14th, 15th November 2008
8:30pm, New College Ante-Chapel
Bookings: Oxford Playhouse 01865 305305
Don’t go down the Elephant after midnight
An opera about death and taxis.
Written by Andrew Gant
Cast: Patricia Rozario (soprano)
New Chamber Opera
Conductor: John Traill
Director: Michael Burden
Genesis – In 2002 Patricia Rozario sang the soprano solo in “The Vision of Piers plowman”, Andrew’s oratorio, with the Philharmonia Orchestra. Shortly afterwards she was asked by Tom Morris, now at the National Theatre, to nominate a composer to collaborate on a one-woamn show. Six years later the meter’s on, and cab is ready to depart
Pat is a taxi driver with an obsession: Mozart. The Marriage of Figaro is her constant companion in the cab, and Susanna and the rest of the characters are her friends and familiars. She sings along, shouts at them, joins in with their music, adds her own take on it. She cajoles them, bullies them, argues with them. Their dramas become more and more vivid in her mind, more real than the reality of road-rage on the Embankment. Occasionally she’ll pick up a fare, but only if they like Mozart, and only if their destination fits with the shape of her day, her journey, her destination. The “real” world of bus-lanes and BMWs becomes increasingly blurred with the Mozartian world in her head. This is an opera about how we “use” music. What is it for? Why do we need it to fill the silence? What is left when the music stops? As Pat says, “let’s have a little night-music, Susanna, because if we take away the music, all that’s left is the night.” It’s a drama about journeys, maps, the patterns we make to fill up the blank pages, and about what is left to show we’ve been here at all when the journey ends.
An eclectic sound-world recreates the strange, surreal mixture in Pat’s head. Mozart plays on the stereo. The “real” world is heard in the form of new music, sometimes super-imposed on the recorded Mozart, sometimes free-standing. The sonic paraphernalia of modern life plays a part in this sound-world too: car-horns, ring-tones, sat-navs, police-cars. This is a portrait in sound of an increasingly disturbing drive through contemporary London, with the inevitable result at the lights in St. Martin’s Lane.
Come drive with me. Share my journey. But be careful- Pat might know better than you where you will end up….