“Safe, they told us: to keep us safe.
Protected, like children. Like children.
I brought my child into this city
and I thought my child was safe.”
– from Now
An Opera in One Act, 13 minutes
Two sopranos, mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone; chamber ensemble
Commissioned by the Royal College of Music and Tete-a-Tete Opera Festival
First performance: 16th May, 2014, Britten Theatre
Five characters in a not-so-distant dystopian future find themselves trapped in their office building after the government puts the city on lockdown, fearing revolution. From the intern to the boss, each of the characters must find one another and work out together what to do next, wondering what the state of the world is outside…
Watch the film of the piece in full below:
“Lewis Murphy’s music seemed well-developed and articulate; beautiful swelling sounds from piano and strings, shot through with sparkling bells.”
– Charlotte Valori, Bachtrack
“Lewis Murphy’s Now, with a libretto by Laura Attridge, was the most musically distinctive opera. It was also the piece that drifted furthest from the eighteenth-century world of Hogarth, and was more akin to H. G. Wells or George Orwell. The piece takes place in a dystopian city in which characters in stark black-and-electric-blue costumes hid in corners, whispering about revolution. In the use of bells and the eeriness of the score, the opera recalls James MacMillan and the Royal College of Music’s most lauded student, Benjamin Britten. This was a still, slow work. The direction was strong, in particular an effective use of silhouettes to depict the faceless, nameless crowd milling in the shadows of this taut world.”
– Hannah Sander, Classical Source
Cover photo: Fiona Clarke