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New Opera From Julian Philips

The Yellow Sofa at Glyndebourne
Peters Edition composer Julian Philips was appointed as Glyndebourne’s first ever Composer-in-Residence in 2006, and will be associated with the company until 2010. In partnership with the University of Sussex, he has
spent the last three years working closely with Glyndebourne’s pioneering education department for inspiration in a creative environment, providing musicians, singers and community groups with the opportunity to take part
in music-making. Glyndebourne’s Composer-in-Residence scheme has set a new precendent for how
composers can actively take part in the development of new repertoire and musical projects within operatic organisations.

The Yellow Sofa

August 2009 sees the premiere of a new chamber opera, The Yellow Sofa, written for the Jerwood Chorus Development Scheme. Philips has collaborated with librettist Edward Kemp to create an adaptation of a novella by one of Portugal’s best loved writers Eca de Quieros. The Yellow Sofa tells the story of Godofredo Alves, a small businessman who comes home from work one day to find his wife in the arms of his best friend and business partner. He determines at once to seek revenge. The Yellow Sofa is a tale of sex, a city and the seductive power of furniture...

Philips writes: “The past two years at Glyndebourne have been an extraordinary opportunity to engage with opera in theory and practice, and The Yellow Sofa marks the culmination of this. My residency has allowed me to absorb myself in this complex art-form, testing my own instincts through development time with company singers, sitting in on music and production rehearsals and formulating my own creative response with Followers and The Yellow Sofa. This final project pulls this experience together - very much an ensemble opera for ten singers and thirteen players that enjoys the fluidity of
Glyndebourne’s Jerwood Space.”

David Pickard, General Director of Glyndebourne writes: “Julian’s tenure as Composer-in-Residence has proved a significant step for the organisation and has contributed much to Glyndebourne’s artistic development. He has worked across the organisation over three years investigating different approaches to the creation of new operatic forms from songs for youth opera and the Chorus, a site-specific piece that roamed around Glyndebourne (away from the stage), and now a new work for the Festival in our 75th year for the Jerwood Chorus Development Scheme. He has also engaged with our audience development activities giving insights to works both old and new through study events and talks, including a whole series of pre performance events on our new opera Love and Other Demons in 2008. We are thrilled that he is writing our next major commission for 2010 – The Knight Crew a new work for young people to be premiered at Glyndebourne in March.”

The Knight Crew - Major commission for Glyndebourne 2010

The success of Philips’ three-year position has been such that Glyndebourne has commissioned a full length new opera with librettist Nicky Singer, which will be premiered in 2010. The Knight Crew is a re-creation of the Arthur legend in a contemporary gangland setting, which while give an unprecedented opportunity for young performers and community groups to take part in a Glyndebourne production. Previous projects during Philips’ time at Glyndebourne have included Of Water and Tears, and Followers, both completed during 2007. Of Water and Tears took place in The Jerwood Studio with soloists from the Glyndebourne Chorus as part of the Jerwood Chorus Development Scheme. Followers, written by librettist Simon Christmas, was a site specific promenade opera using three spaces at Glyndebourne: The Organ Room, The Old Green Room and the Ebert Room.

The Yellow Sofa
Glyndebourne - The Jerwood Studio, 20 August 4.30 pm.
Also on 23, 25, 28th Aug

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