The Fire Of Olympus
or, On Sticking It To The Man
- Anthony Peter
- Composer / Director
- Tim Benjamin
- Music Director
- Ellie Slorach
- Simon Ekrelius & Lara Booth
The Fire of Olympus; or, On Sticking It To The Man tells the story of Prometheus and Pandora in a brand-new opera touring the North of England in 2019.
A spectacular show features brilliant virtuoso singers and the digitally combined voices of over 1000 volunteers. Zeus, the powerful President of Olympus, faces revolution and anarchy: Greek myth resonates with our modern world in an exciting, radical, and accessible English opera filled with drama, passion, politics, tragedy, and comedy. Unmissable.
“The music is memorable - so are the strikingly costumed characters, their voices superb. Recognisably Handelian but with some most touching and inventive refinements ... telling and moving. A work I would like to hear again.”
Seen & Heard International
Zeus is the all-powerful President of Olympus, undermined by activists led by the prankster Prometheus. An accidental theft leads to love, hate, revolution, prison, and anarchy. But a world in ruins demands in Zeus a strong leader – was this his plan all along, or has he finally met his nemesis?
In The Fire of Olympus, incredible virtuoso singers re-imagine the popular 18th century operas of Handel: tuneful, direct, and sung in English. The brilliant cast and orchestra are joined by the digitally combined voices of over 1000 volunteers from across the North, in a spectacular and exciting theatrical event.
This radical, accessible opera uses the power of Greek myth to resonate with the modern world, and is filled with drama, passion, politics, tragedy, and comedy.
“Saw the opera last night. Something totally new and highly entertaining. The singing was just wonderful and the '1000 voices' spine-tinglingly effective. You all deserve huge success.”
Brian & Jill Hunt, Square Street Singers (workshop participants)
Over several months in 2019, Radius Opera visited numerous choirs and choral societies across the North and Midlands of England. Over 1,000 participants took part in these workshops, in which they sang and improvised the role of the "Chorus" in The Fire Of Olympus. The workshops recorded, and the results assembled into a vast, spectacular "digital chorus" which appears, in surround sound, in the live opera.
In the opera, the Chorus represents "The People" (or the Vox Populi), which at different both praises and protests against Zeus and Olympus, announces and comments on the key character of Prometheus, and even represents the release of countless evils upon the world as Pandora opens her famous bottle or jar (not, as often thought thanks to a mistranslation, a box!)
This chorus, which numbers over a thousand voices on the complete recording, included people from all walks of life - men, women, and children - the youngest participant just 10 years old, and the oldest an amazing 95 years old.
“Just to say how much I, along with 3 colleagues, enjoyed the première of The Fire of Olympus at Burnley Mechanics last night. It was a seamless mix of ancient and modern, musically and politically relevant to today and very well done. Congratulations on producing such a superb opera, with a talented team of impressive soloists and musicians.”
Joy Fielding, Blackburn Music Society (Chair)
Zeus: the President of Olympus (baritone)
Baritone Robert Garland studied at the Royal Academy of Music Opera School under the tutelage of Mark Wildman and Jonathan Papp. Pervious studies include a Masters of Performance with Distinction from the Royal Academy and a Bachelors of Music from the Royal Welsh College of Music.
During his time at the Academy Robert has performed John Styx (Offenbach’s Orphée aux enfers), Herr Peachum (Weill’s Die Dreigroschenoper), Masetto (Mozart’s Don Giovanni) and Steward (Dove’s Flight). In addition to his roles with the Royal Academy, Robert has also performed Figaro (Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia), Guglielmo (Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte), Belcore (Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore).
Robert has worked with numerous opera companies in the chorus, in various small sung roles and major covers. Recent companies include The Grange Festival, Opera Holland Park, Grange Park Opera, Northern Ireland Opera and Nevill Holt Opera. In 2019 Robert will be joining Garsington Festival Opera’s Alvarez Young Artist Programme covering the role of Krusina in Smetana’s The Bartered Bride.
Hephaestus: his Special Adviser (tenor)
Manchester born tenor Michael Vincent Jones recently completed his MMus at the Royal Northern College of Music under the tutelage of Mary Plazas, which was kindly supported by the Richard Newitt Fund. In 2018 Michael premiered the role of Dieter in Adam Gorb’s The Path to Heaven and performed the role of Lurcher in Cellier’s Dorothy on a recording with Victorian Opera under the baton of Richard Bonynge. He has performed with the National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company for three seasons; appearing as Ralph Rackstraw in HMS Pinafore, and covering the roles of Frederic in Pirates of Penzance, Nanki-poo in The Mikado, and Lord Tolloller in Iolanthe, as well as performing as part of the chorus. He is a 2016 Iford Arts New Generation Artist and is also a member of the Opera North Shadowing scheme, which saw him shadow the role of Don Ottavio for their 2018 production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni.
Pandora: his Assistant (soprano)
Charlotte Hoather is a London based light lyric coloratura Soprano. Following five-star reviews in 2017 for her ‘Uccelina’ in Scottish Opera’s BambinO in Manchester, Edinburgh, and Glasgow, she toured the role to Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, and subsequently the Metropolitan Opera in New York for a series of sold-out shows in 2018. Charlotte won first prize in the Pendine International Voice of the Future at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod in July 2018.
Professional performances include ‘Zerlina’ in Don Giovanni with Opera Britain, ‘Maria Bertram’ in Waterperry Opera Festival’s production of Mansfield Park, and ‘Cunegonde’ in Surrey Opera’s production of Candide. In 2019 Charlotte will perform the role of ‘Pandora’ in Radius Opera’s production of Tim Benjamin’s new opera The Fire of Olympus, touring the North of England in Autumn 2019.
Charlotte holds a Master’s in Performance (Voice) from the Royal College of Music, where she studied with Rosa Mannion, Andrew Robinson, and Simon Lepper, and a First-Class Honours Degree in Music from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland studying under Judith Howarth.
Charlotte is an advanced level dancer and a 2nd Dan black belt in Karate.
Prometheus: an Activist (mezzo soprano)
British mezzo soprano Sophie Dicks is an alumni of the RNCM and the RCM. She now studies on the Opera Course at the RWCMD with Anne Mason. Sophie’s studies are supported by a Leverhulme scholarship, the Shirley Bassey Scholarship, a Sybil Tutton Award from Help Musicians, the Mario Lanza Educational Foundation, The Aspinwall Educational Trust and a private sponsor in Manchester.
Roles include Varochka Moscow (Cheryomushki, RNCM) Orfeo, (Orfeo ed Euridice, RNCM), Mallika (Lakmé), Prince Orlofsky (cover, Die Fledermaus), Suzy (La Rondine, OHP), Dorabella (Cosi fan Tutte), Romeo (I Capuleti e I Montecchi, Opera Holloway), Angelina (La Cenerentola) and Third Lady (The Magic Flute, RWCMD).
On the concert platform works include, Beethoven’s Mass in C, Haydn Theresienmessen, Handel’s Messiah, Duruflé Requiem and Rutter’s Feel the Spirit. Awards include the Freckleton and Doherty Cup for Singing, the Annie Ridyard Scholarship, the Dorothy Davies Ingram Award, and the Valetta Iacopi Memorial Award, and she was a finalist in the 2018 Dunraven Welsh Young Singer of the Year. Sophie was also a recipient of an International Opera Awards Bursary in 2013.
Recent engagements include Mrs Herring (Albert Herring) for RWCMD Opera and her Welsh National Opera debut singing Vera Boronel in Menotti’s ‘The Consul’ in June 2019.
Epimetheus: his brother, also an Activist (mezzo soprano)
Elspeth Marrow is a mezzo soprano from London who graduated with distinction from the Royal College of Music in 2017. Since completely her masters degree she has performed as Orfeo (Orfeo ed Euridice, New Generation Festival, Italy), Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia, Opera Brava), Sycorax (The Enchanted Island, British Youth Opera), Astrologer (Aurora, Bury Court Opera), Cherubino (Le Nozze di Figaro, Opera Brava) and Flora (La Traviata, Opera Brava). Elspeth is delighted to be performing as Epimetheus in Tim Benjamin’s new opera, after singing the solo role of Lady Tyranny in the world premiere of his oratorio Herakles in 2017. Concert performances include alto soloist at Cadogan Hall in Haydn’s Applausus with Classical Opera, St Matthew Passion with the English Chamber Singers as part of the Barnes Music Festival and singing in a performance of Serenade to Music at Buckingham Palace. Elspeth will be studying at the Royal Academy of Music on the Royal Academy Opera course from September 2019-2021.
Prometheus (28th September performance) (mezzo soprano)
Mezzo-soprano Joanna Harries grew up in South Wales and studied at the University of Cambridge and the Royal Northern College of Music, before taking up a scholarship to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s opera school.
Her operatic roles include Nun/The Fiery Angel (Scottish Opera/RCS); Awen (cover)/Gair ar Gnawd (Welsh National Opera); Varvara/Kat’a Kabanova (Fulham Opera); Dido/Dido and Aeneas (Dartington Arts Festival); Ottone/Agrippina, Der Trommler/Der Kaiser von Atlantis and Jenny Hildebrand/Street Scene (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland). Upcoming roles include Countess Ceprano/Rigoletto (Opera Holland Park) and Tartine/Scoring a Century (British Youth Opera).
As a concert soloist, performances include Bach’s Easter Oratorio at the Bach Festival Świdnica in Poland; Macmillan’s Seven Last Words From The Cross with the BBC Philharmonic at Harrogate Royal Hall; Bach’s St Matthew Passion with Skipton Camerata and Handel’s Messiah at Lincoln Cathedral. Upcoming concerts include Duruflé Requiem at Temple Church in London and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio at Snape Maltings Concert Hall.
Joanna is a Britten-Pears Young Artist, a Handel House Talent young artist and winner of the first Edith Brass Prize for Lieder at the RCS. A keen recitalist, she has performed song and Lieder at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, the National Portrait Gallery in London, as part of the “Introducing” series at Bridgewater Hall in Manchester and the Oxford Lieder Festival Mastercourse.
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