Posts Tagged ‘Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Ensemble’

Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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May 21st 2015
“Riveting Art”

ANYA17 makes the “Best” List of the Bay Area’s Classical Music Scene for 2014.


“Anya 17, a modern treatment of sexual slavery and trafficking, was premiered by Opera Parallele last June. This gifted opera company has moved from edgy productions of twentieth century to their second premiere, and it was a humdinger.


A multi-layered score by British composer Adam Gorb and a haunting libretto by Ben Kaye took this most uncomfortable subject and turned it into riveting art. Go to anything this company does. Anything!”



Repeat Performances

Online reviews of events in the San Francisco Bay area and beyond…

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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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November 4th 2011
Anya17 Auditions: It’s tough being an X Factor judge

Hopeful auditionee for the role of Natalia

Being an X Factor judge isn’t as easy as it seems! The harsh reality of picking and choosing between talented performers became all too clear as I sat, somewhat the judging novice, on the panel at Monday night’s Anya17 auditions at the RNCM in Manchester. Whilst neither spray tans nor capped teeth were in evidence amongst the august panel, the many talented performers gave it their all for nearly four hours under the unforgiving gaze of the camera and the expert judges.

Completing the panel and amply compensating for my complete lack of judging experience were Anya17’s Composer Adam Gorb, Clark Rundell and Stephan Janski.

Stephan’s friendly and encouraging style belied his extensive experience and much-praised work with Glyndebourne Festival and Touring Opera, ENO, Scottish Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Ryedale Festival and many others. Now Head of RNCM Opera (and a fantastic Librettist to boot), Stephan inspired some wonderful performances on the night.

Surely winning the prize for the longest title however, Clark Rundell, (Director of Contemporary Music and Head of Conducting at the RNCM, and Artistic Director of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic’s new music group, Ensemble 10/10), was as knowledgeable as he was incisive. A good thing too, as attempting to choose between the many extraordinary and well-prepared performances would have left me at a complete loss!

It's tough being a X Factor judge - Ben Kaye - Stephan Janski - Adam Gorb - Clark Rundell

Decisions had to be made however, and we will announce the cast line-up very shortly! (So make sure you’re checking back here and on our Facebook page and Twitter feed for all the latest developments.)

Monday also marked the start of filming for the Anya17 Documentary. James from Shilton Photo Film was kept busy for most of the day nimbly chasing light, angles and a variety of interviewees across the vast, labyrinthine landscape of the RNCM whilst burdened with a mountain of gear that would have soon had me screaming for the nearest Sherpa! Thank you also to Tina and Lara from City Hearts for taking part and also to Hope for Justice for finding the time to be with us.

That’s about all for now. In my next blog I will be introducing the talented singers who will become the cast of Anya17, and, if there’s space, I also hope to share my experiences at Unchosen’s latest screening at the LSE in London…

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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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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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September 11th 2011
Anya17 Documentary Gets Go-Ahead

Following a very successful meeting in Liverpool on Friday, I can finally reveal that the Documentary on ‘the making of’ the Opera Anya17 is all set to go.

For new visitors to this blog, ‘Anya17’ is the first Opera to dramatically explore the issue of Sex Trafficking in the UK and will premiere with The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Ensemble 10/10 and the RNCM (Royal Northern College of Music) on March 7th 2012. Anya 17 is backed by eight UK / international Charities and The United Nations (UN.GIFT).

The Documentary’s Producer is to be the multi-award-winning Francis Vose, who with three BAFTAs to his name and a strong ethical approach is sure to guide this exciting project to a triumphant conclusion. The film’s Director will be selected shortly from the best of final year Film students from Liverpool Hope University.

Already on board to distribute the Documentary is ‘Unchosen’, a Charity which organises Film Festivals around the UK to raise awareness of Trafficking issues.

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the RNCM have been most generous in providing filming permissions, offering unrivalled ‘behind-the-scenes’ access for the Documentary which will blend the Opera making process with the issues which inspired it.

Whilst somewhat exhausted from the 560 mile round trip to Liverpool, I am delighted with this result which heralds wonderful opportunities to spread the message to a wider audience.

Over the coming weeks and months I will explain ‘what it takes’ to write an Opera, as well as keeping you up to date with the auditions, rehearsals and other behind-the-scenes information including interviews with the Documentary Producer and Director, the Composer, Opera soloists and musicians.

Until next time…

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