Peter Gill, playwright and theatre director
Semper Dowland / Corridor
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Semper Dowland / The Corridor

by Harrison Birtwistle

Aldeburgh Festival

Britten Studio, Snape, 12 June 2009

A double bill:

Semper Dowland, semper dolens
Theatre of melancholy. The passionate melancholy of Elizabethan master John Dowland’s music is another of Birtwistle’s obsessions. In Semper Dowland, semper dolens (‘always Dowland, always doleful’ was Dowland’s own, punning description of himself), Birtwistle arranges Dowland’s Seven Teares Figured in Seven Passionate Pavanes and interweaves them with Dowland songs.
The Corridor
A scena for soprano, tenor and six instruments (world premiere). The Corridor freeze-frames the devastating moment when Orpheus turns to look back at Eurydice as they leave the underworld and he loses her forever. ‘I’m obsessed with the myth of Orpheus’, says Birtwistle. ‘I see The Corridor as a single moment from the Orpheus story magnified, like a photographic blowup. I’ve thought of it as virtuosic, close-up chamber theatre, with the Sinfonietta musicians in the action as well as the singers.’

Commissioned and produced by the Aldeburgh Festival and Southbank Centre, in association with the London Sinfonietta and Bregenz Festival.

It played at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 17th July 2009 and 7 July 2009 before travelling to the Bregenz Festival.

Music Harrison Birtwistle
libretto (The Corridor) David Harsent
soprano Elizabeth Atherton
tenor Mark Padmore
director Peter Gill
set & costume designer Alison Chitty
lighting designer Paul Pyant
video art and projection design Lorna Heavey
associate director Rachel Lopez de la Nieta
London Sinfonietta
conductor Ryan Wigglesworth

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