“Still think opera’s a world away? Think again.”
– Eleanor Knight, ‘The Argus’ (review for Belongings)
Since meeting at the Royal College of Music in 2013, composer Lewis Murphy and writer Laura Attridge have quickly established themselves as one of the most exciting young creative partnerships on the opera scene today. Successful artists in their own right, they share an approach to making work that combines a deep appreciation for the operatic tradition with a love of innovative forms of music theatre in its broadest sense. Together, they aim to bring to the stage stories which respond directly to the modern world and are accessible to a diverse audience. They are particularly interested in making socially conscious work that seeks to ask questions of its viewers.
Their portfolio together already includes numerous pieces: Now, commissioned by Tête-à-Tête Festival and the Royal College of Music as part of new opera project Hogarth’s Stages in 2014; Damsel/Wife/Witch, an interdisciplinary piece exploring gender norms through fairytale for two actors and mezzo-soprano, premiered by And So Forth in 2015; First Date, a 5-minute pop-up opera commissioned and premiered by Sound Festival in Aberdeen (2017); Belongings (2017), commissioned during Lewis’ time as Young Composer-in-Residence at Glyndebourne, which juxtaposes the stories of a group of present-day young refugees and a group of WWII evacuees; and Then to the Elements, premiered by Scottish Opera (2018) as part of their Opera Sparks showcase. In 2018 Laura and Lewis led A Manchester Songbook, pairing composers from The Royal Northern College of Music with writers from The Writing Squad and mentoring each partnership through the collaborative process towards writing new art songs; additionally, a bespoke aria by the duo, written for one of the exceptional young artists at the National Opera Studio, premiered as part of project 12:40.
Most recently, Laura and Lewis were commissioned by the Royal Opera House to write a new youth opera celebrating the 10th anniversary of the ROH Youth Opera Company – entitled A Different Story – which premiered in the Linbury Theatre in August 2019.
Visit their website to find out more.
Header photo credit: Steve Dearden