NEW YORK, NY – Peabody Chamber Opera announces the US premiere of ANON (2013) the twelfth opera by the British Belize-born composer Errollyn Wallen. Presented as part of Women in the Dark, an evening featuring three chamber operas, ANON will have four performances: February 16, 17, and 18, 2017, 7:30 pm; and February 19, 3 pm. All performances will be at Theater Project Mount Vernon (45 West Preston Street, Baltimore, MD). Tickets are $25 (adults); $15 (seniors), and $10 (students). For tickets and more information, call the Peabody Box Office at (667) 208-6620 or email at Peabody Box Office.
Cited for her “vital rhythms and inventive melodies” by Allan Kozinn in The New York Times, the multi-faceted composer and singer-songwriter was the winner of a BBC Radio 3 Listeners/British Composer Award and the FIPA d’Or. She was awarded an MBE in 2007 in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for her services to music. Wallen was also the first black woman to have her work performed at the BBC Proms and first woman recipient of the Ivor Novello Award for Classical Music in 2013. Her 2016 album on the NMC label, PHOTOGRAPHY, went straight to the top 20 of the UK Classical Charts and was included among the 10 Classical Albums That Saved 2016 by National Public Radio. PHOTOGRAPHY, a compilation of Wallen’s orchestral works spanning nearly 20 years, received rave reviews with Christian Carey in Sequenza21 writing, “Photography often deals with music of the past, but Wallen brings it vividly into communication with music of the present… The title work… beams with vivacity.” The album features her Cello Concerto (Matt Sharp, cello, Nicholas Kok, conductor, Orchestra X), HUNGER, Photography and In Earth.
ANON was commissioned by Welsh National Opera for the 2013-14 season as part of their series entitled “Fallen Women.” Wallen’s second commission for WNO—her first, Carbon 12, was in 2008— is composed for three sopranos and two female actors. ANON received its world premiere in March of 2014, and ran nine performances in four cities: Cardiff, Wolverhampton, Birmingham and London. Wallen writes, “I am committed to telling the stories of our time. ANON, my twelfth opera (the fourth to my own libretto), is no exception to that mission. Many of the stories I have set have been in order to give voice to those people whose stories have previously gone untold. I was asked by Welsh National Opera to compose an opera for young people on the theme of the exploitation of young women across the world, based on the Abbé Prévost novel, Manon Lescaut. After completing the first draft of the libretto, I also interviewed sex workers, who were able to elucidate and enlighten me as to aspects of the story. ANON is made up of several short scenes where the audience is encouraged to consider the situation rather than the precise identity of the protagonists (who are simply called Girl 1, 2 and 3 and Actor 1 and 2) – hence the title of the opera.” ANON is dedicated to Barbara Koz Paley.
Prior to the opening night of ANON, on February 14, 7:30 pm, at Baltimore’s intimate An Die Musik LIVE! (409 North Charles Street, 2nd Floor), Errollyn Wallen will give her Baltimore performance debut in a special program of her own selected solo and chamber works. The program will include Wallen singing original songs from The Errollyn Wallen Songbook and solo piano works. Wallen will be joined by the renowned Miller-Porfiris Duo (Rita Porfiris, viola and Anton Miller, violin) for Five Postcards (2010) which the composer wrote for them. Baltimore based violinist Airi Yoshioka will perform For Airi (2009), also specially commissioned from the composer. Advance tickets are $20 general admission, $10 for students with valid ID, and are available online, at the An Die Musik store. Tickets can also be purchased for $23 at the door.
ABOUT ERROLLYN WALLEN
“Renaissance woman of contemporary British music” (The Observer) Errollyn Wallen is lauded for her genuine, free-spirited approach to contemporary composition and wide-ranging musicianship. Born in Belize, she read music at Goldsmith’s, King’s College, London, and King’s College, Cambridge. On becoming a full-time composer, she formed her own group, Ensemble X, with the motto “we don’t break down barriers in music… we don’t see any.” Wallen’s award-winning music includes many works for orchestra, ballet, opera, theatre, chamber music and film. Her music has been performed throughout the world, in outer space and recorded on many compilations.
Two specially commissioned works for the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, PRINCIPIA and Spirit in Motion, were broadcast to a billion people around the world. Previous albums dedicated solely to her works are Meet Me at Harold Moores (Wallen Music and Production), The Girl in My Alphabet and ERROLLYN (both on Avie Records). PHOTOGRAPHY (NMC) is the first album dedicated to her orchestral works, of which she has composed fourteen to date. Errollyn’s orchestral work MIGHTY RIVER has been selected for PRSF’s New Music Biennial 2017.
In 2015, Wallen was elected Honorary Fellow of Mansfield College, Oxford, in recognition of her distinguished contribution to scholarship in the field of British contemporary music and her exceptional achievements as a composer.