I had the chance to visit with a few extraordinary people the other day from English National Opera. Quite admirably, they are beginning a project where they open channels of communication with writers they might not have come across before, just exploratory, just beginning conversations and this was the first in a series of salon events that they are planning as part of their Talent Development programme. It's an opportunity for intimate conversations to take place between some of the extraordinary individuals working on productions at the ENO and younger writers, to open up windows into the world of opera. Very pleased to be able to speak to them, knowing how much my stuff with the Guildhall and the Sinfonietta brought me joy and expanded my practise into new areas. Who knows what'll come of it, but a lovely beginning was had when I got sit in on an intimate discussion given by Frank McGuinness, the playwright and poet, and Julian Anderson, the composer, who have just collaborated to produce the Thebans, http://www.eno.org/thebans the latest production at the Coliseum for the ENO.
It was an intense, educational hour, one that seemed to bracket off the discussion, and the very specific creative world these two men had worked in, so that everyone in the room was fully entrenched in their pursuits and ideas, that of a librettist and a composer. Such was the intensity, the discussion was, by necessity perhaps, at times, somehow private, but not at all pretentious, perhaps a indulgence of necessary energy, of conviction and it was deferent, humourous and profound at the same time. It became very personal too, disarmingly so, and emotional. At times, being someone who always tries to interrogate the notion of the 'writer' as a figure, I was uncomfortable, just by the sheer intimacy of the exchange, but I was, afterward, deeply excited, realising the intensity of this kind of collaborative process, and the responsibility, so massive, that the writer faces in such a relationship. Clearly the trust, and the skill, required to produce an opera like this is so mountainous, that the challenge of it got under my skin. To have to write well and quickly, and incisively, and be ready to let all be broken apart, that is what I'm seeking to do now really, always, anyway, making it new in form and tone. Much to think over, hopefully more to come.