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503Studio: Cordelia Lynn

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503Studio Masterclass: Writing For Opera

The aim of this masterclass is to offer an introduction to opera and writing libretti (words for opera). Some of our most significant contemporary playwrights (Martin Crimp, Caryl Churchill, Rory Mullarkey, Alice Birch etc.) have all written for opera, yet it remains a sadly exclusive form in many writers’ imaginations. This masterclass will use broad and open discussion and some practical work to demystify some of the elements surrounding the creation of new opera. It is open to everyone and you do not need experience of opera to join, nor do you need an understanding or even appreciation of classical music.

Some questions we may cover: What is opera and how is it different to musical theatre? What is a libretto? What is the relationship between the music and the theatre of opera? What is the rehearsal room like? Is it still a relevant art form? What kind of stories can you tell? What is the writer’s role? How is writing a libretto different from writing a play? What is collaborating with a composer like? How can I access this industry both as an audience member and as a practitioner? Do you need a £1,000,000 budget, full orchestra and 3000 seat auditorium to produce an opera? (answer: absolutely not.)

Thanks to our Share The Drama scheme, we want to make sure those of you who are struggling in the current climate can still take part in our Writers Programme. While we prioritise anyone who is long term unemployed and/or claiming benefits, we’re also offering subsidies if you’re in financial difficulty as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.

To express interest in a bursary place through our Share The Drama scheme, please sign up here. If you would prefer to speak directly to a member of our team about your circumstance or to ask for more information about this scheme, please contact us.

If you have any access requirements, you can let us know here. If you would rather discuss any access requirements and how we can accommodate them prior to booking, please get in touch with us here.

Time: 7pm – 9.30pm

Running time of workshop: 2.5 hours – delivered online. Maximum class sizes are 14. A portion of spaces have been reserved for Share the Drama places.

To sign up for advanced booking for future iterations of the 503Studio: Writers Programme, please join the waiting list here.

Cordelia is a playwright and librettist. She received the Berwin Lee Award, 2020, the Harold Pinter Commission, 2017 and the Jerwood New Playwright, 2015. Her opera with composer Sivan Eldar, Like Flesh, won the Fedora Opera Prize, 2021. Cordelia is a MacDowell Fellow. Plays include Love and Other Acts of Violence (Donmar Warehouse), fragments (short, Young Vic); Hedda Tesman, adapt. Henrik Ibsen (Headlong Theatre/Chichester Festival Theatre/Lowry, Manchester); Three Sisters, adapt. Anton Chekhov (Almeida Theatre); One for Sorrow; Lela & Co. (Royal Court Theatre); Confessions (short, Theatre Uncut/Traverse, Edinburgh/Bristol Old Vic); Best Served Cold (Vault Festival) Opera includes Like Flesh (Operas Nationals de Lille/Montpellier/Lorraine); Miranda (Opera Comique & France tour) Vocal Work includes After Arethusa (Venice Musica Biennale); Houses Slide (Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre); A Photograph (Oxford Lieder Festival); Heave (Festival Royaumont), you’ll drown, dear (Festival ManiFeste) Dramaturgy includes Lucia di Lammermoor (Royal Opera House).

Photo credit: Helen Murray


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