Performance - The Lighthouse
Music and Libretto by Peter Maxwell Davies
Based on a true story, The Lighthouse is a haunting opera with an atmospheric score by the lauded English composer Peter Maxwell Davies. Part detective mystery and part ghost story, The Lighthouse tells the tale of three officers who were sent to relieve three lighthouse keepers, only to find they had vanished into thin air. The story unfolds with a mix of courtroom testimony and fantastical flashbacks, as the officers nervously pass the time by singing songs. But out of the fog, their past emerges to taunt them.
All performances of The Lighthouse are at the Aquarium’s new cutting-edge, high-definition technology space with a breathtaking 32-foot-tall 180-degree arc projection wall.
Peter Maxwell Davies: ...The original inspiration of this work came from reading Craig Mair’s book on the Stevenson family of Edinburgh. This family, apart from producing the famous author Robert Louis, produced several generations of lighthouse and harbour engineers. In December 1900 the lighthouse and harbour supply ship Hesperus based in Stromness, Orkney, went on its routine tour of duty to the Flannan Isles light in the Outer Hebrides.
The lighthouse was empty – all three beds and the table looked as if they had been left in a hurry, and the lamp, though out, was in perfect working order, but the men had disappeared into thin air.
There have been many speculations as to how and why the three keepers disappeared. This opera does not offer a solution to the mystery, but indicates what might be possible under the tense circumstances of three men being marooned in a storm-bound lighthouse long after the time they expected to be relieved.
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