Chamber opera
14 April 2018 - 2 May 2018 | Volsoper Wien, Austria
Note : Marilyn Forever

Marilyn Forever

The Vienna Volksoper is to give the Austrian premiere - in effect the European premiere - of Gavin's chamber opera Marilyn Forever on April 14 2018, with subsequent performances on April 16, 18, 19, 22, 25, 28, 29 and May 2. It will be conducted by Wolfram-Maria Martig and staged by Christoph Zauner. There will be a pre-performance evening on April 13 2018 at the Kasino am Schwarzenbergplatz presented by Helene Sommer.

https://www.volksoper.at/produktion/marilyn-forever-2018.de.html

 

 



Chamber opera
8 March 2018 | Theatre du Croix Rousse, Lyon
Note : The Collected Works of Billy the Kid

The Collected Works of Billy the Kid

Michael Ondaatje's book The Collected Works of Billy the Kid comprises prose texts as well as poetry. The prose texts are fragments from people who had met Billy while the poems are from his imagination. Michael wrote all the texts, even those that seem to be true documents. For the opera there are two voices: that of Billy and that of a female narrator who, at certain times, also takes on the character of female protagonists such as Sally Chisum and Angela Dickinson.

The project is a co-commission from two theatres in Lyon, Le Theatre du Croix Rousse and the Theatre de la Renaissance. The musical ensemble is a small one with just 6 players: 4 tuned percussion, piano and violin. The ensemble is directed from within by Gérard Lecointe, founder of the Percussion Claviers de Lyon (and also director the Theatre de la Renaissance). There are two singers Claron McFadden for the female role and Bertrand Belin as Billy the Kid. The stage director is Jean Lacornerie, who is also artistic director of the Theatre du Croix Rousse.

 

There will be several performance in Lyon followed by a tour throughout France and Belgium. It is co-produced by Théâtre de la Croix-Rousse with Théâtre de la Renaissance (Ouillins), Muziektheater Transparant, Operadagen Rotterdam and Mahogany Opera Group.

 

 

 



Ballet with Carolyn Carlson
2 March 2018 | Opera National de Bordeaux, Place de la Comedie, 33000 Bordeaux France
Note : Pneuma (2014)

Pneuma (2014)

Carolyn Carlson and Gavin Bryars have worked together several times over the last fifteen years. Initially Carolyn used some of his music for her work, notably A Man in a Room, Gambling and Sub Rosa, but later they hve made new works through collaboration. They made together her solo work Writings on Water for the Venice Biennale, with a string orchestra conducted by Bryars, and this was subsequently performed in Paris, Madrid and Montpellier. Her Giotto solo, to Bryars' The Black River, was performed with the composer as organist, at a chateau in Normandy.

Pneuma, however, is the first full-length ballet that they have created together. The ideas come from Carolyn's reading of the French philosopher Gaston Bachelard's Air and Dreams, allied to other poetic and visual sources (notably the extraordinary Book of Symbols), and focuses on seven specific extracts from this work. The music takes the same seven sections for its overall structure, though in a less specific way. The orchestration has some unusual aspects. For example, violins are omitted giving a richer, darker and homogeneous string sound - something that Bryars has done many times, starting with his first opera Medea, at Lyon and Paris, in 1984. The wind section too comprises dark sonorities, with no flutes or oboes. In addition there is the addition of the remarkable improvising turntablist Philip Jeck, with whom Bryars has worked for many years - on several versions of The Sinking of the Titanic, and on The Stones of the Arch (for the Kronos Quartet and Paul Hillier's Theatre of Voices).

 

 



Shakespeare sonnet settings
27 October 2017 | Strings of Autumn festival, Anežský klášter, Prague
Note : Nothing like the Sun

Nothing like the Sun

Commissioned by Opera North and the Royal Shakepeare Company (RSC) in 2006, this is a rare performance of Gavin's Shakespeare sonnet settings as part of the prestigious Prague Strings of Autumn Festival. They will be performed by the Gavin Bryars Ensemble featuring soprano Sarah Dacey, tenor John Potter, and Gavin Friday as the speaker. Gavin Friday will also perform his own setting of Sonnet 40, which formed part of the original programme.

Full programme:

It Never Rains (viola, cello electric guiitar, double bass)

The North Shore (solo viola plus ensemble)

Gavin Friday: Sonnet 40 (Gavin Friday, plus ensemble)

The Flower of Friendship (viola, cello electric guiitar, double bass)

interval

Nothing like the Son (Eight sonnet settings)

Performers: Sarah Dacey, soprano; John Potter, tenor; Gavin Friday, speaker;

Morgan Goff viola; Kate Wilkinson, viola; Nick Cooper, cello; Gavin Bryars, double bass

Roger Heaton, clarinet and bass clarinet; James Woodrow, electric and acoustic guitars;

Alexandra-Maria Tchernakova, piano; Chris Bradley, percussion (including cimbalom)

 



GB Ensemble perform Shakespeare sonnet settings
25 October 2017 | Howard Assembly Room, Opera North, 46 New Briggate, Leeds
Note : Nothing like the Sun

Nothing like the Sun

Commissioned by Opera North and the Royal Shakepeare Company (RSC) in 2006, this is a rare chance to hear a performance of Gavin's Shakespeare sonnet settings in the UK. It precedes a performance in Prague two days later by the same performers where it will be performed as part of the prestigious Prague Strings of Autumn Festival. The settings will be performed by the Gavin Bryars Ensemble featuring soprano Sarah Dacey, tenor John Potter, and Gavin Friday as the speaker. Gavin Friday will also perform his own setting of Sonnet 40, which formed part of the original programme.

Full programme:

It Never Rains (viola, cello electric guiitar, double bass)

The North Shore (solo viola plus ensemble)

Gavin Friday: Sonnet 40 (Gavin Friday, plus ensemble)

The Flower of Friendship (viola, cello electric guiitar, double bass)

interval

Nothing like the Son (Eight sonnet settings)

Performers: Sarah Dacey, soprano; John Potter, tenor; Gavin Friday, speaker;

Morgan Goff viola; Kate Wilkinson, viola; Nick Cooper, cello; Gavin Bryars, double bass

Roger Heaton, clarinet and bass clarinet; James Woodrow, electric and acoustic guitars;

Alexandra-Maria Tchernakova, piano; Chris Bradley, percussion (including cimbalom)

 

 

 



London Concert
22 September 2017 | Heath Street Baptist Church, 84 Heath Street, Hampstead, London NW3 1DN
Note : Heath Street Baptist Church

Heath Street Baptist Church

A great deal of Gavin Bryars' performance work is outside the UK. As part of an ongoing policy of trying to create performance possibilities for the GB Ensemble, in its various forms, within UK (see Café Oto, London; Junction, Goole; Goldmark Gallery, Uppingham), there will an ensemble performance at Hampstead Baptist Church in London on September 22 2017. The programme will feature each of the four regular players in solo roles, as well as a new version for ensemble of the solo piano piece Ramble on Cortona, and the chamber version of Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet.

Lauda Dolçe I - solo cello (Nick Cooper), electric guitar, bass)

Ramble on Cortona - solo piano (Gavin Bryars), viola, cello, electric guitar) - new version

The North Shore - solo viola (Morgan Goff), piano, electric guitar, cello, + second cello or bass

Flower of Friendship - viola, cello, electric guitar, double bass

- interval -

Lauda con sordino - solo cello (Audrey Riley), electric guitar, piano

Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet - ensemble

Epilogue from Wonderlawn - solo viola (Morgan Goff), cellos, guitar, basses)

Performers: Morgan Goff, viola; Nick Cooper, cello; Audrey Riley, cello; Ziella Bryars, cello; James Woodrow, electric guitar, Gavin Bryars, piano, double bass; Yuri Bryars, bass.

 

 



Ensemble piece for Opera North
8 July 2017 | 3 PM Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, London
Note : Winestead

Winestead

A performance of just this one piece, premiered earlier in the church of St Germain, Winestead, East Yorkshire. See entry for June 22 for details.

Performers: John Potter, tenor; James Woodrow, electric guitar; Morgan Goff, viola; Nick Cooper, cello; Gavin Bryars, harmonium

 

 

 

 



Special small ensemble versions
1 July 2017 | 7:30 PM Goldmark Gallery, 14 Orange Street, Uppingham, Rutland LE15 9SQ
Note : Small Ensemble Titanic/Jesus' Blood

Small Ensemble Titanic/Jesus' Blood

For a performance at the Goldmark Gallery in Uppingham, Gavin is making special versions of The Sinking of the Titanic (lasting 30') and Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet (25'). They will be performed one after the other without a break. The Gavin Bryars Ensemble, with tenor John Potter, performed in Mike Goldmark's very beautiful and intimate gallery a few years ago and Gavin has now created chamber versions of his two earliest, and perhaps best-known, pieces specially for this occasion.

Performers:

Morgan Goff, viola; James Woodrow, elctric guitar; Nick Cooper, cello; Audrey Rily, cello; Ziella Bryas, cello; Gavin Bryars, double bass

 



Ensemble performance
30 June 2017 | Albermarle Music Centre, Hull
Note : Winestead

Winestead

A performance of just this one piece, premiered earlier in the church of St Germain, Winestead, East Yorkshire. See entry for June 22 for details.

Performers: John Potter, tenor; James Woodrow, electric guitar; Morgan Goff, viola; Nick Cooper, cello; Gavin Bryars, harmonium

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Ensemble piece for Opera North
22 June 2017 | 7 PM Church of St Germain, Winestead, Holderness, East Yorkshire (by invitation only)
Note : Winestead

Winestead

Winestead is a tiny village in East Yorkshire, in the area East of Hull called Holderness. It's a part of the world that I have known and loved for most of my life. People often think that East Yorkshire ends at Hull, but there are almost 30 more miles to the sea, culminating in the extraordinary Spurn Point at the mouth of the Humber. The poet Andrew Marvell was born in Winestead - his father was vicar of St Germain and Marvell saw his father drown when crossing the Humber. The works of Andrew Marvell form the work's libretto. For the piece, which will be premiered in the church itself - I use its small but quite beautiful organ within the instrumentation.

It was commissioned for Hull City of Culture 2017 by Opera North Projects, which gave me the chance to work again with my friend Dominic Gray with whom I have had many productive collaborations - Nothing like the Sun, Mercy and Grand, Overworlds and Underworlds (with the Quay Brothers), the bells of Leeds Parish Church as well as various concerts and other events.

In Winestead church, we will give a short programme in which the work is played twice, with other pieces in between. Later it will be played alongside other Hull City of Culture Commissions: on June 30 at the Albemarle Centre, Hull ahd July 8 at the Royal Festival Hall, London. For these two later performances the Winestead organ will be replaced by a harmonium from my good friends, the greatest harmonium specialists, Phil and Pam Fluke.

Church of St German Winestead June 22 2017 7 PM

Winestead (2017) (tenor, organ, viola, electric guitar, cello) c. 20'
It Never Rains (2014) - (viola, electric guitar, cello, bass) c. 5'
Lauda 4 Oi me lasso (2002) - (tenor, viola, electric guitar, cello, bass) 4'
The Flower of Friendship (2009) - (viola, electric guitar, cello, bass) c.12'
Winestead (2017) (tenor, organ, viola, electric guitar, cello) c. 20'

Performers: John Potter, tenor; James Woodrow, electric guitar; Morgan Goff, viola; Nick Cooper, cello; Gavin Bryars, organ and double bass