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Honorary Fellow Tarik O’Regan's opera 'The Phoenix' debuting in Texas, April 2019

26th February 2019

Honorary Fellow Tarik O’Regan (1996, BA Music) is soon set to travel to Houston, Texas to attend two months of rehearsals for the world premiere of his opera, The Phoenix, debuting at Houston Grand Opera on the 26th April 2019.

Tarik’s collaboration with librettist and director John Caird, tells the extraordinary story of Lorenzo Da Ponte (1749-1838) one of the USA’s most fascinating immigrants and naturalized citizens. Da Ponte was 27 years old when America declared independence, finally becoming an American citizen at age 79. Ponte died in Manhattan at the age of 89. His life traversed five countries, two continents, and at least ten different careers, perhaps the most predominant of which was his collaboration with Mozart as librettist for three canonical operas: Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), Don Giovanni, and Così fan tutte.

Tarik commented on his upcoming performance:

‘Rehearsing an opera, from the composer’s perspective, is a strange experience: it feels like it’s suddenly no longer mine! Over the next two months, I’ll be there to advise, revise and – if something really isn’t working – re-write. It’s everyone else who will be doing the operatic equivalent of a nine-to-five: memorizing arias, walking through choreography, building sets, plotting lights, typesetting programme booklets, and much, much more. That’ll be until someone spots a mistake in the score, at which point I’ll be expected to remember immediately and precisely which pitch the third French horn should play on the second note of bar 1,508 (it’s an F-sharp, by the way).  

I’m excited and daunted in equal measure. I’m daunted because Houston Grand Opera is the preeminent operatic commissioning house in the USA; it has developed a terrifying precedent for commissioning a number of important works in its relatively short, fifty-four-year history. I’m excited because The Phoenix is, at its heart, a story about the complexities and richness of migration – both human and cultural – which for me increasingly resonates with contemporary, real-world events offstage.’

For more information on Tarik’s upcoming opera, please click here.