On Thursday 30th November 2017, CMF presented an opera double bill under the tile i, object. The evening paired two chamber operas – Michael Nyman’s The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat with Unknown Position by Kate Whitley – linked through a common theme: both operas portray a person whose experience of objects has drastically deviated from what is accepted as normal.
Performed at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in West London, both operas starred 2015 CMF Artist Raphaela Papadakis (soprano), who had created the role of Woman in Whitley’s Unknown Position in 2011. Papadakis was joined by tenor Nathan Vale and baritone Joseph Padfield and the orchestra included seven CMF Artists, all conducted by Mark Biggins.
After beginning with an open dress rehearsal in the afternoon, the evening performance was preceded by a panel discussion which explored not only the cognitive and relationship issues displayed within the libretti, but also how the music is influenced by these issues. The panel included: the librettist of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Christopher Rawlence; Lauren Stewart, Professor of Psychology and co-director of the MSc in Music, Mind and Brain at Goldsmiths, University of London; Jonathan Cole, a consultant in Clinical Neurophysiology at Poole Hospital and professor at Bournemouth University; the evening’s director, Rosalind Parker; and Ian Ritchie, former Artistic Director of the City of London Festival and The Musical Brain, who chaired the discussion.
The show was reviewed widely by The Cusp, I Care If You Listen (“Papadakis was the standout performer of the vocal trio, a compelling stage presence throughout.”), Daily Express, and The Arts Desk (“Enchanting soprano Raphaela Papadakis made a complicated Woman, her mercurial moods driving the unshowy rhetoric of her vocal lines (which pull off the rare feat of making a contemporary, vernacular libretto sound quite natural).”)
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