I understand

To See The Invisible

Friday 8 Jun 2018 - Monday 11 Jun 2018

Part of Aldeburgh Festival

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Emily Howard music
Words by Selma Dimitrijevic after a
short story by Robert Silverberg

Richard Baker conductor
Dan Ayling director
Ana Inés Jabares-Pita designer
Sally Ferguson lighting designer


Birmingham Contemporary Music Group
Nicholas Morris The Invisible
Anna Dennis The Other Invisible
Anne Mason Mother / The Judge
Peter Savidge Father / Brothel Owner
Caryl Hughes Sister
Daniel Norman Guard
Nathan Vale Guard

(duration approx. 75′)

'And then they found me guilty, and then they pronounced me invisible, for a span of one year'

Robert Silverberg, To See the Invisible Man

Condemned for a ‘crime of coldness’ by an authoritarian regime, The Invisible is cast adrift from society. All human interaction is outlawed. This life of isolation leads to strange, vicarious thrills and painful inner torment. Yet, as the lonely exile draws to a close, it is not coldness but perilous empathy with a fellow Invisible that risks the cycle of exclusion beginning all over again…

Emily Howard’s new opera, based on a short story by renowned American sci-fi writer Robert Silverberg, is a claustrophobic study of isolation; a dark satire on social conventions; and a stark reminder of our cruelty to outsiders. Howard’s music embraces extremes – the eerie beauty of The Invisible’s secluded psychological spaces set against the perpetual motion of the World of Warmth.

‘austerely sensuous and sensuously austere’ Poet Sir Geoffrey Hill on Howard’s music


The opening performance of To See The Invisible will be recorded for future broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s Hear and Now

Creating To See The Invisible

Some of the early development of this opera took place on two residencies at Snape Maltings in 2016 and 2017. You can read more about those on its residency write-up page and see a timeline of the work’s creation on Emily Howard’s website.

Research and development has been generously supported by Arts Council England, Snape Maltings, The Nicholas Boas Charitable Trust, The Royal Northern College of Music and Christoph & Marion Trestler.

Emily Howard is supported by PRS Foundation’s Composers’ Fund.


Main Image Credit: Eugenesergeev

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