In January 2014 we presented ‘Various Stages’ - a three-week Research & Development festival of new opera projects in collaboration with the Cultural Institute at King’s and Guildhall School of Music & Drama.
Over the three weeks the festival featured workshops on Mahogany Opera Group’s next touring show, Gloria - A Pigtale by HK Gruber, a participatory Mindfulness opera by Rolf Hind, a re-working of Shostakovich’s Cheryomushki alongside workshops for new pieces by composers Laurence Obsorn, Emily Hall, Ergo Phizmiz and Jamie Man.
One of the aims of the festival was to gather feedback and criticism on the works in progress in order to help shape the pieces as they are developed further. We invited audiences to observe the work-in-progress - including other artists, academics and industry professionals - and to feed-back on what they saw. We incorporated Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process (CRP) - a widely-recognised method that nurtures the development of artistic works-in-progress through a four-step, facilitated dialogue between artists, peers, and audiences.
The project trialled and evaluated the use of CRP, investigating its efficacy in developing new works of opera. We concluded that the CRP process is a very valuable tool, albeit applied with some flexibility, tailoring the process to different situations and types of work.