performance archive

ZATOPEK! Emily Howard (music) and Selma Dimitrijevic (libretto)

ZATOPEK! Emily Howard (music) and Selma Dimitrijevic (libretto)

Zátopek! Emily Howard (music) Selma Dimitrijevic (libretto)

Commissioned by Second Movement as part of New Music 20×12.

Special thanks to Jerwood Charitable Foundation for making this commission possible.

Friday 15th June 2012  The Epstein Theatre, Liverpool

Sunday 15th July 2012 Purcell Room, Southbank Centre, New Music 20×12 Weekend Celebration

Presented by Second Movement in partnership with Royal Liverpool Philharmonic

“a tremendous opera” The Review Show, BBC2

4* The Guardian

Zátopek! is a 12 minute opera inspired by the life and times of legendary Czech long distance runner Emil Zátopek. Zátopek! formed part of PRS for Music Foundation’s New Music 20×12 which supported the creation of 20 new pieces of music for the Cultural Olympiad. The world premiere of Zátopek! took place on 15th June 2012 at the Epstein Theatre, Liverpool, presented by Second Movement in partnership with Liverpool Philharmonic. The performance was broadcast on Hear and Now on BBC Radio 3 on 16th June and is available for download from NMC Recordings at www.nmcrec.co.uk.

ZATOPEK! Emily Howard (music), Selma Dimitrijevic (libretto) (photo Mark McNulty)

ZATOPEK! Emily Howard (music), Selma Dimitrijevic (libretto) (photo Mark McNulty)

Cast: John McMunn – Emil, Wendy Dawn Thompson – Dana, Rosalind Coad – Commentator, Susanne Dymott -Starter/Mother, Peter Brathwaite – Mimoun/Father, Toby Girling -Chataway/Lieutenant Colonel, Kris Belligh -Schade/Mr Bata

Members of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir

Members of Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Choir

Ensemble 10/10

Director: Danielle Urbas

Conductor: Clark Rundell

Musical Director: Nicholas Chalmers

Lighting Designer: Paul Green

Costume Designer: Freya Busby

Projection Designer: Graham Clayton-Chance

Design Consultant: Simon Holdsworth

Producer: Abigail Toland


The Medium by Gian Carlo Menotti

Northern Ireland Tour

NI Opera in association with Second Movement

7th February 2011 Strule Arts Centre, Omagh

9th February 2011 The Great Hall, Downpatrick

15th February 2011 Theatre at the Mill, Newtownabbey

16th February 2011 The Market Place Theatre, Armagh

The Medium is a gripping tale of the sinister world of the seance, where Madame Flora’s meddling with the supernatural leads to the revelation of a terrible secret – and a horrifying descent into madness. A revival of Second Movement’s 2006 London production.

Director: Oliver Mears

Conductor: Nicholas Chalmers

Set and Costume Design: Simon Holdsworth

Cast: Yvette Bonner, David Butt Philip, Doreen Curran, Alison Dunne, Jane Harrington, Will Stokes


THE KNIFE'S TEARS Bohuslav Martinu (compsoer) Georges Ribemont-Dessagines (libretto) (photo Olivia Mann)

THE KNIFE’S TEARS Bohuslav Martinu (compsoer) Georges Ribemont-Dessagines (libretto) (photo Olivia Mann)Libretto by Georges Ribemont Dessaignes

The Knife’s Tears by Bohuslav Martinů (composer) and Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes (libretto)

30th October 2010 Reduta, Brno, Czech Republic

31st October 2010 DISK Theatre, Prague, Czech Republic

In 2010 Second Movement was invited by Brno based company Ensemble Opera Diversa to perform its 2007 UK premiere production of Martinů’s The Knife’s Tears in the Czech Republic. We performed this unique jazz inspired surrealist work in our English translation, alongside two operas produced by Ensemble Opera Diversa, Ela, Hela a Stop by Lukáš Sommer based on a text by Václav Havel and Dýnový démon ve vegetariánské restauraci by Ondrej Kyas, libretto by Pavel Drábek. We were delighted to be able to perform Martinů’s chamber opera in the composer’s homeland and would like to extend our thanks to all at Ensemble Opera Diversa and Skutečnost, our hosts in Prague.

Director: Oliver Mears

Conductor: Nicholas Chalmers

Set and Costume Design: Simon Holdsworth

Cast: Yvette Bonner, Jonathan Brown, Hannah Pedley

Czech performances supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England

See excerpts of The Knife’s Tears at the Reduta in Brno and interview with director Oliver Mears and conductor Nicholas Chalmers on Czech television’s Terra Musica here (footage begins at 8.03 mins)


THE THREE WISHES by Bohuslav Martinů (composer) and Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes (libretto)

THE THREE WISHES Bohuslav Martinů

Scenes from The Three Wishes (or The Inconstancy of Life) by Bohuslavů Martinů (composer) and  Georges Ribemont – Dessaignes (libretto)

August 2010 Second Movement at Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival

Studio 2, Riverside Studios, Hammersmith, London

Second Movement presented scenes from this work, previously unseen in the UK at Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival, August 2010. The piece, composed in 1929 in Paris in collaboration with leading surrealist, Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes, is a genre-bending experimental work which fuses live opera and film, jazz and modernism, fantasy and social satire.

Director: Oliver Mears

Conductor: Nicholas Chalmers

Set Design: Gina Rose Lee

Costume Design: Laura Stansfield

Cast: Alison Dunne, Lexi Hutton, Paul Carey Jones Piano: Will Gardner


American Triple Bill: Barber, Bernstein, Weisman

October 2008 Hoxton Hall, Hoxton, London

A Hand of Bridge by Samuel Barber

A new production of Barber’s classic 12 minute opera. Barber’s wittily compressed masterpiece unflinchingly dissects sexual repression and desire, in a game of cards which reveals people’s darkest and innermost thoughts.

Fade (World Premiere) by Stefan Weisman (composer) and David Cote (libretto)

Commissioned by Second Movement

Albert and Getrude arrive at their new eco home filled with hope for the future. But, as the light fails, the house begins to feel more and more isolated. Why are the phones not working? And what exactly is happening ‘over there’? Stefan Weisman’s gripping brand-new opera conjures an atmosphere of increasing menace in a short, sharp tale of a new home and broken lives. World premiere.

Trouble in Tahiti by Leonard Bernstein

A revival of our 2005 production. Written by one of the all-time great masters of American music, Trouble in Tahiti is both a searing indictment of apple-pie suburbia and a haunting exploration of marital breakdown. With the jazzy inflections and raw emotionalism of his best work, Bernstein painfully dissects the American Dream – and what happens when it turns into nightmare.

Director: Oliver Mears

Conductor: Graham Ross

Set and Costume Design: Simon Holdsworth and Aleandra Kharibian

Cast: David Butt-Philip, Jane Harrington, Hannah Pedley, Toby Stafford Allen


SM TKT poster

An Opera Triple Bill: Fleischmann/Shostakovich, Martinů, Offenbach

May 2007 Covent Garden Film Studios, London

The Two Blind Men by Offenbach with libretto by Michael Flexer

A black comedy containing some of Offenbach’s wittiest music, The Two Blindmen is a short satirical opera with a brand new script by Michael Flexer.

Rothschild’s Violin by Fleischmann/Shostakovich

In honour of Shostakovich’s centenary year, Second Movement presented the first fully staged production of Rothschild’s Violin in Britain. A piece close to the heart of the twentieth century’s greatest composer, this powerful and moving opera based on a Chekhov short story was completed by Shostakovich after the death of his student Benjamin Fleischmann in the Siege of Leningrad.

The Knife’s Tears by Bohuslav Martinů with libretto by Georges Ribemont – Dessaignes

Never before performed in the UK, The Knife’s Tears is an effervescent 1920s jazz opera by Czech composer Bohuslav Martinů, best known for his operatic fantasy Julietta. Containing influences as far ranging from ragtime, surrealism, pungent modernism and traditional Czech folk music, Second Movement’s production of The Knife’s Tears was a rare chance to hear a forgotten masterpiece.

Director: Oliver Mears

Conductor: Nicholas Chalmers

Set and Costume Design: Simon Holdsworth

Cast: Yvette Bonner, Jonathan Brown, Hannah Pedley, Nick Sharratt


THE MEDIUM by Gian Carlo Menotti

THE MEDIUM by Gian Carlo Menotti

An Opera Double Bill: Menotti and Mozart

January 2006 Covent Garden Film Studios, London

The Impresario by Mozart with new libretto by Michael Flexer

Written at the same time time as The Marriage of Figaro, Mozart’s hilarious satire on the foibles of opera singers, producers and the theatre remains as fresh as ever in this newly commissioned adaptation from young playwrights, Michael Flexer.

The Medium by Gian Carlo Menotti

Menotti’s most powerful score, The Medium is a gripping portrayal of the sinister world of the seance: Madam Flora’s meddling with the supernatural leads to the revelation of a terrible secret – and a horrifying descent into madness.

Director: Oliver Mears

Conductor: Nicholas Chalmers

Set and Costume Design: Simon Holdsworth

Costume Design: Alexandra Kharibian

Cast: Allison Bell, Sean Clayton, Jane Harrington, Daniel Leatherdale, Hannah Pedley, Margaret Rapacioli, Simon Thorpe


Trouble in Tahiti by Leonard Bernstein 

June 2005 Hoxton Hall, London

Written by one of the all-time great masters of American music, Trouble in Tahiti is both a searing indictment of apple-pie suburbia and a haunting exploration of marital breakdown. With the jazzy inflections and raw emotionalism of his best work, Bernstein painfully dissects the American Dream – and what happens when it turns into nightmare.

Director: Oliver Mears

Conductor: Nicholas Chalmers

Set and Costume Design: Simon Holdsworth and Alexandra Kharibian

Cast: Paul Carey-Jones; Jane Harrington, Alastair Merry; Hannah Pedley; Tom Raskin.


Mozart and Salieri by Rimsky-Korsakov

October 2004 The Grosvenor Chapel, London

The company’s inaugural production was Mozart and Salieri, Rimsky-Korsakovs opera miniature based on Pushkins Little Tragedy of the same name which turns on the fabled murder of Mozart by his jealous and inferior colleague Salieri. This fully staged opera was paired with a first half performance of Rachmaninovs Vespers.

Director: Oliver Mears

Conductor: Nicholas Chalmers

Designer: Alexandra Kharibian

Cast: Tom Raskin, Viktor Rud