For the second year, Time Zone Theatre Ltd in collaboration with Bridewell Theatre presents Opera in the City Festival, which shows inventive takes on classics and new work by some of the most exciting, young British and international artists.
The inaugural festival took place from 1st – 12th August 2017 at Bridewell Theatre, and presented a variety of operas, musical dramas and multi-art productions - opera for everyone: accessible, inventive and affordable with ticket prices of only £15. The festival aims to create a new hub for classical music right in the heart of the City of London. The productions we are presenting are fresh, innovative and push the boundaries of classical music. Strong stories, intriguing characters and performances in new, English translations make opera accessible for everyone and will attract regular opera-goers and those new to opera alike.
The demand for this festival got recognised by some of the most important opera publications such as Bachtrack and Opera magazine:
“Opera loving newcomers to London might make the forgivable assumptions that (a) London opera takes place at Covent Garden and in the Coliseum, (b) opera is an expensive thing built on a large scale and (c) the operatic world shuts down in August. Forgivable, but wrong. (...) [Time Zone Theatre’s Opera in the City festival] steers well clear of “same old” standard repertoire, and within its four shows, there’s plenty of variety to tempt any operagoer looking for the unusual, with operas from around 1900 (Time Zone tag these with the name of their “Fin de Siècle” project).“ Bachtrack
“Time Zone Theatre begins an intriguing new venture this year at the Bridewell Theatre. While there is no shortage of opera as a whole around the country in the summer months, there is little on offer in the centre of town. (...) Director Pamela Schermann deserves credit for identifying this gap.“ - Live Theatre UK
“With such a varied and exciting programme, Opera in the City offers strong narrative pieces rigorously sung in English, which will appeal to both regular opera audiences and those new to opera. Thanks also to its affordable ticket prices for every performance, the festival is bound to become a staple of London’s classical musical scene.“ - Everything Theatre
“Deserves praise for looking beyond the obvious and for providing London with a further August alternative to the Royal Albert Hall“ - Opera magazine
Last years supporters and sponsors of the festival included Arts Council England, Golsoncott Foundation and the Austrian Cultural Forum London.
After a successful first year, we look forward to our next season, which will take place from 21st August 2018 - 8th September 2018 at the Bridewell Theatre in the City of London. Following the successful ‘Fin de Siécle’ project, which focused on works composed around 1900, Time Zone Theatre Ltd takes their audience on a journey into the Underworld in summer 2018.
The festival will show Time Zone Theatre’s production of Gluck’s opera Orpheus and Eurydice, which received raving reviews in 2014 at the Rose Playhouse, Bankside. Presented in a new, English translation and with a musical arrangement for piano, violin, flute and harp, the myth of Orpheus, who descents into the Underworld to save his wife Eurydice, comes to life once again.
The second piece will be a new, commissioned work by Simone Spagnolo. The operatic spectacle Faust/Mephistopheles (working title) will explore the tragic story of Doctor Faustus and his fatal deal with Mephistopheles from a new, contemporary angle. Scored for four performers/musicians and using material from Marlowe’s and Goethe’s plays, this new multi-art piece asks which sacrifices we are willing to make. Muti award-winning composer Spagnolo received praising reviews for his experimental performance art piece Even you, lights, cannot hear me at Opera in the City Festival 2017.
Alongside Time Zone Theatre’s in-house season Underworld, the festival will also provide a platform for visiting companies to present their work, a Young Artist Programme including masterclasses and a public YA performance, as well as workshops, panel discussions and a scratch night.
We want to expand on last year's success, and present a bigger festival this year with more opportunities for artists. In 2017, our festival paid a total of £17,125 in fees to their artists involved. This is a big sum for a small Fringe company, but we at Time Zone Theatre Ltd believe that all artists should receive an appropriate fee for their work. These efforts got recognised by Arts Council England, who supported our project last year. This year, we will extend Opera in the City to three weeks, and add further events, such as a Young Artist Programme with paid opportunities for emerging singers, masterclasses, talks and workshops. We are in talks with Arts Council England and other funding bodies, but need to raise some funds by the end of the year to proceed with this project and make London's new summer opera festival a success!
Below: Images from last years' productions A Florentine Tragedy and Zanetto (photos (c) Lidia Crisafulli)