I have been an admirer of Eric and Liz Wetherell’s works for many years and have been lucky enough to work with them on many musical endeavours. Having seen the original production of A Foreign Field three times in 2010 and subsequently conducted a concert of Eric’s music in 2016 I began discussions with Eric and Liz to restage the opera to commemorate the end of WWI. I was delighted to be approached by Opera in a Box to bring this vision to life in 2018.
Musically and dramatically there are many wonderful moments to listen out for - here are five of them:
1) The pairs of chords that open the opera are a recurring motif that signal danger and act as a reminder to the audience that no matter how comfortable the characters on stage get, the threat of discovery and death is not far away.
2) Robert Digby’s part is superbly written and reflects both his calm and gentle nature and his awful trauma at having fought on the front lines. Listen as he sings about working in cafe on the banks of the Seine before he suffers a flashback to the banks of the Somme - the music changes masterfully to accompany this shift.
3) Claire and Robert sing a beautiful duet - In Fields and Farms - which encapsulates their romance and love for each other. The duet returns throughout the opera and each time it comes back it has a deeper and more emotional meaning.
4) The character of the villainous Major Evers is accompanied by angular, urgent music, with his aria “Everything Now Must Be Properly Logged” where he dictates how the village must be brought to order a standout moment.
5) The final a cappella quintet brings together all the plot and musical threads to great dramatic effect. It stands out as the only place in the opera where more than three voices sing at the same time and rounds off the work brilliantly.
Musical Director - A Foreign Field
A Foreign Field is at The Redgrave Theatre, Clifton, on October 10, 11, 12 and 13, 7.30pm. Tickets £15, students £5. To book tickets for either performance call 0117 315 7800or visit www.operainabox.com/aforeignfield