"We have a three-year period in order to put together different projects that interest us, that we can treat almost as freely as possible." Solomon's Knot Collective was founded by Jonathan Sells in 2008, and is now directed artistically by Jonathan and James Halliday. They describe themselves as "a group of singers and players who are prepared to take risks in order to communicate more directly with their audience."
As part of Open Space they have so far done a number of projects including Kuhnau & Bach as part of the 2014 Aldeburgh Easter Weekend. They have recently performed their fully-staged production, ‘The Hospital of Incurable Madness’, at Wilton’s Music Hall, based around an anonymous 17th-century medical satire and including Italian madrigals from the period. Set in an asylum this comedic opera explores the various maladies of the human condition.
In January 2015 they had a residency here to prepare Pour un tombeau d’Anatole for their Easter Weekend performance, in which elegiac poetry by Stephane Mallarme, lamenting the death of his young son Anatole, is linked into a chain of exquisite vocal and instrumental music from the French and English Baroque to reflect on themes of mortality and the fragility of life. Simply staged and atmospherically lit, the yearning, spiritual qualities of the music are embellished by simple visual effects and the sparse but sensuous verse.
Jonny Sells describes the group’s Open Space experience as a scheme that “gives artistic free reign to the people lucky enough to be here, take part in it, but it’s also about a kind of blue-sky thinking, a really open, creative approach. The freedom here and the clarity of mind which you get just being here in this wonderful place allows us to be as creative as possible with the material that we have in front of us. Literally the space that we have to clear our minds, and when things get too hectic or too overheated in our rehearsal room, we take a stroll, we go outside and we come back refreshed and absolutely clear about what we want to do with this really interesting subject matter.”