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Emerging Artist double bill

Spell Book & La liberazione di Ruggiero


Spell Book

Text by Rebecca Tamás


La liberazione di Ruggiero dall’isola d’Alcina

(The liberation of Ruggiero from the island of Alcina)

A double bill exploring love, freedom and magic from Longborough’s Emerging Artists – a programme that gives a vital opportunity to singers at the beginning of their careers. This production is conducted by Yshani Perinpanayagam, directed by Jenny Ogilvie and featuring CHROMA Ensemble.

Freya Waley-Cohen’s contemporary dramatic song cycle Spell Book is inspired by the composer’s encounter with Rebecca Tamás’ collection of poems, WITCH. Spell Book will be seen at Longborough in its first complete staging, performed by members of the Emerging Artists ensemble.

Francesca Caccini’s La liberazione di Ruggiero dall’isola d’Alcina (The liberation of Ruggiero from the island of Alcina) is the earliest surviving opera composed by a woman: the story of Ruggiero’s betrayal and escape from the sorceress Alcina. La liberazione di Ruggiero will be performed in a new arrangement by conductor Yshani Perinpanayagam.

Please note that this production's start time was previously listed as 5pm. It will now start at 5.30pm.

This production contains some strong language and adult themes.


The Times

discover more about the production

Freya And Yshani

Interview: Composer Freya Waley-Cohen and conductor/arranger Yshani Perinpanayagam

Spell Book Composer Freya Waley-Cohen and Arranger and Music Director Yshani Perinpanayagam talk to Sophie Rashbrook about she-demons, creative freedom, and other-worldly perspectives. Read more >

A Horse Ballet In A Villa Courtyard Believed To Be From La Liberazione Alfonso Parigi

Article: Francesca Caccini - Power and Performance in Seventeenth Century Italy

Read more about Francesca Caccini, her world and musical legacy as a powerful testimony to historical women’s determination to be heard. Read more >

Lfo 2021 The Cunning Little Vixen Cr Matthew Williams Ellis 95


Longborough’s Emerging Artist production is an opportunity for singers that have recently finished, or are about to finish, their vocal studies.

Find out how you can support our Emerging Artists >

Chroma Cr Claire Shovelton Credit: cr Claire Shovelton.


Our double bill will feature CHROMA Ensemble: founded by Artistic Director Stuart King in 1997, CHROMA is a flexible chamber ensemble engaged in new music and revisiting classic repertoire in fresh and exciting contexts; mentoring the next generation of composers, and involving people in compelling, inspirational experiences, both as audiences and creators.

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​​About Freya Waley-Cohen

British-American composer Freya Waley-Cohen’s music has been described by BBC Music Magazine as “at once intimate and visionary”. Her music is full of shifting kaleidoscopic colours and patterns anchored around melodic lines that twist and wind. It is characterised by contrasts between earthy rhythmic play with bold colours, and fragility, luminous spaces, and a sense of the otherworldly. Many of her recent works play with myths, magic and the occult as lenses through which to look at the contemporary world. Spell Book is a series of musical spells, which are settings of the poetry of Rebecca Tamás.

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​Francesca Caccini and La liberazione di Ruggiero

Francesca Caccini was born into a musical family in Florence in 1587 and worked as a singer and composer in the Medici court. La liberazione di Ruggiero was composed in honour of a royal visit to Florence. Caccini draws on the Ariosto epic Orlando Furioso, which was also the source material for Handel’s Alcina.

Alcina, a Circe-like figure, has fallen in love with her spellbound captive Ruggiero; when Ruggiero’s friend Melissa arrives on the island to liberate him, Alcina’s magical powers shatter and the drama of her heartbreak comes to the fore.

Spell Book is performed by arrangement with Faber Music, London on behalf of Birdsong Music. Music by Freya Waley-Cohen; text by Rebecca Tamás.

CHROMA Ensemble