About Gestalt Arts

Gestalt = ‘The whole is more than the sum of the parts.’

Gestalt creates big, bold operatic work which cuts into issues which are fundamental to humanity and relevant to today.

We make intimate innovative mini operas and big, bold collaborative operas with an eclectic mix of different communities and artistic disciplines.

Trained and untrained artists work together, changing each other through their insight, ideas and experiences and using opera’s many elements as a toolkit to think creatively about the world.

Big imagery, big voices and big ideas combine in public spaces and unusual places. The work unites everyone through spectacle and endeavours to reach the essence of being human: it is wonderful, horrible, unreal and true.

We help build the audiences of the future, showing them that we love them and that opera can offer new ways of thinking and feeling.

Gestalt has produced 4 operas to date, and from 2015 – 2016 will be incubated by Guildhall School of Music and Drama and public art company Artichoke www.artichoke.uk.com

‘Gestalt makes it worth taking the risk’    –    Fringe Opera

‘A raw, authentic creation from start to finish’    –    Nefarious Magazine

‘More adventurous than the big opera houses dare to be’    –    Planet Hugill

‘A work of art’    –    Fringe Opera

Gestalt was listed as No. 4 in Twenty Something London’s article ‘Ten Reasons Why Opera is No Longer Stuffy and Elitist’

Works

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Clive and Other Stories

 

Our 2014 show, Clive and Other Stories, hosted in Peckham Asylum, an exquisite ruin, set in the heart of Peckham.

Three very different operas tell very different tales, brought together by our unique creative team, featuring art directors Studio BOO, filmmaker Daya Dodds, sculptor and architect Eleonora Nicoletti, sceneographer Nayantara Kotain, and Lindbury winning set designer Carys Beard.

Adrift, by Ed Scolding, tells of a Man and Woman lost at sea, undergoing a torturous journey of anticipation as they come to accept their loss.

The Leap in The Dark — composed for live instruments and electronics by Nick Morrish Rarity, to a libretto by Arthur Sawbridge — follows the story of Q, who, at the dawn of space and time, sets out to (quite literally) make his mark on the world.

Clive — composed by Benjamin Ashby to a libretto to Matthew Lee Knowles — is confused, and contained within red walls to keep him safe. He’s half adult, half child, just like his bully of a sister, but it’s hard to know who to feel sorry for when Clive reveals his true capabilities.

Julia’s Bureau

 

Julia’s Bureau is Gestalt Arts’ first full-length opera, a work under construction for Spring 2015, to be composed by Toby Young for a libretto by Ruth Mariner.

The work is based on the life of Victorian journalist and spiritualist W. T. Stead. Obsessed by breaking through into the next world, Stead maintained a relationship with American journalist Julia Ames for many years after she had died, writing her letter using ‘automatic’ writing. The opera follows Stead’s pursuit of his dream for the future of spiritualism: to use scientific advances to establish a bureau (dedicated to Julia) through which all may communicate with their departed loved ones.Playing with the theme of text, which pervades the source material in the way of letters and newspaper articles, the opera will attempt to offer a response to the problem of subtitles. Working with a visual team which includes a typesetter and graphic artist, Gestalt aims to find new, fully integrative ways to incorporate text within opera.

The Daisy Chain – LSO Workshop

 

A radical re-envisioning of the Rumpelstiltskin tale, fusing courtly love, psychotherapy and sadomasochism

When a stoic marriage counsellor is tasked with curing the delusions of the Royal bride Daisy, she discovers a darker side to the nuptials that challenges the very foundations of her practice. Ruined by the fear that her first born heir will be abducted by an aberrant cave-dwelling goblin, Daisy’s delusions are fantastical, yet firmly rooted in the fissures found when reality shatters love’s great dream: her husband is a bastard. Or at least, this was the initial interpretation.

As the therapist begins to find Daisy’s tales more compelling, she becomes trapped in a triangle between guarding the safety of the Princess, the safety of the baby, and exposing the Prince as a psychotic tyrant and cause of Daisy’s pain. However, for some pain is pleasure, and as the difference between reality and fantasy starts to become more and more obscure, the therapist has to confront the possibility of an incredible truth: that Daisy’s delusions aren’t as intangible as they first appear.

Music: Toby Young
Liberetto: Thomas Conroy
Stage Direction: Ruth Mariner
Set Design: Jayne O’Hanlon

London Symphony Orchestra Workshop Performance

Semi-staged workshop performance as part of the LSO’s Soundhub scheme

Musical Director: Mark Gotham
Daisy: Christina Birchall-Sampson
Miller: Nick Scott
Prince: Roderick Morris
Therapist: Clara Kanter
Patrons: Angus McPhee, Tom Oldham, Chloe Morgan, with The London Symphony Orchestra
Photos: Alex Brown

The Daisy Chain – Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival

 

A radical re-envisioning of the Rumpelstiltskin tale, fusing courtly love, psychotherapy and sadomasochism

When a stoic marriage counsellor is tasked with curing the delusions of the Royal bride Daisy, she discovers a darker side to the nuptials that challenges the very foundations of her practice. Ruined by the fear that her first born heir will be abducted by an aberrant cave-dwelling goblin, Daisy’s delusions are fantastical, yet firmly rooted in the fissures found when reality shatters love’s great dream: her husband is a bastard. Or at least, this was the initial interpretation.

As the therapist begins to find Daisy’s tales more compelling, she becomes trapped in a triangle between guarding the safety of the Princess, the safety of the baby, and exposing the Prince as a psychotic tyrant and cause of Daisy’s pain. However, for some pain is pleasure, and as the difference between reality and fantasy starts to become more and more obscure, the therapist has to confront the possibility of an incredible truth: that Daisy’s delusions aren’t as intangible as they first appear.

Music: Toby Young
Liberetto: Thomas Conroy
Stage Direction: Ruth Mariner
Set Design: Jayne O’Hanlon

Tête à Tête Festival Performance

Musical Director: Stephen Craigen
Daisy: Sera Baines
Miller: Nick Scott
Prince: Roderick Morris
Creature: Joanna Foote
Patrons/Guards: Elenaor Hemmens, Oskar McCarthy
Photos: Claire Shovelton

The Collective

RUTH MARINER    ARTISTIC DIRECTOR/PRODUCER/STAGE DIRECTOR

Ruth Mariner is a writer, director and opera-maker based in London. She specialises in writing and directing new works within opera and experimental music theatre. www.ruthmariner.co.uk

Librettists

Shaun Gardiner

Matthew Lee Knowles

Arthur Sawbridge

Thomas Conroy

Conductors

William Cole

Stephen Craigen

Mark Gotham

Directors

Ruth Mariner

Yuriria Fanjul (Movement Director)

Visual Artists

Studio BOO (Art Direction)

Eleonora Nicoletti (Experimental Architect)

Jamie Griffiths (Interactive Video Artist)

Annalisa Terranova (Interactive Video Artist)

Jayne O’Hanlon (Visual Artist)

Latest News

Creative Entrepreneurs Update (1/5/2016) - It’s the New Year and we thought it was about time we updated you on what we’ve been up to! In September 2015 Gestalt Arts was selected to be part of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama’s scheme to develop creative businesses. It is the third year of the creative entrepreneurs scheme, which is […]
CAST ANNOUNCED! (6/4/2014) - CAST LIST We are thrilled to have so many talented performers collaborating on Clive (and other stories). A Sign in Space Composer: Nick Morrish Rarity Text: Arthur Sawbridge Felicity Turner (Narrator) Benjamin Williamson (Q) Dan D’Souza (K) Clive Composer: Ben Ashby Text: Mathew Lee Knowles Jack Lawrence-Jones (Clive) Camilla Bull (Nurse) Alexa Mason (Sister) Oliver […]
GESTALT BRING UNDERGROUND OPERA TO PECKHAM’S ABANDONED ASYLUM (5/13/2014) - BUY TICKETS NOW FOR OUR UPCOMING PRODUCTION 8th & 9th June Don’t miss out on this groundbreaking show! £10 ONLINE at gestaltclive.ticketsource.co.uk We will be showcasing three short operas in the Peckham Asylum brought together by Artistic Director Ruth Mariner, in collaboration with some of London’s most exciting visual artists, featuring a blend of video […]

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