On the Rim of the World (2009)

Project Summary

In March 2009 Glyndebourne Youth Opera 1 and 2 premiered a brand new choral theatre work for young singers, in a double bill performance alongside John Barber’s and James Redwood’s A Shadow Awaits.

On the Rim of The World was inspired by the themes of night and bedtime, home and family life, sleep and dreams.

It deals with the transition from childhood to adulthood and portrays the adult world viewed through children’s eyes.

The piece featured adult’s well as children’s voices including music the young people have composed themselves.

The performance featured 70 children aged 8-13 from the Glyndebourne Youth Opera 1 & 2 with their parents and carers and with players from the Brighton Youth Orchestra.

The work was composed by Orlando Gough with lyrics by Jehane Markham and was a collaborative commission between eight British opera companies.

Composer’s Note

‘The opera is about going to bed, and all that implies. Bedtime arrives when you’re absolutely not ready for it, when you’re in the middle of something totally absorbing and exciting, when you’re not even beginning to feel tired. And, as a parent, equally dreaded – the inevitable nagging, the sheer predictability of it all… And then it’s to sleep, and not being able to sleep. Lying awake and listening. Perched on the edge of the night, open to the myriad strange sounds out there, some familiar, some mysterious, some comforting, some alarming.

And what does that do to your imagination? What do you think about? It’s potentially exciting, but it’s forbidden, and it’s scary.

So no sleep yet. And therefore schemes for getting to sleep – ditties and counting games – don’t work that well. And lullabies, they don’t necessarily work that well either. So it’s you and imagination, and it gets quite weird, and you begin to wonder what’s going on out there in the adult world. In fact, in your imagination, you grow up.’

- Orlando Gough

Creative Team

Composer Orlando Gough
Librettist Jehane Markham
Artistic Director Alistair Campbell
Stage Director Clare Whistler
Music Director Jonathan Gill
Vocal Director Jozik Koc
Designer Bern O’Donoghue