Composer’s note

Howard Moody introduces his opera Agreed.

The sound of the sea lies at the core of the music of Agreed.

I became haunted by the idea of an ancient ancestral memory carried by song across the waters. A melody kept reappearing in my musical imagination that became the repeated voice of the piece, as played initially by Korimako on the flute made from the bone of the victim of terrorist attack.

Anna’s dramatic development of an intense family drama opened up exciting possibilities for musical characterisation. The poetry and rhythm of her writing gave every motivation to compose, creating a tragic and beautiful story shaped as much by the voice of the community as by the leading characters.

Photo: Sam Stephenson

The heart of the project was to involve an inter-generational community group as chorus. I have always been inspired by the way that Verdi did this, but I wanted the chorus to be at the forefront of the drama. This was an opportunity to write chorus recitative as well as a sequence of big numbers, ensuring that we hear their critical dramatic voice that responds to the events and expresses their wish for a fairer world.

‘The Spirits’ offered an opportunity to bring a different style of singing and playing to Glyndebourne, using an exciting mix of improvising musicians from various musical sound worlds, together with the amazing artistry of jazz singer Zara McFarlane. Monteverdi was a strong inspiration for their music as I found myself wanting to weave a freer musical language into the structures of a contemporary opera score.

Photo: Sam Stephenson

It has been a pleasure to work with Simon Iorio from the first moment that Lucy Perry [Glyndebourne’s Head of Education] put us in a room together. Following the success of our last collaboration on my opera Push, Simon’s instinct for music and drama is exactly what this piece calls for. As I step into the role of conductor and have to leave the process of creation behind, it is thrilling to be able to work with such an openminded team. We all share Glyndebourne’s belief that the wonder and power of opera is to be experienced from the inside out with as many communities as possible.

Howard Moody

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