Aldeburgh Festival, Snape Maltings Concert Hall, 3 & 5 June

Sherman Theatre, Cardiff, 8 June

Theatr Clwyd, Mold, 19 June

Hackney Empire, London, 23 June

Buxton International Festival, Buxton, 18 July

Writer Alice Birch [pictured] and composer Tom Coult are amongst the most compelling voices in their respective fields and their first opera, developed at Snape Maltings as part of its Jerwood Opera Writing Programme, is an opera for now and about now.

In a muddied nightdress, in a country kitchen, Violet finally smiles. For years, her tired daily routine has been dictated by the inescapable chime of the Clock Tower, until one night she feels time quicken. Suddenly an hour is lost – every day. As the hours disappear, long-held certainties evaporate and ordered society falls into disarray. With the townspeople in crisis, can Violet finally escape?

Violet was due to be premiered at the cancelled 2020 Aldeburgh Festival and will now open the 2022 Festival with two performances (3 & 5 June). Following the performances at Aldeburgh Festival, Music Theatre Wales will be touring the production to the Sherman Theatre in Cardiff (8 June), Theatre Clwyd in Mold (19 June), in London presented by the Royal Opera at Hackney Empire (23 June) and Buxton Festival (18 July).

Andrew Gourlay conducts the London Sinfonietta and a cast featuring Anna Dennis (Violet), Richard Burkhard (Felix) Frances Gregory (Laura) and Andrew Mackenzie-Wicks (The Clock Keeper). Anna Dennis replaces Elizabeth Atherton who has withdrawn due to personal circumstances. The creative team includes director Jude Christian, designer Rosie Elnile and costume designer Cécile Trémolières.

Violet is a co-production by Britten Pears Arts and Music Theatre Wales, staged in association with the London Sinfonietta. The London performance is co-produced and presented by The Royal Opera in association with Hackney Empire.

Alice Birchs film work includes Mothering SundayLady Macbeth, which won the BIFA for Best Screenplay in 2017 and was nominated for Outstanding Debut & Best British Feature BAFTA 2018. Alice has also written for TV, working on Normal People (BBC / Element Pictures) adapted from the novel by Sally Rooney. Alice has also worked on their forthcoming adaptation of Sally Rooney’s CONVERSATIONS WITH FRIENDS. 2022 will see her new TV series, DEAD RINGERS, premiere on Amazon, on which Alice is the Lead Writer and Executive Producer. Alice was also in the writers’ room as Story Editor for Season 2 of Succession (HBO). In theatre, Alice has written [BLANK] (Donmar Warehouse / Clean Break); Orlando (Schaubühne, Berlin); La Maladie de la Mort (Bouffes du Nord); Anatomy of a Suicide, Ophelia’s Zimmer, Revolt. She said. Revolt again (Royal Court Theatre); We Want You To Watch (National Theatre); The Lone Pine Club (Pentabus); Little Light (Orange Tree); Little on the inside (Almeida/Clean Break); Salt (Comedie de Valence); and Many Moons (Theatre503).

Tom Coult composes playful and seductive music and has been championed by many of the UK’s major orchestras and ensembles, resulting in a series of acclaimed large-scale pieces including Beautiful Caged Thing for soprano Claire Booth and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Sonnet Machine for the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, and St John’s Dance (premiered by Edward Gardner and the BBC Symphony Orchestra to open the First Night of the 2017 BBC Proms). In 2021 he was made Composer-in-Association with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, who have played his music on a number of occasions – the first major piece of his residency was Pleasure Garden, a concerto for violinist Daniel Pioro, also broadcast on BBC Radio 3. 

Listings

Tom Coult music
Alice Birch libretto

Anna Dennis Violet
Richard Burkhard Felix
Frances Gregory Laura
Andrew Mackenzie-Wicks The Clockkeeper


Jude Christian director
Rosie Elnile set designer
CécileTrémolières costume designer
Jackie Shemesh lighting designer
Adam Sinclair animation
London Sinfonietta
Andrew Gourlay conductor

Tickets

Aldeburgh Festival, Snape Maltings Concert Hall, 3 & 5 June. Tickets from £10

Sherman Theatre, Cardiff, 8 June. Tickets from £6

Theatr Clwyd, Mold, 19 June (on sale soon)

Hackney Empire, London, 23 June. Tickets from £10

Buxton International Festival, Buxton, 18 July (on sale soon)