Project

heartofdarkness

HEART OF DARKNESS

Music by Tarik O'Regan
Libretto by Tom Phillips
Based on the novella by Joseph Conrad

About the Work Creators Video/Audio Gallery Press Performances

ABOUT THE WORK

Voted one of the 100 best novels of the 20th Century by The Modern Library, Joseph Conrad's masterpiece Heart of Darkness follows Marlow, a riverboat captain, on a voyage into the African Congo at the height of European colonialism. Astounded by the brutal depravity he witnesses, Marlow becomes obsessed with finding Kurtz, a notorious ivory trader stationed farther along the river.

Heart of Darkness is a 75 minute chamber opera by Grammy-nominated composer Tarik O'Regan with a libretto by the premier British artist Tom Phillips. It is for 8-12 singers and 14 instruments. It had its world premiere in November 2011 at London's Royal Opera House in a sold-out run. Detailed synopsis and production information can be found at www.heartofdarknessopera.com

From the Composer and Librettist Note:

Heart of Darkness is experience ... pushed a little (and only very little) beyond the actual facts of the case. (Joseph Conrad, 1917)

"The contemporary relevance of Conrad's timeless tale needs no underlining. Many writers and thinkers have interpreted Conrad's masterpiece with diverging, or even contradictory, results: from Chinua Achebe's charge of outright racism, to Adam Hochschild's belief that the work is a form of anti-imperial non-fiction. Our goal in making an opera has been to distil Conrad's dense narrative, in which navigation is both a practical part of the tale - a journey by boat on a river in an unnamed country in Central Africa - and a metaphor for telling, or indeed not telling, the truth of his experiences on this voyage. This double 'navigation' is central to the opera's drama....

As in the case of the brilliantly stripped down radio version of Heart of Darkness that Orson Welles made in 1938 for the Mercury Theatre of the Air, necessary economy has provoked changes of structure. The requirements of operatic form have led to an even greater conflation of dramatic roles to match the telescoping of the narrative.The greatest encouragement (and challenge) has been from Conrad himself who, in a preface to the work written in 1917, described it in directly musical terms: "...like another art altogether. That sombre theme had to be given a sinister resonance, a tonality of its own, a continued vibration that, I hoped, would hang in the air and dwell on the ear after the last note had been struck."

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ABOUT THE CREATORS

oreganTARIK O'REGAN
(composer)
Recent recognition: two GRAMMY® nominations (including Best Classical Album) for Threshold of Night, two British Composer Awards, Gramophone Award nomination for Scattered Rhymes, NEA Artistic Excellence Award and South Bank Sky Arts Award nomination for the AOP-developed Heart of Darkness. Current and future commissions: Suite from Heart of Darkness for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; a full-length ballet for the Dutch National Ballet; large scale new works for the Hallé Orchestra, American Opera Projects and the University of Michigan. Recent projects: two North African-influenced compositions (Raï, for the Dutch National Ballet, and Chaâbi, commissioned by the Australian Chamber Orchestra) in 2012; a third solo album on the Harmonia Mundi label, Acallam na Senórach, and the premiere of Heart of Darkness at the Royal Opera House, London in 2011. Life and work: O’Regan grew up in London, where he was born in 1978, spending some of his childhood in Morocco and Algeria. Since 2007, he has divided his time between New York City and Cambridge, England. His music, recorded on over 25 albums, is published exclusively by Novello & Co./Music Sales Classical.
tarikoregan.com | @tarikoregan | fb.com/tarikoreganpublic

rabinowitzTOM PHILLIPS
(librettist)
Tom Phillips, born 1937, is one of Britain's premier artists with an international following. He is a Royal Academician and best known for his use of text within artworks, as in his treated novel A Humument (Thames & Hudson 1980, revised 2005). He is a visitor at the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton on a regular basis and is also well known as a writer and composer in his own right. His own opera, Irma, has been frequently performed and twice recorded; he has also acted as set designer for English National Opera. www.tomphillips.co.uk

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VIDEO/AUDIO

COMING SOON

 
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PHOTO GALLERY

COMING SOON
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PRESS

PRESS QUOTES FOR HEART OF DARKNESS
Quote sheet for HEART OF DARKNESS Premiere production at Royal Opera House (London) 2011

December 10, 2012 - WALL STREET JOURNAL
Industry profile: "Developmental Stages"

December 2011 - THE CONRADIAN
Opera review : HEART OF DARKNESS World Premiere, London ROH2

Nov 8, 2011 - TIME OUT LONDON
Opera review : HEART OF DARKNESS World Premiere, London ROH2

Nov 8, 2011 - BACHTRACK
Opera review : HEART OF DARKNESS World Premiere, London ROH2

Nov 8, 2011 - OPERA CREEP/GEORGE'S MUSINGS
Opera review : HEART OF DARKNESS World Premiere, London ROH2

Nov 6, 2011 - OBSERVER (UK)
Opera review : HEART OF DARKNESS World Premiere, London ROH2

Nov 6, 2011 - INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY (UK)
Opera review : HEART OF DARKNESS World Premiere, London ROH2

Nov 5, 2011 - CLASSICALSOURCE
Opera review : HEART OF DARKNESS World Premiere, London ROH2

Nov 4, 2011 - City A.M./Daily Mail
Opera Critics Pick

Nov 4, 2011 - EVENING STANDARD
Opera review : HEART OF DARKNESS World Premiere, London ROH2

Nov 4, 2011 - OPERA TODAY
Opera review : HEART OF DARKNESS World Premiere, London ROH2

Nov 3, 2011 - WALL STREET JOURNAL
Opera review : HEART OF DARKNESS World Premiere, London ROH2

Nov 3, 2011 - INDEPENDENT (UK)
Opera review : HEART OF DARKNESS World Premiere, London ROH2

Nov 3, 2011 - THE TELEGRAPH (UK)
Opera review : HEART OF DARKNESS World Premiere, London ROH2

Nov 3, 2011 - SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL
Opera review : HEART OF DARKNESS World Premiere, London ROH2

Nov 2, 2011 - GUARDIAN (UK)
Opera review : HEART OF DARKNESS World Premiere, London ROH2

Nov 2, 2011 - THE TELEGRAPH (UK)
Opera review : HEART OF DARKNESS World Premiere, London ROH2

Nov 3, 2011 - Time Out London
Opera Critics Pick: "Number 1 Critics' Choice, Five Best Concerts This Week"

Nov 2, 2011 - INTERMEZZO
Opera review : HEART OF DARKNESS World Premiere, London ROH2

Nov 2, 2011 - THE STAGE (UK)
Opera review : HEART OF DARKNESS World Premiere, London ROH2

Nov 2, 2011 - SHOW ME SOMETHING INTERESTING/JAMES EDWARD HUGHES
Opera review : HEART OF DARKNESS World Premiere, London ROH2

Nov 2, 2011 - MARK RONAN'S THEATRE REVIEWS
Opera review : HEART OF DARKNESS World Premiere, London ROH2

Nov 1, 2011 - Independent and "I"
Opera Critics Pick

Oct 31, 2011 - GUARDIAN (UK)
Opera profile : HEART OF DARKNESS, "Off the map: Heart of Darkness gets the opera treatment"

Oct 31, 2011 -Sunday Times (UK)
Opera Critics Pick

Oct 30, 2011 - Independent (UK) Information
Opera Critics Pick: "Ten Best Performances"

Oct 29, 2011 - Saturday Telegraph (UK)
Opera Critics Pick

May 21, 2007 - THE NEW YORK TIMES
Opera review (AOP workshop): HEART OF DARKNESS at WALL-TO-WALL 2007

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AOP PERFORMANCES

November 1-5, 2011 - WORLD PREMIERE
in association with Opera East, OperaGenesis and the Royal Opera House
Linbury Studio Theater - Royal Opera House
Covent Garden, London, UK
Directed by Edward Dick
Britten Sinfonia, conducted by Oliver Gooch
Developed by American Opera Projects & Opera East Productions
Workshop development in OperaGenesis, an ROH2 initiative, in association with the Genesis Foundation
MORE INFO...

May 27, 2010
Concert scenes from opera

21c Arias presented by Beth Morrison Productions
Galapagos Art Space, Brooklyn, NY
Conducted by J. David Jackson
Performers: Hai-Ting Chinn

April 22, 2010 - 7pm
Piano-vocal reading of opera

in association with Opera East
Boas Charitable Trust concert series
22 Mansfield Street, London W1G 9NR
Conductor: Oliver Gooch
Repetiteur: Robert Bottriel
Performers: Jeanine De Bique, Miranda Westcott, Philip Sheffield, Darren Abrahams, Steven Ebel, Alex Ashworth, Ronan Collett, James Gower

This piano/vocal reading was made possible in part with funds from the
National Endowment for the Arts and the hospitality of Bob and Elisabeth Boas


April 15 & 17, 2010
Semi-staged excerpts of opera

ROH2 EXPOSURE series
Linbury Studio Theater - Royal Opera House
Covent Garden, London, UK
Music Direction: Oliver Gooch; Directed by Edward Dick.
Performances by Miranda Westcott, Darren Abrahams, Steven Ebel

Aug 3 - 8, 2008
Staged concert workshop of opera

in association with OperaGenesis and the Royal Opera House
Linbury Studio Theater - Royal Opera House
Covent Garden, London, UK
Music Direction: Oliver Gooch; Directed by Edward Dick.
Performances by Robert Hoyt, Kevin Burdette, Angela Caesar, Liora Grodnikaite, Peter Van Hulle, Darren Abrahams, Paul Carey-Jones, Roderick-Earle

Nov. 9 & 11, 2007
Concert reading of scenes
in association with the Institute for Advanced Study
Nov. 9 - Institute for Advanced Study - Wolfensohn Hall Princeton, NJ
Nov. 11 - South Oxford Space, 138 S. Oxford St., Brooklyn, NY
Music Direction: Steven Osgood and Oliver Gooch
Tarik O’Regan and Tom Phillips will speak in a panel discussion about the piece.

May 19, 2007
Orchestral reading of scenes

in association with Wall to Wall Opera
Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway - NYC

November 3-4, 2006
Concert reading and libretto reading of scenes w/ panel discussion

South Oxford Space Brooklyn, NY (11/3)
Institute for Advanced Study - Wolfensohn Hall Princeton, NJ (11/4)
Music Direction and piano accompaniment: Steven Osgood, Kelly Horsted
Performers: Jeanine DeBique, Jack Anderson White, Jessica Miller, Benjamin Sosland, Ross Benoliel, Robert Hoyt, and Michael Zegarski. Tarik O’Regan and Tom Phillips spoke in a panel discussion about the piece.

June 2-3, 2006
Concert reading of scenes w/ panel discussion

South Oxford Space Brooklyn, NY
Music Direction and piano accompaniment: Steven Osgood, Kelly Horsted
Performers: Kyle Pfortmiller, Kevin Burdette, Amy van Roekel, Anne Graczyk, Robert Hoyt, Chad Johnson, and Michael Zegarski.
Tarik O’Regan spoke in a panel discussion about the piece.

 

OTHER PERFORMANCES

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