John premiered Andrew Gant’s opera Don’t Go Down The Elephant After Midnight, with soloist Patricia Rozario, at the Tete-a-Tete Opera Festival, Hammersmith, on 2nd and 3rd July 2008. Repeat performances at Oxford, again with New Chamber Opera, were warmly received in November 2008.
[Press Release] University of Oxford > Media > 2008 (http://www.ox.ac.uk/media/news_stories/2008/080731.html)
Three members of Oxford University’s Music faculty will be involved in the premiere of a new opera at a London festival this weekend.
Dr Andrew Gant, a lecturer at St Peters, has written the opera, Don’t Go Down the Elephant After Midnight while Dr John Traill, Director of Music at St Anne’s College and Lecturer in Music at St Catherine’s College, will be conducting it and Dr Michael Burden, a Fellow and Tutor at New College will be directing.
The opera will be performed at the Tête-à-Tête Opera Festival in Hammersmith on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 August 2008. International opera star, Dame Patricia Rozario, a soprano, will be performing.
Don’t Go Down the Elephant After Midnight is about Pat, a taxi driver who is obsessed by Mozart, and the real world of bus lanes and traffic becomes increasingly blurred with the Mozartian world in her head.
An eclectic sound-world recreates the strange, surreal mixture in Pat’s head. Mozart plays on the stereo. The ‘real’ world is heard in the form of new music, sometimes super-imposed on the recorded Mozart, sometimes free-standing. The sonic paraphernalia of modern life plays a part in this sound-world too: car-horns, ring-tones, sat-navs and police-cars.
John Traill, known as ‘a leading conductor of his generation’, said: ‘This is a remarkable project, I have been privileged to work with soloist Patricia Rozario and director Michael Burden, and we have endeavoured to deliver the immense range of psychological emotions in an intense and musical performance. Working with Patricia has been a delight, exploring both the music and growing insanity of the character with enthusiasm.’
Dr Gant, who has been Organist, Choirmaster and Composer at Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal since 2000, has also composed A British Symphony, which is being performed by the Philharmonica Orchestra on Monday 4 August 2008.