Opera / Music Theatre
Karen Wimhurst has a large portfolio of innovative, small scale chamber opera, multimedia works, site specific performance pieces. Intrigued by challenging ,wide ranging subject matters, the composer often creates her own libretto’s drawn from found texts in collaboration with a range of cross disciplinary collaborators. Recent examples include;
"dramatic, compelling, thought provoking and challenging the opera Synthetica is brilliantly conceived for a soprano soloist, a trumpet player, and DJ mixing tracks live by the composer Karen Wimhurst.” Andrew Burns Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Premiered at Tete a Tete Opera festival 2019 NS touring 2021 (C19 dependent!). Composed during residency with the Museum of Design in Plastic. Synthetica is a fractured sung narrative exploring the Midas touch of our times……plastics….so much made possible within the heartbeat of environmental catastrophe.
Operetta for baritone, children’s choir, double bass and piano. Commissioned by WNO, premiere 2006.
Freedom Bread And Peace
A large scale multi media work in collaboration with Arts University Bournemouth, Soundstorm and Bournemouth Arts by the Sea 2015. Small chamber ensemble, choir, marching brass quintet and narrative chorus. Crucial snapshots of the rise and fall of Russian communism presented through a texture of sung and spoken word (drawn from poets of the time and interviews with ordinary people from the communist bloc). These form part of a score which incorporates a wide range of musical references (Russian marches, Ukrainian and Hungarian Gypsy music, the Plastic People rock band, the Internationale etc.).
Experimental, comic circus piece communicating climate change issues
to a family audience. Developed with writer Amanda Boulter and Winchester
University. Trialled Sept. 2009, solar powered Big Top. Touring 2011-13.
Small scale music theatre piece in collaboration with entomologist Peter Smithers, University
of Plymouth, celebrating the life and works of entomologist Miriam Rothschild.
Performances Tete a Tete New Opera Festival 2015. Edinburgh Festival 2015, Fabrications
Festival King College London 2015, Bournemouth University 2016. Commissioned by EVT,
Peninsula Arts, Plymouth University and ENTO 13;
Darwin and the Barnacle
Music theatre piece for baritone and cello as composer in residence, Plymouth University. Collaboration with writer Rebecca Stott and artist Keith McIntyre. Premiere March 2009
Fragility of Flight
Fine art film and soundtrack with artist Keith McIntyre. Conceived on North Uist. Touring with clarinet trio 2008 Western Isles. Poole Study Gallery Oct “08; Plymouth Darwin Festival 2009. Grant from the Scottish Arts Council
The 4k Plot
Experimental fine art/music/dance collaboration with accordionist Karen Tweed, artist Keith McIntyre and dancer, Kerry Fletcher. Opened at the Baltic Galleries, Newcastle November 2004. Commissioned by the Sage Gateshead and the PRS foundation. Album release Dec. 2005.