An etching of Milton, transposed over an image of some apples
Classical Music

States of Innocence

An opera after Paradise Lost
Sun 19 May 2024 , 18:30
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Milton: poet, prophet, dreamer

On the cusp of publishing his epic poem Paradise Lost, the great English poet and staunch republican John Milton, now completely blind and living in fear of reprisals from the restored Stuart monarchy, is assailed by dreams and visions of devils, angels and phantasms of the past… 

The year 2024 marks the 350th anniversary of Milton’s death. The work has been specially conceived and developed for the Brighton Festival 2024, internationally celebrated bass-baritone Sir John Tomlinson in the role of Milton, and an acclaimed cast of soloists. With music by award winning composer Ed Hughes (University of Sussex), original projection designs by video artist Ian Winters and a libretto based on Milton’s words by Peter Cant. Stage direction of this concert performance is by Tim Hopkins (University of Sussex).

Cast List

Milton: Sir John Tomlinson
Satan: Stuart Jackson
Eve: Rozanna Madylus
Soprano Rachel Duckett Composer: Ed Hughes
Libretto: Peter Cant
Stage Director: Tim Hopkins
Projection Design: Ian Winters
Conductor: Andrew Gourlay
New Music Players
Flute: Karen Jones
Clarinet: Fiona Cross
Violin: Susanne Stanzeleit
Viola: Bridget Carey
Cello: Andrew Fuller
Piano: Ben-San Lau

Listen to the creative team introduce States of Innocence in discussion with Dr Chloe Porter, University of Sussex.

Sir John Tomlinson is a white man with mid-length grey hair, looking straight ahead with one eyebrow slightly raised

Sir John Tomlinson

Sir John Tomlinson, bass, was born in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire. He intended becoming an engineer but singing took over and he studied at the RMCM and later with Otakar Kraus. He sang in the Scottish Opera Chorus from 1968 and in 1972 sang with Glyndebourne Touring Opera. He was principal bass at English National Opera from 1975 to 1981. He was invited to Bayreuth in 1988 and appeared there for 18 consecutive seasons in the Wagner roles of Wotan and Hagen in the Ring, King Mark in Tristan und Isolde, Titurel and Gurnemanz in Parsifal and the title-role in Der fliegende Holländer. His career has taken him to all the great opera houses of the world as Wotan/Wanderer, Hans Sachs in Die Meistersinger, Ochs in Der Rosenkavalier, Boris Godunov, King Philip in Don Carlo, Claggart in Billy Budd, and Bluebeard in Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle. He was appointed CBE in 1997 and knighted in 2005. 

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