Posted by: thelionsface | September 8, 2010

Evaluation of the Project

Premiering at the Brighton Festival in May, our world premiere production of The Lion’s Face toured the UK throughout the summer. As the project engaged with difficult and often personal issues related to the physical and emotional impacts of Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia, TOG organised a wide ranging set of associated activities to support the opera in conjunction with our venues, service providers, the Alzheimer’s Society and our partners at King’s College London. Alongside and throughout the process, we also engaged the services of the Centre for Medical Humanities at Durham University to provide a thorough evaluation of our work and its impacts on our audiences. Karen Scott was the lead researcher and over the opera’s run she spoke to many members of our audiences and participants in our seminars and talks to understand their experience of the work.

Here are some of her initial thoughts:

“I elicited views from 65 audience members at eight performances (including previews) across five venues. Responses came from a variety of people including professionals, patients, carers and people with no personal connection to the issue of dementia but who were interested in new opera. There were also several people who had never seen an opera before… Read More…

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Posted by: thelionsface | July 22, 2010

The Lion’s Face Reviewed on Bachtrack

The Lion’s Face: The name comes from the clinicial description of the Alzheimer face with features settling into “leonine impassivity.” Librettist Glyn Maxwell spent five years researching this opera about dementia and this shines through in his portrayal of the life of an Alzheimer’s patient in a nursing home.

Read the whole review here

Posted by: thelionsface | July 21, 2010

Evening Standard interview with Elena Langer

Memories are made of this: How Alzheimer’s inspired an opera
by Jasmine Gardner
When composer Elena Langer first decided to write an opera about memory loss she had no interest in Alzheimer’s disease, other than that it might provide her with a useful artistic device.

You can read the whole article here.

Posted by: thelionsface | June 18, 2010

The Lion’s Face Review in The Northern Echo

Where does the Alzheimer victim really go? The Opera Company’s expose of this seemingly unanswerable question takes us on a long walk though the landscape of dementia in this highly-original, award-winning docu-opera, The Lion’s Face.

Read the entire review here

Posted by: thelionsface | June 18, 2010

The Lion’s Face Review on the Telegraph Blog

When Richard Wagner listed the ingredients – drama, singing, dance, design – for the gesamtkunstwerk that is an opera, I don’t think he threw in “issues”. But a century and a half later, issues are very much on the agenda. And last night the Brighton festival premiered a new opera, The Lion’s Face, based on the all too current issue of dementia.

Read the entire review here

Posted by: thelionsface | June 18, 2010

The Lion’s Face Review on Whatsonstage

Operatic characters frequently lose their reason, notably in the works of the bel canto era. It’s usually a tuneful matter with the audience afforded the further comfort of knowing either that it will all come right in the end or that the delusion acts as a cushion against fatal violence. Elena Langer and her librettist Glyn Maxwell put an altogether darker scenario before us in The Lion’s Face.

Read the entire review here

Posted by: thelionsface | June 2, 2010

Guardian Interview with Author Andrea Gillies

The raw horror of Alzheimer’s

Andrea Gillies thought she could care for her mother-in-law, who was gripped by dementia. It was a terrible mistake, says the Orwell prize winner.

Read the full article here

Posted by: thelionsface | June 1, 2010

The Lion’s Face Review in the Independent on Sunday

John Fulljames’s Opera Group production of The Lion’s Face is dominated by Dave Hill’s magnificent Mr D: adrift in dementia, and the only character who speaks, rather than sings, over Elena Langer’s cat’s-cradle of figures for solo strings. The cheerful care assistant (Rachel Hynes) and earnest doctor (Benedict Nelson) cannot alleviate Mr D’s confusion or the weariness of his wife (Elizabeth Sikora). With her school shut because of snow, the care assistant’s daughter (Fflur Wyn) begins a relationship with Mr D, bringing resolution to a half-remembered incident from his childhood. Dementia resists the imposition of a narrative, but this is an accurate and sympathetic exploration of the disease.

Anna Picard
Sunday 30 May

A fascinating afternoon session at the Linbury Studio, the Royal Opera House,  has been confirmed for the 21st July.

You can attend this and have time to go for dinner before catching the opera later at 7.45pm. Read more and book here.

Posted by: thelionsface | May 26, 2010

The Lion’s Face Review in the Daily Telegraph

An opera about Alzheimer’s was never going to be exhilarating, and one couldn’t recommend The Lion’s Face to anybody in search of a fun evening out. But there’s a fundamental honesty about the piece and an absence of sentimentality or melodrama which commands respect. Read More…

Posted by: thelionsface | May 26, 2010

The Lion’s Face Review in The Guardian

Dave Hill in The Lion's Face. Photo by Tristram Kenton for The Guardian.

With a programme packed with messages from Alzheimer’s charities and researchers, Elena Langer and Glyn Maxwell’s new collaboration could seem as much an exercise in increasing public awareness about dementia as an opera in its own right. But The Lion’s Face, being toured by the Opera Group in John Fulljames’s straightforward production, does have a dignified presence of its own, without resorting to sensationalism or preaching.

by Andrew Clements
published 25 May 2010

Read the whole review here.

Posted by: thelionsface | May 26, 2010

Glyn Maxwell Writes in The Guardian

Dave Hill & Benedict Nelson. Rehearsal photo by David Levene for The Guardian.

I’m sitting in a care home with a group of doctors, observing a circle of residents, nurses and musicians. For an hour or so they have been keeping a rhythm going – a simple beat on tambourines, cow bells, shakers and scrapers. Now the music softens to the merest pulse.

You can read the whole of Glyn’s  article  here.

Posted by: thelionsface | May 25, 2010

Rachel Hynes – Rehearsing the Role of the Caregiver

Rachel Hynes & Dave Hill. Photo by Alastair Muir

I am writing the second part of this blog somewhat late as the rehearsal period for The Lion’s Face has been very intense and exhausting, both physically and mentally. This was not helped in week two by me falling ill with the nasty throat virus that had been doing the rounds. I had to take to my bed for three days and still sounded like a bass-baritone almost a week later. It is always stressful for a singer when one becomes sick during a job, especially when it effects the voice in any way shape or form, but The Opera Group were very kind, supportive and patient with me as I took time to get back to work and then back to full vocal health, all of which was very much appreciated! Read More…

Posted by: thelionsface | May 24, 2010

The Lion’s Face review on The Arts Desk

What might have been a fairly morose Sunday evening in Oxford’s Playhouse Theatre (following Thursday’s premiere in Brighton) is rescued by the exquisite detailing of Langer’s score, by John Fulljames’s neat, well-observed production, and by a uniformly excellent cast of singers and players.

You can read the full review here.

Posted by: thelionsface | May 24, 2010

The Lion’s Face: Four Star Review in The Times

Elizabeth Sikora, Dave Hill & Rachel Hynes. Photo by Alastair Muir.

Clearly an opera about dementia isn’t going to be a romp. But I was far more charmed and entertained by The Opera Group’s latest premiere than I expected to be. And touched as well. In its gentler, understated and small-scale way The Lion’s Face finds a way of saying something profound and moving about the condition in which so many of us will spend our final years. Read More…

Posted by: thelionsface | May 21, 2010

The Lion’s Face wins an Argus Angel Award

The cast of The Lion's face receive the award in Brighton today

The Opera Group has been awarded an Argus Angel Award for its production of The Lion’s Face, which opened at the Brighton Festival yesterday.

The award, made by the critics of the Brighton Argus, is for ‘artistic excellence during the Brighton Festival and Fringe’. It was one of only seven awards made during the Brighton Festival and Fringe – chosen from over one hundred shows staged during the Festival.

Posted by: thelionsface | May 21, 2010

The World Premiere of The Lion’s Face in Brighton

The Lion’s Face received its premiere last night at the Brighton Festival.

Visit  the Media section to see a selection of production photos by Alastair Muir. We’ll post reveiws up from Monday.

Posted by: thelionsface | May 18, 2010

The Lion’s Face on Channel 4 News

The Lion’s Face was covered by the Channel 4 evening news last night (Monday). It’ll be available until Sunday:

You can watch it here.

Posted by: thelionsface | May 17, 2010

Glyn Maxwell on BBC Radio 3’s The Verb

Librettist Glyn Maxwell appeared on BBC Radio 3’s The Verb programme last Friday. You can listen to it on the BBC’s iPlayer here until Friday.

Posted by: thelionsface | May 13, 2010

The Lion’s Face Promo Video

Our new promotional video for The Lion’s Face is ready to view.

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