Mahogany Opera Group's annual showcase of new work-in-progress is expanding for 2017
Various Stages is a research and development programme through which the company tests ideas, creating new work that challenges and provokes and enhances the company’s mission to stretch what opera can be and who it is for. Presentations, talks, critical discussion and feedback sessions all go towards creating new work from a range of artists and companies who are diverse in style.
This year the Various Stages Festival process included an open call which has resulted in four projects: The Finding, an exploration of suffering, loss and vulnerability through female voices across generations, drawing on magical realism and incorporating a choir of mothers and babies by Lucy Bradley, Richard Melkonian and Zoë Palmer; In a Grove an immersive opera inspired by a short story by Japanese author Ryūnosuke Akutagawa examining an incident of love torn by violence from multiple perspectives by Christopher Cerrone, Stephanie Fleischmann and Brian Mertes; Mua (Rain a movement opera using the ancient art of Vietnamese water puppetry to explore life experience by Dai Fujikura and Dam Van Huynh; and Palace of Junk, a multimedia retelling of the tragic tale of the Collyer brothers, an infamous pair of hoarders, and an exploration into hoarding disorder by Metta Theatre (Oliver Brignall and Poppy Burton-Morgan).
A further two projects have been developed in conjunction with other companies. Traffick by Nic Chalmers and Emma-Ruth Richards (developed with the Royal Opera House) is a chamber opera that unravels the experience of young men and women who have been trapped by the terrifying underground world of human trafficking. Calamity/Billy (Théâtre de la Croix-Rousse) by Gavin Bryars and Michael Ondaatje is a double portrait of the two iconic wild west heroes Billy the Kid and Calamity Jane which shows a different and more intimate side to the characters.
The Mahogany Opera Group’s Various Stages Festival 2017 takes place on 24 February at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London.