Music by Gillian Whitehead
Libretto by Fleur Adcock
Music by Arnold Schoenberg
Libretto by Albert Giraud
by arrangement with Universal Edition A.G. Vienna
29th August and 1st September 2019
Grimeborn Festival at the Arcola Theatre
Pierrot is the wandering, painted-face clown seeking poetic inspiration in a prism of moonlight and yearning for the beautiful Colombine. Expressionistic and darkly comic with hints of cabaret, Schoenberg’s 1912 iconic melodrama for voice and five instrumentalists is one of the most influential musical works of the twentieth century. In this performance, it follows a new staging of the dramatic Hotspur, the opera that marked the beginning of a prolific collaboration between revered NZ composer Gillian Whitehead and librettist Fleur Adcock.
In contrast to Pierrot’s timeless abstraction, Hotspur tells the tale of the 14th century Northumbrian hero, Henry “Hotspur” Percy, through the eyes of his recently widowed wife. Elizabeth Mortimer, labelled “a most dangerous widow".For Hotspur / Pierrot Lunaire, Roughton-Arnold shares the stage with Signdance Collective International artists Isolte Avila and David Bower, and also incorporates imaginative live audio description from leading practitioners Rationale Method, pre-concert touch tours and braille translations for the audience. Sara Brodie, one of New Zealand’s leading directors and choreographers, joins forces with London-based Australian conductor, Scott Wilson, to create this ground-breaking new production.
Director - SARA BRODIE
Music Director - SCOTT WILSON
Repetiteur - JAMES KREILING
Co-choreographers - SARA BRODIE & DAVID BOWER
Producer - JOANNE ROUGHTON-ARNOLD
Assistant Producer - HEATHER ALLEN
Soprano - JOANNE ROUGHTON-ARNOLD
Dancers - ISOLTE AVILA & DAVID BOWER
Flute / Piccolo - PASHA MANSUROV
Clarinet - SARAH THURLOW
Clarinet /Bass Clarinet - ANDREW HARPER
Violin / Viola - LUCIA D'AVANZO-LEWIS
Cello - ANNE CHAUVEAU
Percussion - CALIE HOUGH
Piano - CLIODNA SHANAHAN
Stage Manager - FREYA JEFFERIES
Banner Artwork - GRETCHEN ALBRECHT
Audio Description - MO PICKERING-SYMES
Surtitle Operator - GREGORY EMFIETZIS
Braille Transcription - ROGER FIRMAN
"Dancers Isolte Avila and David Bower added beauty and emotional resonance to Hotspur and Pierrot Lunaire respectively, in minimalist, intense settings directed and designed by Sara Brodie... formidAbility has already unearthed something of great promise for opera’s future. It has also created new problems of stagecraft to solve. But musical and visual quality are already there, along with a remarkable ensemble feel. Exciting."
"And that is at the heart of why these two, seemingly so different pieces, work so well together: both challenge what the forms of opera and dance can do together, and show that Grimeborn is one of the most exciting theatre festivals of the summer."
"But magic there often was in Roughton-Arnold’s vocalising, ranging from the most delicate sliding between pitches and most hushed of consonants – jewels of musical noise in themselves – to grim violence."