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Opera

King of Macedon 1978-79 c.2hr 30mins

An opera in three acts based on the events leading up to the death of Philip of Macedon.

Libretto by Ursula Vaughan Williams.

1st perfs: Charterhouse School, Godalming, UK, 18-21 October 1979. The 1st performance was in the presence of HRH Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, and HE The Greek Ambassador.

Principal singers included, Glyn Davenport, John Elwes, Lesley Garrett, Martyn Hill, Robin Martin Oliver, Peter Savidge, Alison Truefitt, Lawrence Wallington, David Wilson-Johnson.

Costumes by Joyce Conway Evans
Directed by Geoffrey Ford
Conducted by William Llewellyn
Sets by Michael Woods

''Indeed with only a first hearing so much proves memorable, and with such a richly imaginative score behind him the world lies open for this industrious and gifted composer, only 26, already with choral and orchestral music, song-cycles and a string quartet to his name.''
The Daily Telegraph, 20 October 1979.

''What I have heard of the music makes me think that Steptoe has real dramatic flair and writes music that is direct, forceful, and imaginative enough to make a powerful impact in the opera house. The music of this opera is, however, personal and devoid of cliché, cleanly showing real ability to sustain an emotional mood. A particularly fine monologue for Olympias in the second act, the eerie countertenor minstrel's song, has a rightness and instant memorability that puts me in mind of some of Britten's happiest dramatic inventions.''
Hugo Cole, Country Life, 11 October 1979.

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''Roger Steptoe clothes this dramatic skeleton in atmospheric music, mainly chromatic in style. As we know from his song cycles, he writes with exceptional skill for the voice; his employment of instrumental soloists - flute and cello obbligatos, oboe, cor anglais and alto saxophone solos in particular - shows equal deftness. Many of the ensembles, whether small-scale like the quartet ending the first act or the quintet that ends the second, or large-scale such as the choral celebrations of the third act, are striking in texture and varied in colour.''
Elizabeth Forbes, Financial Times, 20 October 1979.

''Roger Steptoe's score shows him to be a fluent and accomplished composer. He draws nice instrumental effects from an orchestra of some 35 players and effectively distinguishes the harsh world of Macedon from the more urbane atmosphere of the Epirian court. He provides his cast with singable lines and his lucid orchestral writing does not mask the voice. In short, he knows how to set about writing an opera.''
Peter Heyworth, The Observer, 28 October 1979.

''His score is never monotonous but splendidly varied in pace, colour and texture. He writes rewardingly for the voice. His scoring, particularly for woodwind, is masterly, with many solos and obbligatos given to individual instruments.''
Opera, December 1979.

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