Fenella Humphreys violin
Deborah Calland trumpet
Kyle Horch saxophone
Counterpoise. An ensemble of some of the most sought-after instrumentalists in the UK, founded with the aim of crossing genres, exploring the relationship between music, text and visuals, and seeking to develop aspects of narrative and other extra-musical influences.
We are delighted to be working with three outstanding pianists in various projects over the coming year: Sebastian Wybrew, Yshani Perinpanayagam and Russell Hepplewhite.
Our current and forthcoming projects include the following:
Kokoschka's Doll/The Art of Love: Alma Mahler's Life and Music
Kokoschka's Doll, featuring Sir John Tomlinson, Rozanna Madylus and Counterpoise, has been acclaimed at venues up and down the country. Telling the story of the tempestuous affair of Oskar Kokoschka and Alma Mahler, the score weaves poetic and epistolary texts by Kokoschka into a musical fabric that references fin-de-siècle Vienna (including the music of Wagner and Alma Mahler) while being of our own time. Kokoschka's Doll is complemented by a sequence of music and text, featuring the work of Gustav and Alma Mahler, Wagner and Zemlinsky, under the title The Art of Love: Alma Mahler's Life and Music.
The Shackled King/Brünnhilde's Dream
This new work by John Casken, based on Shakespeare's King Lear, once again features the legendary Sir John Tomlinson, affording him the opportunity to incarnate the aging, delusional king in a musical setting that incorporates Shakespeare's text in the form of speech, Sprechstimme and singing. Rozanna Madylus plays the roles of Cordelia and the Fool.
The other half of the programme is a sequence of words and music entitled Brünnhilde's Dream, imagining the state of mind of Wotan's favourite Valkyrie daughter as she lies on the rock, surrounded by fire, after the end of Die Walküre. Music by Wagner, Fanny Mendelssohn, Schubert, Schumann, Zemlinsky, Berg, Szymanowski, Henze and Johanna Müller-Hermann.
Medea's Cell/The Story of Jenny
The internationally acclaimed soprano Susan Bullock takes centre stage in an enthralling double-bill. Medea's Cell (text by Keith Warner, music by David Blake) is a reworking of the classical myth in a contemporary setting. In a condemned cell on the eve of her execution, this modern Medea is accused of a murder of which she's innocent. Her own children die without her lifting a finger. Is she guilty? Or is she also a victim? A noir murder mystery.
Keith Warner, one of the leading opera directors of the day, joins forces with David Blake, composer of Toussaint (ENO, 1977) and other well-received works of music theatre.
Medea's Cell is complemented by a monodrama telling the story of Jenny, the protagonist of several Brecht/Weill songs. The sequence includes Alabama Song, Speak Low, My Ship and Surabaya Johnny, with linking text by Barry Millington.
Rags to Riches
For over four decades Willard White has been in demand on the world's stages as an operatic bass-baritone of exceptional quality and charisma. With the all-star ensemble Counterpoise he presents an evocative programme of music and poetry tracing the progress of rag, blues and other jazz forms from the Deep South and Harlem to the legendary cabarets of Paris and Berlin. Music by some of the greats of the era, including Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Kurt Weill, George Gershwin ('A Foggy Day', 'Love Walked In') and Frederick Hollander (of 'Falling in Love Again' fame) as well as the spirituals that Sir Willard delivers with incomparable poignancy.