World Premiere of Matthew Herbert’s ‘The Crackle’ opens in the Linbury Studio, ROH, on Saturday 5 April



Matthew Herbert’s opera tells the story of a music teacher frustratingly unchallenged by the demands of conventional music. When a stranger offers him a computer programme that will transmit not just emotion and texture but hard data, the musician accepts. Soon he is using his music to manipulate and physically control the world around him with thrilling but deadly consequences.

Matthew Herbert’s production integrates technology into the fabric of the musical score, blending instrumentalists and electronics in a live mix which will involve real-time integration of a smartphone application Chirp, which allows people to share sounds and online content as one phone ‘sings’ to another.

As well as composing the music and writing the libretto for The Crackle Matthew will also be directing the opera. British conductor Tim Murray will conduct all performances, having recently conducted The Importance of Being Earnest for The Royal Opera in the Linbury Studio Theatre in the 2012/13 Season and Tetractys – The Art of Fuge for The Royal Ballet on the main stage this Season.

British tenor Andrew Dickinson will sing the role of George, the disillusioned music teacher. Andrew made his debut with The Royal Opera as Boy in How the Whale Became earlier this Season, and will return in July in Mahogany Opera Group’s Gloria – A Pigtale.

Canadian mezzo-soprano Stephanie Marshall returns to The Royal Opera to sing the role of Susannah, a fellow teacher at the school. Stephanie made her debut with The Royal Opera as Gwendolen in The Importance of Being Earnest last season.

The role of Mephistopheles will not be seen on stage but will appear in the opera as a pre-recorded voice. Welsh bass baritone Bryn Terfel, who is singing the same role in the main stage production, will be recording this role for The Crackle.

The opera will also feature nearly 50 children from the Youth Opera Company who will play the roles of the school children.

The Crackle will be performed on 5, 8, 10 April at 7.45pm, 12 April at 2.30pm in the Linbury Studio Theatre

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