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David Porter » Reviews » Life Cycle

Life Cycle

Life Cycle

Opera North Projects, Norwich Playhouse

Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2011

Review published in Eastern Daily Press, 12 May 2011

Original music with haunting words chimes with mood; captures time, emotion and imagination. We have all been born, but only women have experienced childbirth.

This was an evening of old and new music that evoked pain and loss of stillbirth with the tribulations of new live birth.

John Reid (piano) and Oliver Coates (cello) opened with a prelude of three pieces on the theme of lullaby (Janacek, Mendelssohn and Messiaen). After an inexplicably long interval, Life Cycle followed.

Built round a song cycle, it was an evolving work without finite narrative, but giving us glimpses of being a mother. Toby Litt’s words and Emily Hall’s music dovetailed to create a succession of song fragments that told their own story.

‘There used to be a woman in this body, not just milk and carrying”, spoke volumes. It was Mara Carlyle’s versatile and beautiful singing that breathed life into the lyrics.

Lightmap provided both ethereal and gaunt images, projected onto cupboards. Put like that, it sounds strange. It wasn’t . It was life reflected.

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