Clemency, James MacMillian’s new one act opera at ROH2

Clemency, James MacMillian’s new one act opera will world premiere this month at the Royal Opera House. The ROH2 co-produced with Scottish Opera and co-commissioned by; Scottish Opera, Britten Sinfonia, Boston Lyric Opera and the Royal Opera House follows the premiere of MacMillian’s opera Parthenogenesis which was staged two years ago at ROH2.

The same team including librettist Michael Symmons Roberts is reunited in Clemency along with Katie Mitchell the award winning director and will most assuredly deliver a contemporary take from the biblical story Abraham and Sarah who get a visit from angels that bare news they will be having a child.

The small chamber opera of dramatic and biblical power is conducted by Clark Rundell. And has the reflection and spiritual identity that MacMillan’s work is known for. This is ROH2’s first solo opera commission and first co-produced. Stars of the opera are Janis Kelly the renowned Scottish soprano, as Sarah and Grant Doyle, formerly of Young Artists, as Abraham.

The remaining cast of five are Adam Green, Eamonn Mulhallm and Andrew Tortise; singers and the orchestra will be Britten Sinfonia having be associated for a long time with the composer and premiered some of his works.

The rest of the creative group comprises Alex Eales on set design, John Bright in costumes, Joseph Alford in movement and Jon Clark on lighting. Clemency will be performed by Scottish Opera next year north of the border.

Influenced by his strong Scottish heritage, social conscience, close contact with Celtic folk music and devout Catholic faith, MacMillan’s musical has a distinctive voice. These are all blended together with music from Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and the Far East. International recognition came to him through the highly acclaimed BBC Proms’ The Confessions of Isabel Gowdie in 1990.