The Sloans Opera
Revealed in comic and moving scenes the characters include a recently engaged couple, a crooked landlady, a jukebox, a loyal wife and a hanged pianist. The accessible music beautifully expresses the vivid emotional life that continually flows through the pub. The opera offers a unique Glasgow experience that you will remember for a lifetime. Written and conducted by Gareth Williams with libretto by David Brock the performance will once again be directed by James Robert Carson.
“…the whole project is a well sung, well played pleasure that puts opera ‘in yer face’ with impressive flair and professionalism.”
Mary Brennan, Glasgow Herald
“In its original setting, the experience is electric.”
Kelvin Holdsworth, Opera Britannia
Marie Claire Breen
Gareth Williams conductor
James Robert Carson director
Catherine Deverell designer
About The Sloans Opera
Premiering as part of the Merchant City Festival 2011, “The Sloans Project” – an inspiring new opera by Gareth Williams – has won great acclaim from audiences, press and media. Since then, it has been revived by NOISE numerous times, in Canada, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh. It was selected by Creative Scotland to be part of it’s Made In Scotland Edinburgh Festival showcase during August 2013. BBC news, The Herald Scotland, The Times and The Scotsman have all reported on this groundbreaking piece of music theatre; an opera that fuses the line between audience as spectator and participant.
The opera’s home is the vibrant venue of Sloans Bar and Restaurant, Glasgow’s oldest pub, situated in the heart of the city centre and set over three sumptuous floors. Sloans is situated amidst winding lanes of jewellery shops and is often the place to which newly betrothed couples come to celebrate their pledge to spend their lives together. Sloans has played host to many weddings, birthdays, christenings, ceilidhs and wakes. Taking this rich history of life experience, Gareth Williams and librettist David Brock, decided to base an opera upon these stories.
This tale of life’s cycles of love, marriage, birth and death is based upon letters sent in by the public, for whom Sloans has played an important role at key moments in their lives. This opera belongs to the people of Glasgow as it is THEIR story. Members of the public, for whom Sloans is part of their personal history, have contributed their stories in interviews. These personal stories have become a part of the performance.
From the first sound of glasses ringing the opening chord of the opera to the last heart wrenching scene, the audience, transfixed, travel through each room of the pub as the stories unfold.
NOISE would like to thank the PRSF, DADA PR, Sloans Bar and Restaurant, Scottish Opera, Glasgow Life, Merchant City Festival and their wonderful cast and creative team for the success of “The Sloans Project”.
Originally from County Armagh, Gareth moved to Glasgow after studying music at Queen’s University, Belfast. He completed his Masters in Composition in 2000 at the RSAMD, and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education in 2002. In 2008 he completed his PhD in Composition at the Academy, studying with Gordon McPherson. Over the last few years Gareth has been active as a composer at the RSAMD, producing work for groups such as the Hebrides Ensemble, Scottish Opera, the Paragon Ensemble, Symposia, the Black hair Ensemble, and the London Sinfonietta. He was the winner of the British Conservatoire Composers Forum 2000, and in 2004 he won the Dinah Wolf prize for composition. His work has been featured in the Edinburgh Festival, the St Magnus Festival, Opera to Go,and the York late Music Festival.
In December 2004 Gareth was one of six composers who launched the Ken exhibition in Glasgow, organising a weekend festival of contemporary music and art, whilst composing, producing and performing an hour-long piece of music theatre. The piece, Dead Duck, was an exploration of nostalgia and contained images, objects and music that dated back to his childhood. The use of personal and popular material is a strong characteristic of his work and he performs regularly as a singer/songwriter and piano player. His first opera, Love in the Blue Corner, was premiered at the Plug Festival in May 2006 and received five stars in the Glasgow Herald. In 2008 Gareth worked with Irish writer Bernard MacLaverty to create The King’s Conjecture for Scottish Opera which led Scottish Opera to re-commission the composer for their 2009 season to create another work – White was premiered in February in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
New works in 2009 included Soft Rains, for solo soprano, six part choir, organ and taiko drums, commissioned to commemorate the building of the Clyde Tunnel in Glasgow, and three new opera scenes written and performed at the LibLab 2009 in Toronto, by Tapestry Opera. One of these scenes was another collaboration with Bernard MacLaverty, and all three scenes were performed again in Russia in March 2010. Gareth was composer in residence at Scottish Opera and is now a Chancellors Fellow at Edinburgh University.
David James Brock is a playwright, poet, and librettist whose plays and operas have been performed in cities across Canada and the UK. He is the winner of the 2011 Herman Voaden Canadian National Playwriting Award. Brock penned the libretto for The Sloans Project (Noise Opera, composer: Gareth Williams), which was most recently performed at the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe Festival (previous: Glasgow’s 2011 Merchant City Festival, Tapestry New Opera’s 2011/2012 season). Other highlights include libretto for Sewing the Earthworm for the Canadian Art Song Project (Toronto, 2011. Composer: Brian Harman) and Pretty Boy for the Paul Dresher Ensemble (San Francisco, 2012. Composer: Jack Perla). Brock’s debut poetry collection, Everyone is CO2, was released by Wolsak & Wynn in spring 2014. He is co-creator of Breath Cycle, a multimedia operatic song cycle developed with cystic fibrosis patients which was nominated for a 2014 Royal Philharmonic Society Award. He lives in Toronto. Website: www.davidjamesbrock.com Twitter: @davidjamesbrock.