New Dark Age

24 October 2020
The performance will last approxmately 1 hour 45 minutes.
Main Stage
Opera and music

Hannah Kendall’s one-act chamber opera The Knife of Dawn tells the gripping story of Guyanese political activist and poet Martin Carter as he reaches the 28th – and most critical – day of his hunger strike in protest at British rule. Will poetry or death be the most effective way to serve his country?

A one-man monologue performed by Peter Brathwaite, The Knife of Dawn swings from despair to hope and everything in between in an exhilaratingly intense depiction of the personal struggles and hallucinations of a politically-engaged artist.

Kendall and librettist Tessa McWatt, who share their Guyanese heritage with Carter, have created a chamber opera of great beauty and intricacy for small Orchestra – while break-through director Ola Ince creates a visionary, total theatre production for the Royal Opera House stage.

A New Dark Age, directed by Katie Mitchell, joins music by three of the most exciting contemporary composers in a breath-taking multi-media experience, as three outstanding soloists perform both onstage and on video in a specially created film by renowned movie-maker Grant Gee. Hypnotic vocal sounds, driving electronic music and mesmeric visuals demand our engagement in the big questions of the current moment – where are we at? And where might we go from here?

The three composers – Mercury Prize-nominated composer, producer and performer Anna Meredith, Grammy-nominated composer Missy Mazzoli and award-winning Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir – all write thrillingly at the intersection of contemporary classical and electronic music, and all three composers are being heard on our stage for the very first time.

Buying tickets

According to current government guidelines, you must only attend performances with individuals from your household or support bubble.

Seats are being allocated to ensure safe social distancing for all audience members. The maximum amount of seats that can be purchased is two. There are a limited amount of single seats available. Seats will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Although every effort has been made to ensure the best views, some seats may be subject to restricted viewing.

You can choose an area of the auditorium in which to sit and a pricing zone – we will then send you your seat number(s) with your confirmation email. No paper tickets will be issued for this event. After receiving your confirmation email you will receive an e-ticket with your seat number. You can also find your ticket within the My Account area.

Please note flashing lights and loud noises are used in this performance.

Safety information

We are working hard to keep our audiences and staff safe. We ask that you please:

Follow the one way system, and instructions from staff

Wear a mask at all times

Keep distance from those around you.

Find out more


The performance will also be broadcast online and available to watch from 7.30pm BST Saturday 24 October. Buy access to the stream now.

Cast sheet


Conductor (The Knife of Dawn)Jonathon Heyward

Conductor (A New Dark Age)Natalie Murray Beale

Soprano (A New Dark Age)Nadine Benjamin

Soprano (A New Dark Age)Anna Dennis

Mezzo-soprano (A New Dark Age)Susan Bickley

Baritone (The Knife of Dawn)Peter Brathwaite

Soprano 1 (The Knife of Dawn)Nia Coleman

Soprano 2 (The Knife of Dawn)Sarah Dacey

Alto (The Knife of Dawn)Beth Moxon


Director (The Knife of Dawn)Ola Ince

Director (A New Dark Age)Katie Mitchell

Composer (The Knife of Dawn)Hannah Kendall

Composer (A New Dark Age)Missy Mazzoli, Anna Meredith and Anna Thorvaldsdottir

DesignerVicki Mortimer

Lighting DesignerAdam Silverman

Sound designerSimon Hendry

Video designer (The Knife of Dawn)Akhila Krishnan

Video director (A New Dark Age)Grant Gee


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