Hippodrome premiere for Tim’s second opera

Second opera: Tim Benjamin
Second opera: Tim Benjamin

Masetto and Zerlina – a young immigrant couple – are impoverished, cold, and starving.

Masetto, a brilliant portrait artist, is being ripped off by his unscrupulous agent, and circling art collectors will not take ”no” for an answer.

Shivering in a shabby loft, struggling to make ends meet, and exploited by the wealthy collectors Lady Brannoch and Mr Wilmore, Masetto lives for his art, protected only by his muse and love, Zerlina. Their plight becomes increasingly perilous, desperate, and deadly, until at last: revenge...

Composer Tim Benjamin attracted acclaim in 2013 with his opera Emily, and this August his new work for stage, Madame X, explores the darker side of the art world.

The opera follows the young lovers Masetto and Zerlina as their lives and dreams are manipulated by Masetto’s corrupt agent Botney and the wealthy, powerful collectors.

On writing the opera, Tim Benjamin said: “Madame X takes its musical inspiration from the Italian operas of Handel, and from the

Jacobean ‘revenge plays’.

“The story features all the plotting, ghostliness, madness and catastrophe expected from the Jacobean influence. It is full of both dark and light, tragedy and comedy, with a strong set of intriguing characters.

“Just as the libretto plays on the history of Art and the English language, the music plays on the history and languages of Western classical music.

“It is a piece with many familiar musical reference points, transformed and combined into a brand new, exciting work for the opera stage.”

Madame X will premiere at the Hippodrome Theatre in Tim Benjamin’s home town of Todmorden on August 21 before performances at Square Chapel Halifax, London’s Arcola Theatre as part of the 2014 Grimeborn Festival of New Opera, and the RNCM Opera Theatre, Manchester.

This dramatic and vengeful tale is peppered with black humour, passion and desperation.

Come and be plunged in to the darker side of art and life and watch as Masetto takes his revenge on those who push him too far…

Madame X is generously supported by Arts Council England, together with corporate and private sponsors and a grant from the RVW Trust.

More details at http://madame-x.co.uk and http://timbenjamin.com