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2007 Production

The Sofa and The Departure

By Elizabeth Maconchy

Tuesday 13 November
Thursday 15 November
Saturday 17 November 2007

INDEPENDENT OPERA at Sadler’s Wells’ 2007 production featured two of Elizabeth Maconchy’s one-act operas: The Sofa and The Departure. These wonderfully surreal and yet contrasting works were composed between 1956 and 1961 and premiered at Sadler’s Wells.

Elizabeth Maconchy was born in Hertfordshire in 1907 but grew up in rural Ireland. She studied under Ralph Vaughn Williams at the Royal College of Music in London, but eschewed English pastoralism for the sophisticated modernism of Central Europe embodied by Bartók and Janáček. After completing her studies in Prague she returned to England, and in the post-war era was much in demand with the leading orchestras, ensembles and soloists of the day. In 1987 she was appointed Dame of the British Empire in recognition of her services to music. She died in 1994.

Conductor Dominic Wheeler
Director Alessandro Talevi
Set Designer Madeleine Boyd
Costume Designer Ryszard Andrzejewski
Lighting Designer Matthew Haskins

The Sofa is a light-headed work, involving a dissolute young rake who is punished by his aristocratic grandmother for his fast living and predatory womanizing by being turned into a sofa. The only hope of being turned back into man, she declares, is when a couple makes love on top of him. Matters come to a head when his current girlfriend is successfully seduced by another man on the sofa!

The Departure by contrast is a tragic and unsettling piece, a psychological exploration of bereavement.

Cast: The Sofa

Prince Dominic Nicholas Sharratt
Monique Sarah Tynan
Dominic's Grandmother Josephine Thorpe
Lucille Alinka Kozari
Laura Anna Leese
Yolande Patricia Orr
A Suitor Patrick Ashcroft
Edward George von Boden

Cast: The Departure

Julia Louise Poole
Mark Hakan Vramsmo

Photographs