Mark Simpson’s Opera premiered

Mark Simpson’s Opera premiered

Catz alumnus, virtuoso clarinettist, composer and former BBC Young Musician and BBC Proms/Guardian Young Composer of the Year, Mark Simpson (2008, Music), has written his first opera, Pleasure, which premiered in Leeds in April.

 

The idea for Pleasure originated from Marks’s experiences as an 18-year-old living in Berlin, where struggling with the limelight he had experienced as BBC Young Musician and Composer of the year, he reflected on the ways people use pleasure to escape their own lives. Played out against the backdrop of a gay nightclub, it tells the story of Val, who works as an attendant in the toilets in the club, presided over by the Bacchanalian drag queen Anna Fewmore. For years, Val has been both a shoulder to cry on and a confidante. She is much-loved, but viewed as an enigma. When Nathan, a beautiful and unpredictable young man, arrives in Pleasure and leaves a gift for Val, it marks the beginning of an emotional and violent night.

 

Mark has collaborating once again with librettist Melanie Challenger and the Jerwood Opera Writing Fellowship has enabled the pair to work on Pleasure. It includes a stunning selection of poetry and prose, including the award-winning non-fiction book On Extinction. The duo recently received critical praise for their contribution to the Manchester International Festival, The Immortal, which was performed by the BBC Philharmonic.