Music by Julian Grant
Libretto by Christina Jones
Under the watchful eye of the station clock commuters rush to catch the last train home. But it is not only the present that leaves its footprint on the bustling concourse.
In the empty station, moonlight reveals shadowtracks gently vibrating with the arrival of the Necropolis train, bringing ghosts and memories back down the line. The ghosts must leave by daybreak, but when the train breaks down Victorian children, soldiers, evacuees and suffragettes all become stranded in the present. Will the Ascot party and the football fans see them and who is the strange lady standing patiently under the clock?
We are thrilled to be reviving our “fresh and poignant” (Daily Telegraph) Shadowtracks, by Julian Grant, composer of W11 Opera’s 40th anniversary work, Original Features.
Julian Grant, Composer
Julian Grant’s operas include The Skin Drum (winner, 1988 National Opera Association of America’s biennial chamber opera competition: produced at Banff, New Mexico, Oberlin and the ENO Studio), Out of Season (ROH Garden Venture, 1991 – nominated for an Olivier Award), A Family Affair(Almeida 1993), Jump Into My Sack (Mecklenburgh 1996), Platform 10 and Odd Numbers for Tête-à-Tête, and A Very Private Beach (ENO Knack 2004). He has been involved extensively in education work with the major opera houses; notably workshop leader for English National Opera’s 1990 tour of Russia, and further projects culminating in composed community operas for ENO (The Queen of Sheba’s Legs 1991), Blackheath Concert Halls (The Uninvited 1997) and the Royal Opera (Heroes Don’t Dance 1998). He has written many chamber, instrumental, orchestral and vocal works, and has arranged new performing versions of Debussy’s The Fall of the House of Usher(Banff 1987), Thea Musgrave’s Harriet Tubman, A Woman Called Moses (Norfolk Opera [USA] 1994) Beethoven’s Fidelio (Birmingham Opera/ BBC4 2002) and Eugene Onegin (Scottish Opera, 2004).
From 1996-2002, he lived in Hong Kong and Tokyo and was a research consultant at Hong Kong University, a producer and presenter for RTHK Radio 4’s daily program, Morning Call (Fine Arts Channel), as well as musical director of the Hong Kong Singers and guest conductor at the Hong Kong Academy of the Performing Arts. From 2002-7 he was Director of Music at St. Paul’s Girl’s School, a post previously held by Gustav Holst, Vaughan-Williams and Herbert Howells. During his tenure there he wrote a series of pieces for the school, including a celebration of the school’s centenary in 2004 – The Prevailing Tree a cantata, Timepiece, and a new piece for an extensive tour of China in 2008. Recent premieres include Tillie’s Allsorts, a song-cycle for Sarah Leonard, a piano trio for Double Image, Double Trouble, for Melvyn Tan’s 50th birthday celebrations at the Wigmore Hall in October, and two operas for Tête-à-Tête: Anger, and Odysseus Unwound, which involved traditional knitters, spinners and weavers from Shetland, the conception of which was featured on BBC2’s Culture Show. He writes regularly on musical matters and is a correspondent for Opera magazine UK, and in 2009 took part in the Virginia Arts Festival’s symposium on music theatre. Andromache Music published his complete songs and a piano collection, Shivereens, in 2009. Grant currently divides his time between Princeton, London and Brooklyn, where he is Composer-in-Residence at Saint Ann’s School. His choral piece In a Fog – Remember, commissioned in memory of 9/11, was premièred in Brooklyn by the Grace and Spiritus Chorale in January 2011. His most recent commission, Original Features, is a children’s opera for the 40th anniversary of W11 Opera which previously commissioned Shadowtracks in 2007. Original Features will première at Riverside Studios, London, in December.
Christina Jones, Librettist
Christina has written libretti for many opera and music theatre pieces.
For Babel Music Theatre, a company she founded with composer Warren Wills to fuse the skills of actors and opera singers, she has written prize-winning libretti, including Pin-Money Opera, House of Obsession, Street Walker and Wedlock, The Opera.
She has also collaborated with Derek Barnes on Light Angel, Dark Angel and Roxanna Panufnik, on Timepiece and has also written the book and libretto for Streetwise Opera’s large-scale community opera, Time Flows: A Handel and Hendrix Experience.
Julian and Christina have worked together many times, notably on Heroes Don’t Dance, a large-scale community opera for the ROH, A Very Private Beach for ENO Studios and two short operas for Tête a Tête, Platform 10 and Odd Numbers.
In 2010 she was delighted to have been asked to create another opera, Original Features, with Julian Grant, for W11’s 40th Anniversary.
Her opera directing work includes Carmen, Aida and The Magic Flute which she adapted for educational tours and Il Trovatore at the Gulbenkian Theatre.
Working under her stage name Tina Jones, she has many credits as an actor, including the RSC, Old Vic, Young Vic, West End musicals and television roles. She is also music theatre and drama assessor for Trinity College of Music.