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The London Sinfonietta, in association with The Royal Opera, presented a landmark new commission in June 2018 by one of the UK’s most exciting composers Tansy Davies and leading librettist Nick Drake. A bold site-specific opera, Cave accounts one man’s quest for survival in a desolate future caused by climate change. London's cavernous Printworks provided the perfect space for this world premiere production.

Drawing on elements of rock and funk alongside contemporary classical music, the score was performed by the London Sinfonietta, together with tenor Mark Padmore and mezzo-soprano Elaine Mitchener, directed by Lucy Bailey and conducted by Geoffrey Paterson. London Sinfonietta co-commissioned Tansy Davies in a production that created the finale to its 50th Anniversary Season.

Cave tackles environmental issues head on, and develops the successful collaboration between Davies and Drake following their opera Between Worlds (2015) which won Davies a British Composers Award. Like their debut opera, Cave tells a story of human suffering balanced by the healing force of the natural world. The central character is a man fleeing from the devastating effects of climate change, on a quest for his lost child. Desperate to connect one last time with his daughter, he enters a dark cave, triggering a journey into an underworld of spirits.

The music is immaculately played by a chamber ensemble of the London Sinfonietta enhanced with electronics and conducted by Geoffrey Paterson, while that remarkable vocalist Elaine Mitchener embodies the daughter’s spirit with mercurial subtlety. For Mark Padmore ... no praise can be too high " The Telegraph

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Production breakdown

Description: Chamber opera in eight scenes for mezzo-soprano, tenor & ensemble with electronics       
Duration: 60'                    
Genres: Opera             
Music: Tansy Davies       
Text: Nick Drake
Instrumentation: Clarinet (Bass Clarinet), Bassoon (Contrabassoon), Horn, Harp, Violin, Double Bass, Live electronics = 6 players + 2 singers + 1-2 sound operators + conductor. Sampler/effects applied to the vocal performers
Singers: Hannah (mezzo soprano), Man (tenor)
Language: English                
Commission: Commissioned by the London Sinfonietta and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden Foundation, with support from the Britten-Pears Foundation
First Performed: 20 June 2018 at Printworks, London, with Mark Padmore, Elaine Mitchener, London Sinfonietta, conductor Geoffrey Paterson and director Lucy Bailey
Publisher: Faber Music 

Find out more

Please contact London Sinfonietta CEO & Artistic Director Andrew Burke for more information.

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London Sinfonietta would like to thank Mark & Grace Benson, Ariane Bankes, Susan Costello, Tony & Criona Mackintosh, Walter Marlowe, Robert McFarland, Allie & Patrick Morrison, Ruth Rattenbury, Tessa Solomon, Fay Sweet, Mark Thomas and Estela Welldon and the following organisations for their generous support of this production.