Formations Masterclasses 2016

Formations 2016 Masterclasses by Helios Collective

Following on from the success of Formations 2015 – when three new operas were developed over a two-week period by Kasper Holten (director of opera, Royal Opera House), Robert Saxton (composer), Stephen Unwin, (director), Stephen Barlow (artistic director, Buxton Festival), Bettina Bartz (dramaturg), and David Parry (conductor) – Helios Collective returned in 2016 with an extended Formations Masterclass series, hosted by English National Opera and King’s College London.

Helios Collective

  • Ella Marchment
    Artistic Director
  • Noah Mosley
    Music Director


  • Robert Harm
    Production Manager
  • Beatrice Wallbank
    Stage Manager
  • Edmund Sutton
    Lighting Designer


  • Joseph Shiner
    Clarinet / Bass clarinet
  • Michael Newman
  • Salomé Rateau
  • Taylor MacLennan
    Flute / Piccolo
  • Victoria Bernath

Masterclasses and Masterclass Leaders

King’s College London

  • Janis Kelly – Singing
    Monday, 14 November 2016
  • Mark Wigglesworth – Conducting
    Tuesday, 15 November 2016
  • Jonathan Moore – Writing
    Thursday, 17 November 2016
  • David Pountney – Directing
    Friday, 18 November 2016
  • Judith Weir – Composing
    Thursday, 24 November 2016

Final Triple-Opera Show & Panel Discussion

English National Opera, Lilian Baylis House
Friday, 25 November 2016

  • Brian Dickie
    Artistic consultant, English National Opera
  • James Clutton
    Director of Opera, Opera Holland Park
  • Jonathan Moore
  • Stephen Medcalf

Three New Operas

Formations 2016 featured three new operas, selected through an international composition competition.

1. Dead Equal

Formations 2016 Dead Equal by Rose Miranda Hall and Lila Palmer for Helios Collective

’Special Treatment.’ ‘Falling standards.’ ‘Rising casualties.’

In 2016, a chorus of critical voices lamented the entry of servicewomen into full combat roles in the British Army. But in 1916, one British woman was already fighting on the Allied front line. Flora Sandes became a public heroine. A century later, her successors go operational.

Through the stories of three women, real and imagined, Dead Equal celebrates the courage and sacrifice of women in theatres of war, probing the cost and meaning of service, the influence of social structures, and the disruptive power of a female identity forged in blood and sweat.

  • Rose Miranda Hall
  • Lila Palmer
  • Caolan Keaveney
  • Helena Jackson
  • Noah Mosley
  • Laurie O’Brien
  • Gráinne Gillis
  • Jennifer Parker
  • Susanna Buckle

2. For the Love of Thorstein Shiver

Formations 2016 For the Love of Thorstein Shiver by Alex Paxton for Helios Collective

A prayer For the Love of Thorstein Shiver
O music!
O great redeemer!
Ineluctable modality of the audible:
At least that if no more, thought through my ears.
Come, thou glorious monarch of sound!

Amidst the clammer of strain and splat on porcelain,
A thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about my ears,
While I,
Relishing delightful religious rite and ribaldry,
Limp the gait of the gelded
And skid (still straining) into the streaky basin.
Splosh! Oh dear. Drain. Wipe. Cadenza. Cadence!
Rejoice! Amen!
Joy. Yes.

For the love of love, music, vikings or those who love to look forward to a bit of mid- morning “me” time on the john.

But please do wash your hands afterwards.

  • Alex Paxton
    Composer and librettist
  • Flavio Graff
  • Jefferson Miranda
  • Zara Fyfe
    Assistant Director
  • Irune Arbiol
    Design Assistant
  • Zoe Hammond
    Design Assistant
  • Noah Mosley
  • Tamara Lorenzo Gabeiras
  • Barbara Cole Walton
  • Fae Evelyn
  • Flora Macdonald
  • Tom Asher
  • Tom Morss

3. The Yellow Wallpaper

Formations 2016 The Yellow Wallpaper by Grace-Evangeline Mason for Helios Collective

Taking place entirely in one room, The Yellow Wallpaper is based on a story of the same name by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The work focuses on a nameless young woman’s descent into psychosis, as her mental-health issues – resulting from postnatal depression – are left misunderstood.

The woman and her physician husband, John, move into an airy mansion, with John believing that his wife’s health will improve if she undergoes the ‘rest cure’. With nothing to stimulate her mind, the woman becomes increasingly obsessed with the yellow wallpaper that covers the room. Her fascination for the yellow wallpaper eventually spirals out of control.

  • Grace-Evangeline Mason
    Composer and librettist
  • Guido Martin Brandis
  • Beatrice Paterson-Achenbach
    Assistant Director
  • Tamara Lorenzo Gabeiras
  • Robert Allan
  • Ayaka Tanimoto
  • Isolde Roxby
  • James Quilligan
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