The New Librettist: The role of the writer in opera
The relationship between writer and composer is key to an opera's success. The most incredible music and the most innovative staging must all start with an idea, a story, a framework which will ignite the composer's imagination. As opera moves into new territory, writers are becoming even more important, telling new stories and reaching different audiences.
Presented by the Guildhall School in partnership with the Royal Opera, this conference considers the craft of the librettist. Welcoming creative writers curious about opera, as well as writers and composers already working in the art-form, it brings together colleagues from our celebrated MA in Opera Making & Writing programme come with creative writers from around the literary scene to discuss what it means to write the words of an opera in the 21st century.
For both opera enthusiasts and those just curious about the medium, the conference is a way to find out more about the role of the librettist within opera creation. Writers including Martin Crimp, Richard Thomas, and Amanda Holden will unpack their toolkits and discuss how opera benefits from librettists who have different backgrounds including playwriting, directing and facilitating.
For composers and directors, the conference is a chance to find out more about working dramatically. Julian Philips and the first Guildhall School and Royal Opera House Composer in Residence Philip Venables discuss the relationship between librettist, composer and director and how to create a dynamic, deeply explorative collaboration.
The conference also sees the birth of The Librettist Network, a new initiative helping writers to meet collaborators and develop their craft.
Putting the audience's voice at the centre, the conference seeks to put forward strategies to remove potential barriers to working as a librettist. What could we do to improve opportunities for writers and help create the opera of the future?
Dr Cormac Newark Head of Research, Guildhall School
Julian Philips Head of Composition, Guildhall School
John Fulljames Associate Director of Opera, Royal Opera House
Provocation: The craft of the libretto writing in the 21st century
Martin Crimp award-winning playwright and librettist for Written on Skin composed by George Benjamin
Chaired Discussion: The Librettist's Process
Ruth Mariner (chair) Director librettist
Martin Crimp Playwright and librettist
Richard Thomas Writer and composer
Laura Bowler Composer and mezzo-soprano
Amanda Holden Musician, lyricist and translator
Hazel Gould Writer and director
Break out session
Led by creative writing fellows Lila Palmer and Zoe Palmer.
Chaired Discussion: The Librettist, Composer and Director
Dr Richard Baker (chair) Professor in Department of Composition and Artist in Residence (Research), Guildhall School
Philip Venables Doctoral Composer in Residence, Royal Opera House and Guildhall School
Bijan Shebani Director
Zoe Palmer Creative Writing Fellow
Stephen Plaice Writer in Residence, Guildhall School
Break out session
The Librettist Network
Ruth Mariner and Stephen Plaice on developing a network for opera writers.
Milton Court Rehearsal Room 2