Events – Opera

Opera – “Morrow’s Isle”

On Thursday evening, we will host the world premiere of a new science fiction opera, Morrow’s Isle. The libretto has been written by Guest of Honour Ken MacLeod, inspired by The Island of Dr Moreau as imagined by The Men Who Stare at Goats (book and film). The music is composed by Gary Lloyd and will be accompanied by Company Carpi’s dancing.

Gary Lloyd and Bettina Carpi told us: “We make hybrid dance theatre, and opera, always featuring strong societal topics, and with texts based on the work of, or written originally by, outstanding writers, poets, and novelists. We always perform with live music, we always work with emerging young artists and involve community groups, and we’re always trying to reach audiences that may not be familiar with the kinds of work we make and the work of the many artists with whom we collaborate.”

A taste of past operatic works by Gary Lloyd at Loncon 3 and Dublin 2019, An Irish Worldcon.

About the Opera

The original H.G. Wells Moreau sees a rogue scientist create human-animal hybrids on a remote island in the Pacific Ocean. The new production shifts the setting to Scotland, combining elements of Scottish history and folklore with present-day concerns about humanity’s impact on the environment.

According to Ken MacLeod, “The story is set on a little isle in the Firth of Clyde, with references to some of the stranger and darker episodes of Scottish history,” he said. “There’s a strong fantasy tradition in Scotland, a history of interest in witchcraft and the supernatural. But we also look forward into the future, looking at the effects of things like social media, climate change and the treatment of the biosphere and the animal world.” Ken found inspiration for the story in his own exploration of Scotland’s Clyde Coast. “My wife and I had been on a tour of some of the lesser-visited islands of the west coast, including Little Cumbrae. It’s a fascinating place, and right next to it is another even smaller island with its own castle. You can walk across to it at low tide. It has a real haunted appearance and has such a strange little history of its own.”

Interview with Ken MacLeod introducing the Opera

Collaborating with MacLeod is the Canadian-born British composer and producer Gary Lloyd, whose work includes a project with the late Scottish novelist Iain Banks to produce a musical-narrative work based on his 1986 novel The Bridge. Lloyd is excited to be bringing his latest production to Glasgow 2024. “Science fiction fans are a very open-minded audience,” he said, “and opera can be a really mind-expanding experience, a really emotional experience and something transformative.

“It’s certainly my ambition to put brand new work in front of people who maybe haven’t experienced opera. Just being in the presence of opera singers can shatter your expectations of what it’s going to be. “It’s exciting, and I’m going to pour everything I can into this. And it’s a Scottish opera, with a Scottish theme, so of course there will be a piper.” The production will also incorporate elements of dance, with choreography by Lloyd’s wife, the multiple-award-winning Bettina Carpi.

Introduction to the Glasgow 2024 Opera by Gary Lloyd

About Gary Lloyd

Gary Lloyd has composed music for productions in theatre, contemporary dance, television drama and documentary, film, art installation, son et lumière, narrative/music works, and orchestral concert performances. He also works as a record producer, and lectures on aspects of music. He is a graduate of the University of Chester where he studied mathematics, fine art and history of art, and psychology. He lives in Chester with his wife, the dancer and choreographer Bettina Carpi.

About Bettina Carpi

Bettina Carpi is an independent dance maker, performer and teacher with over 20 years’ experience. Her career highlights include co-creating and performing the award-winning dance theatre pieces Metamorphosis and The World’s Greatest Show by choreographer Arthur Pita, which were performed at the Royal Opera House in London and the Joyce Theatre in New York. In 2017 Bettina and her husband, composer Gary Lloyd founded Company Carpi to give expression to their collaborative projects.