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Author: Adam Gorb - Composer, Co-founder
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September 28th 2011
Anya17 – A Composer’s Perspective

Ben Kaye and I had worked on two previous projects, both related to present day world issues: ‘Thoughts Scribbled on A Blank Wall’ (2007), a cantata based on the incarceration of the political prisoner John McCarthy, and ‘Eternal Voices’ (2010), an oratorio on the subject of war in the 21st century with particular reference to the conflict in Afghanistan! I had wanted to write an opera for years, so when (at last) I had found a librettist in Ben Kaye who I could really work with, we spent many hours, telephone calls, meetings and emails mulling over subject matter.  Having thought very hard on whether to find a story from ancient or tried and tested sources, we eventually concluded that we would follow what had worked for us before: to take an important issue from today’s news and bring it to people’s attention through words and music. The dark and distressing area of human trafficking seemed a worthy challenge.

The genesis of this project literally took years. I have a full time job at a music college, and previously I had always composed mainly at weekends and in the holidays. But to create a one hour-long opera, this would need more time than I have ever taken previously on a work. After several failed applications for time off from work to research organisations, I was eventually granted a term where I could farm out my teaching and examining, thus leaving several hours a day for composing. I had already written a short ensemble piece ‘Dancing in the Ghetto’, which had had a couple of performances. This work has an Eastern European flavour which seemed to include a flavour of the highly charged atmosphere in which the story of the opera was to take place: in short, it was comforting to have a score with useful source material from where to start, rather than an intimidating blank page!

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