22 May 2012 at 5.13pm | Comment on this article
Choreographer-turned-director Wayne McGregor and composer Max Richter were recently the subjects of an ROH Insights session that focused on the pair’s latest collaboration – a chamber opera entitled Sum.
The piece, based on David Eagleman's book of short stories Sum: Forty tales from the afterlives, examines potentials as to what the afterlife could be like - from the dark to the comic to the surreal. Wayne and Max have opted to pare this down to sixteen tales, recently telling guest bloggers The Ballet Bag in an interview that they envisaged a stage adaptation as a collection of mini operas rather than one unified whole.
In order to create an immersive experience, all seats will be taken out of the Linbury and the orchestra pit will be in the centre, and images will be projected around the audience.
Of the piece, Max said: "It's a very inviting work because there are so many different ways into the material; it's like walking around a piece of sculpture. The sleight of hand of the book is that it's not about [death] at all, it's about life and the problem of being alive."
The piece is the second Royal Opera House work by the duo, following the acclaimed Infra, which premiered in 2008. It is generously supported by PRS for Music Foundation, a leading funder of new music.
Listen to a clip from the session to hear Max speaking about the piece and extracts of the work played by the composer: