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Local Talent to Feature in Glyndebourne's New Chamber Opera 'Glass Human'

Seven Norfolk residents will feature in Glyndebourne’s chamber opera Glass Human next month, alongside world-class opera singers.


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Seven Norfolk-based residents will feature alongside world-class opera singers from Glyndebourne for its brand new chamber opera, Glass Human, which comes to Norwich Theatre Stage Two next month.

Singers from Norwich Theatre’s Singing Sessions group were invited by Glyndebourne to explore and record a new soundscape for the opera, led by Sound Artist, Melanie Wilson. It explores themes of connection and loneliness in contemporary society.

Glass Human (Sat 19 Nov) features three characters living isolated lives in the same tower block: a young student living away from home for the first time; a Syrian refugee waiting for leave to remain; and an older bereaved man experiencing the first effects of dementia. All the characters are fictitious but informed by real people who the creative team met during their research for the piece. 

The soundscape recorded by Norwich singers provides one of the most distinctive sonic elements of the opera, building in power and volume to draw the characters out of the tower block. 

Jennifer Holroyd, one of the participants at the Glyndebourne recording, said: 

“To be invited to be a part of Glyndebourne is quite an honour, and it is really exciting to be something new it is a particularly proud moment for me. The Norwich Theatre singing sessions are a great way to meet lots of different people. It is something I do just for me that gives me a sense of accomplishment.” 

Wendy Ellis Creative Programmes Director at Norwich Theatre said: “We were thrilled to work with our long-term partners, Glyndebourne, to provide this really unique opportunity for local people to become part of a brand new chamber opera. 

“This is a really innovative production, and we are excited to offer our audiences a fresh experience of what opera might feel like! We are showing it alongside traditional favourites Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, Puccini’s La bohème, and Mozart’s Requiem, which Glyndebourne will perform as part of their annual visit to Norwich.”  

Glass Human (Sat 19 Nov) was created by composer Samantha Fernando and writer and sound artist Melanie Wilson and is being staged by director Lucy Bailey, whose production of Much Ado About Nothing is currently performing at Shakespeare’s Globe, working with designer Joanna Parker.  

Composer Samantha Fernando said: “The characters reflect three very different experiences of loneliness but also a shared desire to connect with another person. That’s something they are all striving for, something we can all relate to, I think.” 

Scored for viola, cello, accordion, harp and percussion, glass human will be performed by five musicians from the Glyndebourne Tour Orchestra who appear on stage alongside three soloists – soprano Anna Cavaliero, mezzo-soprano Camille Maalawy and bass Stephen Bowen. Performances will be conducted by Ashley Beauchamp 

Glass Human is a part of the Glyndebourne Tour at Norwich Theatre between 15 – 17 Nov and features performances of Mozart’s the Marriage of Figaro, Puccini’s La bohème, Mozart’s Requiem and Glass Human. 

Norwich Theatre Soundscape Participants 

Beatrice Dale, Julie Golland, Jennifer Holroyd, Rick Law, Vanessa Owen, Christine Stone and Andy Tourle 

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