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Journal Articles Revue LISA / LISA e-journal Year : 2004

Tower by Alun Hoddinott: An Attempt at Creating a Popular Opera

Tower d’Alun Hoddinott, ou la tentative de créer un opéra populaire


The aim of this paper is to deal with Opera Box’s recent attempt at creating a contemporary popular opera. The plot and subject of Tower, Alun Hoddinott’s latest opera, are based on the real sequel of events which led the minors of Tower Colliery to buy out their pit. The project of this opera was launched by Opera Box, a mid-scale touring opera company, whose main purpose is to make opera popular through performances of famous works and workshops. With Tower, they have decided for the first time to stage a new opera whose premiere was on October 23, 1999 at Swansea Grand Theatre. All the ingredients are there to make the opera successful. Although the aim of the enterprise is to create a popular opera, this does not mean that the composer and the librettist have not made a real opera. On the contrary, music is there to serve the drama and the music presents all the qualities one should expect from a contemporary composer whose style is not devoid of references to tonality. Added to this, we should bear in mind that both the efficiency of the libretto and the traditional symbolical use of the singers’ tessituras contribute to make of Tower an opera which respects the main features of the genre. In spite of all its musical and dramatic qualities, there have been few performances of Tower and Opera Box has never succeeded in securing any staging of it in London.

Dates and versions

hal-01687405 , version 1 (18-01-2018)



Jean-Philippe Heberlé. Tower d’Alun Hoddinott, ou la tentative de créer un opéra populaire. Revue LISA / LISA e-journal, 2004, Vol. II - n°3, pp.201 - 213. ⟨10.4000/lisa.2972⟩. ⟨hal-01687405⟩
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