Ava’s Wedding: An English Tragedy
Thursday, 23rd April 2015
The world premiere of a brand new English opera created just down the road in Kings Heath by former B13 writer Alexandra Taylor and composer Michael Wolters. You may remember Alex’s pieces about local characters Daniela the Big Issue vendor, and Dee the cross-dressing pensioner. She’s now moved on to creating fictional characters for opera. She’s putting the soap into opera!
The subject in question is that particularly English trait of not saying what you really mean. ‘Ava’s Wedding – An English Tragedy’ reveals a large group of friends and family as they prepare for Ava Blackwell’s big day.
The action follows ten intertwined stories, each one based on a misunderstanding or secret. If everyone told the truth, their problems would disappear. But they’re English – through politeness, embarrassment, shame or duty, nobody speaks up and the problems escalate, culminating in a raft of soap-style break ups, fall outs, suicide and murder.
With music that borrows from five centuries of Englishness and a libretto that pays homage to soap opera, this world premiere showcases the Vocal and Instrumental Departments at the Birmingham Conservatoire conducted by Fraser Goulding.
What’s different about Ava’s Wedding is the composer’s decision to base each scene on a different English musical style, from Renaissance to 1980s new wave, and beyond.
“The instrumentation is also a little unusual,” explains Wolters, who is Deputy Head of Composition at Birmingham Conservatoire. “It’s written for a thirty piece orchestra, but that includes five flutes, a saxophone quartet and an electric guitar. It’s tradition with a twist.”!