Madame X (2014)

“…we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye…”

Masetto and Zerlina – a young immigrant couple – are impoverished, cold, and starving. Masetto, a brilliant portrait artist, is being ripped off by his unscrupulous agent, and circling art collectors will not take “no” for an answer.

Shivering in a shabby loft, struggling to make ends meet, and exploited by the wealthy and powerful collectors Lady Brannoch and Mr Wilmore, Masetto lives for his art, protected only by his muse and love, Zerlina. Their plight becomes increasingly perilous, desperate, and deadly, until at last: revenge.

Madame X is inspired by the Italian operas of Handel and by Jacobean revenge drama. This dark, passionate and obsessive tale is peppered with black humour and explores the potent combination of money and power in the world of art.

Production information is available here (e.g. for receiving houses or promoters)

Premiere

Radius on tour: 21st August 2014 at The Hippodrome Theatre, Todmorden; 22/23 August 2014 at The Square Chapel (Halifax), London Premiere: 25th August 2014 at The Arcola Theatre, London (Grimeborn Festival), RNCM Opera Theatre (Manchester): 25th September 2014

Duration

1 hour 50 minutes (Act 1: 1 hour, Act 2: 50 minutes)

Instrumentation

9 singers (5 principals), flute, clarinet, string quartet, harpsichord doubling chamber organ

Reviews

There have been many favourable reviews for Madame X; the Madame X reviews are available here

“Tim Benjamin refreshingly provided an opera that succeeds in sustaining interest over nearly two hours ... The fluent, well-crafted score offers some striking moments” — Opera, November 2014
“The score is beautifully composed and has many delicious flavours and shades” — A Younger Theatre
“Benjamin directs the opera himself with considerable theatrical flair” — The Guardian

Watch

Here are three short scenes from the opera on video:

Downloads