Where Anna Nicole drew on 21st century celebrity culture and OperaShots turned to dark fables, new commission Clemency looks to the Old Testament story of Sarah and Abraham, who in old age are visited by three angels and told that they are to have a child.
The work promises a contemporary twist to the tale to create 'the spiritual intensity and reflection' that Scottish composer and former Composer/Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic, James MacMillan, is renowned for. Like, no maternity service at the local NHS hospital? Fears about in-breeding, given Sarah is Abraham's half sister? Perhaps lamentations on the psychological and physical damage done by deity dictated nonagenarian circumcision or the trauma of giving birth in such late life?
You'll have to wait and see but the dark intimacy of the Linbury will certainly suggest womb and dramatically birth this compact, one-act chamber orchestra into the world.
There are 6 performances of Clemency between 6-14 May, starting at 7.45pm in the Linbury Studio Theatre. Tickets £10.20 (standing) to £24.50.
Clemency is an ROH2 co-production with Scottish Opera and co-commissioned by the Royal Opera House, Scottish Opera, Britten Sinfonia and Boston Lyric Opera, it follows the success of MacMillan’s opera Parthenogenesis which was staged by ROH2 in June 2009.