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  • Watch: Composer Mark Simpson on Pleasure – ‘As voyeuristic as it might be, we like to see human tragedy acted out on the stage’

Watch: Composer Mark Simpson on Pleasure – ‘As voyeuristic as it might be, we like to see human tragedy acted out on the stage’

From drag queens to intense drama, the composer on why his new piece will appeal to both newcomers and seasoned opera-goers alike.

By Rose Slavin (Former Assistant Content Producer)

11 May 2016 at 10.32am | Comment on this article

Mark Simpson’s Pleasure has its London premiere this week at the Lyric Hammersmith.

In this film, the rising composer discusses why his new work, set in a gay club and infused with elements of Greek tragedy, will appeal to everyone – including those who might not have seen an opera before.

‘People love to see great dramatic roles’, he says. ‘As voyeuristic as it might be, people like to see human tragedy acted out on the stage. This goes back to Ancient Greek times: we’re interested to see the human condition played out on stage – we want to have that at its root.’

Read more: Opera Essentials: Mark Simpson's Pleasure

Pleasure was inspired by a night out Simpson had in his hometown of Liverpool, where he found himself pouring his heart out to a toilet attendant – but, he says, the characters and the message are universal:

‘It just so happens that this story has a broader appeal and it’s made the music that I write more accessible because of that.’

The libretto was written by award-winning writer Melanie Challenger and includes a mix of acting and singing.

‘I do think there is something for everyone in this opera’, Simpson explains.

‘There is no substitute for being sat in an audience at a live performance’, he says. ‘That’s why I’d say if you have the opportunity then get to a live performance if you can and you will be very surprised at how much you enjoy it.’

Pleasure runs 12–14 May 2016. Tickets are still available through the Lyric Hammersmith website.

The production is a co-commission and co-production with Aldeburgh Music and Opera North, supported by a legacy from Ms D. Kurzman via Arts Council England.

By Rose Slavin (Former Assistant Content Producer)

11 May 2016 at 10.32am

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged by Mark Simpson, Film, Leslie Travers, Mark Simpson, Melanie Challenger, Pleasure, Production, YouTube

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