Continental lands operatic coup

Tim Benjamin
Tim Benjamin

One of Britain’s leading young contemporary classical composers brings his latest work to Preston next month.

Former BBC Young Musician of the Year winner Tim Benjamin will stage Life Stories, a double bill of new one-act operas (Silent Jack and Rest in Peace) at The Continental in Broadgate next month.

Best known for opera, including Madame X (2014) and Emily (2013), Tim’s company Radius has already won critical acclaim for operas including The Corley Conspiracy, Mrs Lazarus and A Dream of England

The two operas in Life Stories represent Tim’s most ambitious work to date.

They are based on the dark and gripping short stories of Anton Chekhov and Anthony Peter, and feature the voices of Taylor Wilson (mezzo-soprano) and James Fisher (bass).

In Silent Jack, an old man wakes amid the detritus of 21st century consumerism.

Who is he? Why is he sleeping here? What causes the fever that plagues his mind?

The audience is addressed personally, and humour and tragedy combine with atmospheric music that draws on Purcell.

In Rest in Peace, a young woman staggers into a secret cellar, the faded trappings of past glory decaying all around. Who is she? Why does she collapse, exhausted, craving sleep?

Her final movements have arrived. We hear her tale, of riches and love won and lost, and we learn the terrible truth of the price of her struggle to survive.

The drama (in English) is presented as a modern re-invention of Brechtian opera-theatre, while Benjamin’s music blends the influences of Weill and Eisler with sounds reminiscent of Shostakovich and Weinberg.

Life Stories is at The Continental on Thursday July 2, doors open at 7.30pm.

Tickets £10, £8 concs are available online from SEE Tickets, Skiddle & WeGotTickets. Also in person from the venue, call 01772 499 425.