Created with Shine Cancer Support UK, this compelling new opera includes an original libretto based on a collection of stories of people living with cancer, by Olivier Award nominee and Off West End Award winner Becca Marriott, set to the beautiful and haunting music of Claude Debussy. It features a delicate new musical arrangement by award-winning pianist and musical director, Panaretos Kyriatzidis.
This emotional and powerful production includes audio recordings of interviews with people living cancer as well as those who have supported them. Musically, the piece knits together two of Debussy’s most powerful operatic sketches L’enfant prodigue and La Damoiselle élue – the first time these two works have been integrated for the stage.
Hopes & Fears tells the story of a mother waiting for her son, fearing she may die before ever seeing him again; while in the same hospital, two young lovers struggle to find the words to say goodbye. It is an exploration of the strength of human spirit in the face of extreme adversity.
The cast for the production includes mezzo-soprano Caroline Carragher who trained at Wales International Academy of Voice and has sung for London’s premier opera festival, Opera Holland Park. Caroline, who has not only experienced living with cancer herself, but cared for her father when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer, has been integral in the creation of the production. She will play the role of the ‘Nurse’.
She will be joined by Nina Bennet who plays ‘Mother’. Nina has performed around the world with such renowned ensembles as The Academy of Ancient Music, Britten Sinfonia Voices, Sonoro and the BBC Singers.
The role of “Lover” will be sung by Lara Martins, the longest serving Carlotta Gudicelli in the history of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera in the West End at Her Majesty’s Theatre. Lara has won the Donizetti Prize of the Jaumme Aragall International Singing Competition, as well as the 1st Prize of the Estoril Music Performance Competition / El Corte Inglés Award and the Anne Wyburd Prize at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Pauls Putnins will play the ‘Father.’ He has starred in operas worldwide, particularly in his native Latvia. His opera appearances in the UK include main roles for English National Opera, and Glyndebourne Festival Opera, as well as for Garsington and Longborough Opera Festivals.
Tenor, Martins Smaukstelis will play ‘Adrian.’ Most recently, he performed the title role in Cavalli’s L’Egisto with Hampstead Garden Opera. Throughout his studies, Martins has been greatly supported by Josephine Baker Trust, Drake Calleja Trust and Countess of Munster Musical Trust.
Becca Marriott completes the cast singing the ‘Patient.’ She has performed numerous leading roles, both in the UK and abroad, including at Grange Park Opera, The Soho Theatre, and The Trafalgar Studios.
The full creative team includes: music by Claude Debussy, libretto by Becca Marriott, orchestration by Panaretos Kyriatzidis, stage direction by Jorge Balça and lighting design by Alexander Ridgers.
Hopes & Fears is produced by the Opera Makers, with Becca Marriott as Artistic Director, Dominic Mattos as creative producer and Imogen Burgess as stage producer.
Hopes & Fears will play at the Arcola Theatre in their new outside space, Arcola Outside, as part of the 2021 Grimeborn festival. The production will run from 1 – 4 September 2021, tickets can be purchased here