Friday 17 – Tuesday 21 July 2020 | Linbury Theatre
The Royal Opera presents the world premiere of Doctoral Composer-in-Residence Matt Rogers’ new opera She Described it to Death, a co-commission with Guildhall School of Music & Drama and featuring a libretto by Sally O’Reilly. It takes its inspiration from a future hindered by over-population, to which a sci-fi angle brings an intriguing solution, and new problems of its own.
Matt Rogers is the third Doctoral Composer-in-Residence to be appointed as part of this joint initiative between The Royal Opera and Guildhall School. He joined the programme in September 2017 and has written for and with a host of leading instrumentalists, ensembles and technologists, creating music and installations for concert halls, theatres, galleries and public spaces. He studied with Gordon McPherson at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and is an alumnus of the Britten-Pears School where he studied with Oliver Knussen, Julian Anderson and Magnus Lindberg.
Recent works include the opera The Virtues of Things (The Royal Opera, Opera North, Snape Maltings), concert music for American chamber orchestra Alarm Will Sound and Danish ensemble Scenatet. Rogers has received the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Composers and has been Artist-in-Residence at the Southbank Centre and Tokyo Wonder Site. He was also the first composer to be commissioned by London’s Art on the Underground, in conjunction with London Sinfonietta.
Launched in 2013, the collaboration between Guildhall School of Music & Drama and The Royal Opera is one of the first examples of an opera company and conservatoire joining forces to offer a Composer-in-Residence studentship which leads to a doctoral degree. Fully funded by Guildhall School and supported by The Royal Opera, the studentship offers one composer every two years the opportunity to be Doctoral Composer-in-Residence over a three-year period. During this time, the composer researches and writes a major work, which is staged by The Royal Opera at the end of the residency and is supervised by Head of Composition at Guildhall School Julian Philips and Sarah Crabtree, Creative Producer for The Royal Opera.
Philip Venables was the inaugural Doctoral Composer-in-Residence and his opera 4.48 Psychosis which premiered in May 2016 has won numerous awards including the 2016 UK Theatre Award for Achievement in Opera, the 2017 Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Large-Scale Composition and the 2017 British Composer Award for Stage Work. It was also nominated for the 2017 Olivier Award for Best New Opera Production and the South Bank Sky Arts Award for Best Opera 2017. The second recipient, Na’ama Zisser, premiered her first opera Mamzer Bastard in June 2018 at Hackney Empire.
In addition to the Doctoral Composer-in-Residence, Guildhall School offers a Masters in Opera Making and Writing (www.gsmd.ac.uk/operamaking) in association with the Royal Opera House. Launched in 2014, this full-time, one-year Masters programme allows composers and writers to focus on how new opera is created, developed and performed.