With a libretto by opera-giant Sir David Pountney and music by Alex Woolf, A Feast in the Time of Plague is the only new opera to have been commissioned during lockdown.
Pountney completed the libretto in early June. Award-winning 25-year-old British composer Alex Woolf (described by Gramophone magazine as “a major presence in starry company”) completed his score in 6 weeks.
It will be performed and filmed on the stage of the Theatre in the Woods on 12 / 13 September 2020 and will be available to watch free online afterwards. The online stream will be made available in two parts – part 1 from 6pm on Wednesday 07 October 2020 and part 2 on a date to be confirmed.
Pountney explains how his libretto developed whilst in lockdown in Wales: “I responded to Pushkin’s little fragment by creating 12 – because of the Last Supper – very varied characters who arrive voluntarily and most of whom depart involuntarily – i.e. they die. In between they capture the defiance and solidarity that we have all experienced during these strange times. The virus exposes truths about all of us in surprising ways. A Feast in the Time of Plague captures this – as well as the essential lesson that we must carry on laughing.”
The Times, Neil Fisher, 14.09.20 (fee payable) - 3 stars
“…She commands the cook (Anne-Marie Owens) to prepare a final feast for a “dirty dozen” who include….revving on stage in his motorbike, a “playboy” sung by Simon Keenlyside (bike:model’s own)…”