The Marlowe
Glyndebourne’s glass human: An interview with the creative team

Glyndebourne’s glass human: An interview with the creative team

Glyndebourne, a Marlowe Resident Company, are visiting our theatre this week with a programme of performances that includes glass human, a brand new chamber opera that explores three contemporary experiences of loneliness.

Developed as part of The Marlowe led Catalyst For Culture project (funded by SELEP), the project’s creation was inspired by conversations with members of our local community.

We spoke to Samantha Fernando (composer) and Melanie Wilson (sound artist and writer) about the production.

What is glass human about and what will the experience of watching it be like for audiences?
Melanie Wilson: The experience of watching glass human is akin to a journey into the core of human connection. The piece allows the listener to experience the same gradual transformation of isolation into connection as the characters do: it’s a physical, sensory experience of how music and sound tell the story of a universal human experience.

Can you tell us about the creative process you used to create it?
Samantha Fernando: We have been very collaborative the whole way through. Opera is often seen as quite a linear process. A libretto is created and then the composer responds to that, then it gets handed on to a director and finally to the artists. We were both part of those discussions at the start of the process, both involved in finding the narrative. Melanie is not only a writer but also a composer and many other things. We created electronic sounds in the piece – the musical embodiment of the sinkhole – together, and I think that really blurred the relationship, moved it away from the clear composer/librettist divide that usually exists.

For part of the development process you talked to members of our community in Canterbury. How did that influence the piece?
Melanie Wilson: I worked with members of The Umbrella Centre to explore writing and performance responses to the theme of isolation and connection. This work fed into the research around the project. Some of the participants voices were also taken forward into the score for glass human, featuring in a voice collage alongside participants from other community groups around the country.

glass human will be performed on Saturday 12 November at 2pm & 4pm. Tickets can be booked here.