The Belfast Opera

How do you write an opera?

Posted on: 10th February 2016

“How would you even start to compose an opera?” I asked myself several times last year. After a goodly dollop of initial panic and wondering, at one level, the answer became straightforward enough – “with the words”; (at another level, much less straightforward, of course). But once the brief was set and the librettist Glenn Patterson, the production team and I began talking, a shape began to emerge: a story of here, of Belfast, of her citizens. For me as a composer, once you begin to recognise the human elements of any story, things begin to find you…..chords, bits of melody, strains, fragments. Over the months from September onwards, Glenn would feed me sections of the text, and I would go about setting them to music. The sections for the chorus were some of the earliest written – the chorus that will be drawn from the community. And that very thing informs how you write, and what you write – not in a restrictive way, but rather it becomes a positive challenge of another sort.Neil Martin

As the choral writing progressed, I began to think of the orchestral forces that I would like to use. In doing this, I was mindful of the venue, Carlisle Memorial Methodist Church, and how certain instruments (and their balance with others) would sound. A further key element was when we were able to secure the conductor David Brophy. Himself and myself have collaborated often for more than a decade, and once David was at the helm, I knew that there was no safer pair of hands to steer the ship.

And we have just auditioned for the four professional soloists, another milestone on the fascinating journey of having the huge privilege to write an opera about Belfast. Some journey. And much more writing over the months ahead.

Neil Martin

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What's Happening

Preview Performance for Prince of Wales

Posted on: 24th May 2016

We are thrilled to announce that “Long Story Short: The Belfast Opera” will feature in a musical reception hosted by TRH The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall at Hillsborough Castle this evening. Bruno Caproni, who plays ‘Joel’, and David Brophy, who will conduct the orchestra on June 18th and 19th, will perform an […]

Q&A Questions: Margaret Thompson, member of The Belfast Opera Chorus

Posted on: 21st May 2016

Margaret Thompson is a member of The Belfast Opera Chorus who are currently rehearsing for three performances in Carlisle Memorial Church on June 18th and 19th that will introduce this exciting new work to the world! Let’s find out a little more about Margaret: How did you find out about The Belfast Opera, and what […]

Meet The Chorus – #3

Posted on: 14th May 2016

Our third episode in our series of videos and stories where we discover who the people are that make up The Belfast Opera.

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