.uk/

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Prakruti Dance

Prakruti Dance has performed widely and internationally, including venues such as the Nehru Centre, V & A Museum, Kensington, and the Indian High Commission in Kenya. Founded by sisters Naytika and Nipa Shah, the dance school teaches mainly Bharata Natyam. Other styles taught are folk, Bollywood and semi-classical. Naytika Shah started her Bharata Natyam training in Nairobi, Kenya. After her arangetram in 1996, she went to Nalanda Nritya Kala Mahavidyalaya in Mumbai for further training where she graduated with a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts (Dance). The degree included teaching experience also. On her return to Nairobi, Naytika started a dance school called Chidambaram. In Nairobi, Naytika performed at several functions and events. She choreographed a unique fashion show, which included a lot of dance movements and poses on the catwalk. Naytika has also choreographed and taught several semi-classical and folk dances for various events and conferences. She has often worked in close conjunction with the Indian high commission to Kenya, especially in their programmes to promote Indian Classical dance. Just before she came to the UK, Naytika underwent special training in abhinaya under Dr. Kanak Rele, one of the finest exponents of abhinaya in India. She danced at the Earl’s court exhibition for tourism and at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan here in London. Her great passion is to bring about awareness of Bharata Natyam as a beautiful art form that is rich and majestic. Nilpa started her training in Nairobi, Kenya at a very early age. After her arangetram in 1990, she went to Canada for further studies where she participated in various dance events and was actively involved in teaching as well. Nilpa was also invited to the Ivory Coast for a period of 10 days to dance for an Indian dance festival held by the Indian Embassy. After her studies, she returned to Nairobi where she had the opportunity to dance at the Indian High Commission functions, and various community events. Nilpa also had the opportunity to teach and dance for the first ever Jain Conference in Nairobi. In London, Nilpa has choreographed and taught dances for the opening of the Digambar Jain temple in 2006 and has also danced for Veeryatan celebrating 10 years of Jain school in 2007. She has also done various dance workshops with children of all ages. Nilpa has performed for the Indian Tourism Board at their function promoting Indian Culture in Langport, Somerset. Her other performances include dancing at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and at Earls’ Court. For more information go to http://www.prakrutidance.com/

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HeadFirst Productions

Established in 2013, HeadFirst Productions produces socially-engaged, mid-scale opera and theatre with high production values. The company’s aim is to make a significant impact on bridging the gap between large and small scale productions, and to provide performance opportunities for mid-career performers alongside support for emerging artists. HFP strives to increase accessibility to the arts by producing exceptional work that is engaging for a new audience as well as for regular theatre-goers. Productions include Puccini’s La Bohème, a sixhour marathon event, Concert for Nepal, and a brand new multi-arts festival, A Festival of Sex, Love and Death. For more information: headfirstproductions.org Founder & Artistic Director - Sophie Gilpin Previous opera directing credits include the premiere of The Peasants’ Opera; Die Fledermaus for Celebrate Voice; La Bohème for Headfirst Productions; Gounod’s Romeo & Juliet at the Rose Theatre Kingston; Tosca; Don Pasquale (scenes); and the premiere of a new composition, Quays & Laila. Sophie has also directed numerous pieces of new writing at venues including the Park Theatre, Theatre 503 and The Firestation Arts Centre in Windsor. Highlights include Katherine Armitage’s Duet for Re:Sound Music Theatre - a new commission by The Oxford Lieder Festival; Solitude, the winner of the Kenneth Branagh Drama Award; And Then He Came Back and Him, Her & Us both at the Park Theatre (Park200). Sophie studied at the University of Warwick, was involved with the Research and Development for Sasha Wares’ production of Wild Swans at the Young Vic Theatre, and was Director in Residence for the New London Opera Players from 2012-2013, and was Trainee Resident Director at the Kings Head Theatre in 2011. Sophie is the Festival Director for A Festival of Sex, Love and Death at the Pleasance Theatre Islington for which she will also direct Don Giovanni; Upcoming projects include directing The Invisible Man: The Musical for Youth Music Theatre and directing La Traviata for Hampstead Garden Opera.

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General information

OPERA TODAY ARTICLE (please note that this article was written in 2015, before Mirabai had been completed. It was completed shortly after that article appeared, and an offline updated version is available on request). http://www.operatoday.com/content/2015/03/mirabai_new_ope.php Tony Palmer http://www.tonypalmer.org/ MUSION TV COMMERCIAL: NO 7 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyDp3OOPMiM OTHER MUSION LINKS Fashion Videos: Alfred Dunhill - https://vimeo.com/79217567 British Fashion Awards - https://vimeo.com/78805549 Forever 21 - https://vimeo.com/79217565 Stefan Eckert - https://vimeo.com/79287673 Target (foil) - https://vimeo.com/104525557 (password: Targ3t )

CONTACTS Barry Seaman

composer

orpheus1012@blueyonder.co.uk

Mariam Al-Roubi

librettist

scarlette142002@gmail.com

Jane Seaman

project administrator

workingwords50@gmail.com

Ian O’Connell

director, Musion

ian@musionevents.com

Nilpa Shah

director, Prakruti Dance

nilpa@prakrutidance.com

Chloe Van Soeterstede

conductor, Arch Sinfonia

chloevanso@gmail.com

Sophie Gilpin

artistic director, HeadFirst

sophie@headfirstproductions.org

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Front cover design by Mariam Al-Roubi Krishna and Mira images by Ian Williams Vrindavan nature images by Barry Seaman, shot at Sheffield Park, East Sussex UK camera: Pentax K-50

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The Mirabai Project  

Information brochure about new opera Mirabai by Barry Seaman and Mariam Al-Roubi, including background, production concept, cast, partners a...

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