Guildhall School announces Stephen Plaice as Writer in Residence
Experienced librettist and dramatist will support, supervise and mentor writing students, specifically focusing on operatic composition and the theatre, for new MA in Opera Making and Writing programme offered in association with The Royal Opera House
The Guildhall School today announces Stephen Plaice as Writer in Residence for its new MA in Opera Making and Writing programme. The programme begins this month in association with the Royal Opera House (September 2014).
The MA in Opera Making and Writing is a full-time, one-year Masters programme at the Guildhall School which allows composers and writers to focus on how new opera is created, developed and performed. The programme is led by Dr Julian Philips, Head of Composition at the Guildhall School, in close collaboration with the School’s award-winning Opera department, its Technical Theatre department and Director of Opera for The Royal Opera, John Fulljames.
Librettist and dramatist Stephen Plaice will support, supervise and mentor writing students on the programme. Specifically focusing on operatic composition and the theatre, the core programme supports writers and composers to work collaboratively on the creation of a new chamber operatic work of 20-25 minutes in duration. This will then be rehearsed, produced and premiered by the Opera department in the School’s new Milton Court Studio Theatre. Additional projects will allow writers to focus more specifically on their own creative practice – whether poetry, prose or dramatic script.
Stephen Plaice began his theatrical career in the mid-1970s at the National Theatre. Between 1987 and 2004 he was Writer-in-Residence at Lewes Prison, where he invited in a music theatre workshop team from Glyndebourne, leading to a longstanding relationship with the opera house. He was the librettist for the Glyndebourne children’s opera Misper and the youth opera Zoë by composer John Lunn, as well as three further main-stage operas. A frequent collaborator with Sir Harrison Birtwistle, he wrote the libretto for the composer's chamber opera The Io Passion and the text for his oratorio Angel Fighter, premiered at the Bach Festival in Leipzig in 2010. In 2009, BBC Radio 4 broadcast his radio series The Romantic Road. He has also worked extensively in opera education, both in Britain and Germany, for over twenty years. In 2013 his opera Imago, composed by Orlando Gough, was staged by Glyndebourne. It won the RPS Award for Learning and Participation. He is currently commissioned by Swedish Royal Opera to write an adaptation of Joseph Conrad's Amy Foster.
Plaice said “I am delighted to be a part of this pioneering initiative. I hope it will not only foster the coming generations of opera-writers and composers, but also bring real dramatic muscle to the operatic works of the future.”
In addition to the new MA, the School’s Doctoral Composer-in-Residence studentship, in collaboration with the Royal Opera House, is now open to applicants for its second appointment. The Composer-in-Residence studentship began in September 2013 with Philip Venables as the first composer. Jointly funded by the Guildhall School and the Royal Opera House, the studentship offers one composer every two years the opportunity to be Doctoral Composer-in-Residence at The Royal Opera over a three year period. During this time the composer will research and write a major work for the Linbury Studio Theatre which will be staged in the final term of Year 3. Venables is currently in his second year.
The studentship is targeted at composers who have some experience in composing for opera. The principal supervisor is the Guildhall School’s Head of Composition, Dr Julian Philips, who was the first ever Composer-in-Residence at Glyndebourne. Philips is partnered by Director of Opera for The Royal Opera, John Fulljames, as well as a second supervisor from the Guildhall School’s distinguished composition department.
For further information please visit the Composer in Residence webpage.