BLACK SAND

Photos by Bill Knight

‘BLACK SAND is a chamber-electronic horror opera about a man so reluctant to confront his fear that it destroys him and everything he loves.’


Background:

Imagine the time right before you fall asleep, when you’re alone and your mind plays tricks on you. It is not what is seen, but what is heard: an opera singer’s voice electronically enhanced, an upbeat pop song transformed into a sadistic lullaby, a rock n’ roll passage ripped out of context giving us the uncanny feeling that everything is not quite right. BLACK SAND is set in a small suburban university town in 1950’s America; the kind of place where every house has a front lawn and everyone knows their neighbour’s business, where there are prep rallies and a pharmacy where teenagers gather on Friday nights to drink milk-­‐shakes and coke-­‐floats. An idyllic place where people are obsessed with being normal, being appropriate. Nathanael is an outsider in this town. Since his parents’ death he has been haunted by night terrors, by the Sandman. His biggest fear is to lose his mind and, in turn, his true love, Olympia – the most perfect American “teen-­‐dream” girlfriend. Terrified and determined to keep his mind, Nathanael decides his only defence is to sleep forever.


Performed August, 2013 Tête à Tête Opera Festival (Riverside Studios)
Performed August, 2013 Grimeborn Opera Festival (Arcola Theatre)



Written for:

Six singers: Soprano, Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, High Tenor, Countertenor, Baritone
Chamber Ensemble: Vla, Db I, Db II, Pno, Perc
Live electronics/soundtrack
Running time: 45minutes


Credits:

Music: Na'ama Zisser
Libretto: Samantha Newton
Soundtrack, Sound Design and Electronics: Daniel Grossman
Director: Stuart Barker
Production and Stage management: Osnat Koblenz
Design: Isobel Power smith
Lighting Design: Adam Dallman
Costume Supervisor: Suzanne Burlton


Original Cast:

Nathaniel: James Hall
Olympia: Caroline Kennedy
Sandman: Nick Dwyer
Soprano Toy/Voice: Rose Stachniewska
Soprano Toy/Voice: Alex Mathew
Tenor Toy/Voice : Oliver Marshall

SANDMAN

‘A promenade horror operetta’

background:

In April 2012, the SANDMAN – a horror operetta based on ETA Hoffman’s short story – was performed at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, directed by Stuart Barker. Whilst collaborating on this project, Samantha (words), Daniel (sound), Osnat (production) and Na’ama (music) found that there was a lot more to Hoffman’s dark text than could be effectively realised in a short operetta. BLACK SAND sees the development and growth of their original ideas into an opera.

Performed April 2012 Silk Street Main Theatre, Barbican, London
Performed April 2012 The Salisbury Hotel, London

Written for:

Three singers: Soprano, Countertenor, Baritone
Chamber ensemble: Pic/Alto/Fl, Cl/B.Cl, Sax (Sop/Tenor), Vc, Db, E.Guitar, Pno, Perc
Live soundtrack/electronics
Duration: 15 minutes

Credits:

Music: Na'ama Zisser
Libretto: Samantha Newton
Soundtrack, Sound Design and Electronics: Daniel Grossman
Director: Stuart Barker
Production and Stage management: Jennifer Bass
Design & Costumes: Simon Bejer

Original cast:

Nathaniel: James Hall
Olympia: Caroline Kennedy
Sandman: Joseph Padfield