Now in its fourth season, the Corinthia Artists in Residence programme today selected its 2015 winner, Emily Hall.
This year focusing on “Opera,” the Artist in Residence programme had 11 innovative submissions to choose from. Artists were Claudia Molitor, Opera Erratica, Samuel Bordoli/Live Music Sculpture, Scanner, Shadwell Opera, Silent Opera, Size Zero Opera, Sergio Lopez Figueroa, Grainne Gills and Susan Cullen, Marc Callahan and Emily Hall herself.
Official Theatre was invited to the champagne fuelled awards ceremony held at the luxury Corinthia Hotel, during which time we were able to speak to a number of the artists involved, including the judges, the winner and the runners up.
The distinguished Corinthia Hotel invited contemporary opera companies and composers to pitch ideas that responded to the brief for a site specific opera piece that takes place in the hotel – with no area off limits! The winner not only receives the space and funding for their piece, which will run in September, they also get to physically be in residency at the hotel whilst they create their piece! How cool!
The Runners Up
We were able to chat to a few of the artists vying for the position and hear their ideas for transforming the space.
Samuel Bordoli – Live Music Sculpture.
Samuel held the Mendelssohn Scholarship and the Manson Fellowship at the Royal Academy of Music. His submission was a new opera, Midnight Follies, that would fuse different aspects, moments and characters from the hotel’s history in a time travelling mystery staged in various locations in the hotel.
“My idea is based on the history of the hotel; including its relationship with Winston Churchill. It would be a murder mystery set across time and the audience would be invited to solve the mystery around the hotel. They would get to travel through time and witness various scenes. I would be hoping it would be quite phonic…it would be quite light hearted!”
Laura Bowler – Size Zero Opera
Founded by Laura, Size Zero Opera is a company that specialises in the creation and performance of contemporary and innovative chamber opera with emerging individuals in exciting and challenging ways.
“There are two reasons why we are called Size Zero Opera; the company produces pocket size chamber opera. Yes there are a lot of sets, but it is not grand opera. We also support the eating disorder charity and sometimes our ticket sales go towards the charity.
We love the history of the Corinthia, such as the links with Oscar Wilde! We love the completely different environments and spaces and the different atmospheres and feels that are created by the décor.
We would work the hotel into an adaptation of Salome, the story is extremely vital, abrasive immersive and intense! That’s the kind of work we like.”
Jack Furness – Shadwell Opera
Shadwell Opera is one of the UK’s leading young opera companies and has previously won a Hereld Angel Award for its work at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
“We started doing cut back classics at uni [Jack attended Cambridge University] and it became a real thing when we took A Magic Flute to the Edinburgh Fringe in the Rosalind Chapel, of Da Vinci Code fame… Since then we have been doing things properly, we have done a few shows, we did some short opera “Random Acts” for Channel 4. We are now doing contemporary and chamber opera.
What we love about the Corinthia is the exquisite sense of routine. Look around this bar, the waiters are ready with the drinks. You can ring room services at 4am and ask for Steak and chips. I want to hack that routine and de-familiarise people with that. I would love to play with the idea of operatic room service.”
The winning submission was judged by an esteemed panel who eventually reached a decision on who should be given the residency. Judges were Alex Beard, Joseph Calleja, James Conway, Susanna Eastburn, Imogen Tilden, Jenny Waldman, Timothy Walker and Fiona Harris.
We caught up with three of the judges to hear what they had to say on selecting the winner.
Timothy is the Chief Executive and Artistic Director if the London Philharmonic Orchestra and former founder and Chief Executive of World Orchestra.
“From my point of view I was interested in the idea that someone in residence would create the work whilst physically in residence. I was excited by proposals that weren’t fully formed but would be formed whilst in the building. I was interested in quirkiness, forward thinking and something that would be exciting.
I wanted something live…that truly reflected the environment, the day to day routines, the ambiance, the values of the company and the attitudes of the staff. All of those things will influence the piece.”
Imogen is commissioning editor for classical music, jazz, folk and world music for the Guardian, where she has worked for 17 years.
“I think this is a really great project. It is about investing in artistic talent and I love the fact that they have chosen opera. I think Opera and classical music is so overlooked when you are looking at art genres. It really seems like an exciting idea.
I think that by the use of the space and the idea of the residency, this project is very unique.”
We chatted to the lady of the hour, Emily Hall, who told us all about her winning submission. Emily is a award winning musician and her work is formed from close creative relationships with singers and writers and is inspired by both folk and classical styles.
“Our piece is called Seek and Hide, we are going to discover a lot when we spend time here. A member of our team called Matthew Walton is also going to spend time here and he is going to create lyrics out of found texts that he discovers around the building. I will also spend time here and I will write a collection of songs and instrumentals which will be based on a narrative thread, which is all to be discovered. We are also going to record some of our performers in a few of the unique spaces such as underwater in the swimming pool, up in the penthouse and playing with the various acoustics. There will be a process of then hiding these “sonic creations” around the hotel creating a trail. The audience will be free to move independently, there might be some kind of map they can follow…we are quite keen on using the intercom system.
The best part [of the residency] is that I get to write songs, which I love to do, I get to work with technology plus people I like working with and all in a really exciting space.”
All in all we are very excited about the residency and look forward to seeing Emily’s work. To find out more about the project, visit corinthia-air.com