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Hannah Kendall’s one-act chamber opera The Knife of Dawn tells the gripping story of Guyanese political activist and poet Martin Carter as he reaches the 28th – and most critical – day of his hunger strike in protest at British rule. Will poetry or death be the most effective way to serve his country?
A one-man monologue performed by Peter Brathwaite, The Knife of Dawn swings from despair to hope and everything in between in an exhilaratingly intense depiction of the personal struggles and hallucinations of a politically-engaged artist.
Kendall and librettist Tessa McWatt, who share their Guyanese heritage with Carter, have created a chamber opera of great beauty and intricacy for small Orchestra – while break-through director Ola Ince creates a visionary, total theatre production for the Royal Opera House stage.
A New Dark Age, directed by Katie Mitchell, joins music by three of the most exciting contemporary composers in a breath-taking multi-media experience, as three outstanding soloists perform both onstage and on video in a specially created film by renowned movie-maker Grant Gee. Hypnotic vocal sounds, driving electronic music and mesmeric visuals demand our engagement in the big questions of the current moment – where are we at? And where might we go from here?
The three composers – Mercury Prize-nominated composer, producer and performer Anna Meredith, Grammy-nominated composer Missy Mazzoli and award-winning Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir – all write thrillingly at the intersection of contemporary classical and electronic music, and all three composers are being heard on our stage for the very first time.
Live performance is a shared experience, and our audiences are at the heart of what we do on our stages, backstage, online, in cinemas and in our communities. This year’s global pandemic has affected all arts organisations across the world. We have lost £3 in every £5 of our income, and any Government loan will take us only part of the way. We need your help to bring artists back to our stages. Please consider making a donation to the Royal Opera House Recovery Campaign.
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