Amazingly, a new British opera will receive its stage premiere this September, an event to be celebrated at the best of times and particularly so in the current crisis.
The staging will take place in Lubljana, Slovenia where Beyond the Garden by Stephen McNeff and Aoife Mannix was commissioned by Slovenian Chamber Music Theatre (SKGG). The premiere, delayed from July 2020, takes place at the Cankarjev dom, the main arts complex in Ljubljana, on 4 September 2020, with Susan Bickley and Katja Konvalinka, conducted by Simon Dvoršak and in a production directed by Rocc (Rok Rappl), former artistic director of the Slovenian National Opera.
Lasting around 70 minutes and written for two singers and five-piece chamber ensemble, the work explores the relationship between Alma Mahler and her daughter Manon, who died at the age of 18. McNeff describes the piece as a ghost story, and the Mannix’s libretto explores the outer reaches of memory, what we want to forget and how we try – and usually fail – to control the narrative of our lives.
The artists gave a presentation about the opera, performing excerpts, in July 2019 (see my article) and it is highly commendable that the project has managed to come to fruition despite the current crisis.
Further details from the Cankarjev dom website.