Work of the Week – Richard Ayres: Peter Pan
Peter Pan, a new opera by Richard Ayres with libretto by British writer Lavinia Greenlaw, opens on 19 December 2013 in a production by Oper Stuttgart directed by Frank Hilbrich, conducted by Roland Kluttig, and designed by Duncan Hayler.
When Ayres and Greenlaw first met to discuss the opera, they shared many memories of their own childhoods; this was the starting point for their Peter Pan. Ayres’ score is characteristic in its extraordinary high energy and extremes of register. Tinkerbell is played by two piccolos, a glockenspiel and an accordion; she has no lines but her emotions are impossible to misjudge.
If many of the characters are impolite or even mean, portrayed through Ayres’ musical non sequiturs and sharp contrasts they seem comic, though as with others of his works there is an underlying sense of disquiet. Ayres says:
I faced several challenges as a composer, the biggest was perhaps to find a musical language that not only suits a world full of children, but also one that describes a bizarre, slightly disturbing and dreamlike world.
Performances in Stuttgart extend into April next year. A co-commission with Stuttgart and Komische Oper Berlin, and co-production with Welsh National Opera, Peter Pan will enjoy performances in Berlin in Autumn 2014 and in the UK in 2015.
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