Everest
Composer: Joby Talbot
Composer Bio: Joby Talbot was born in Wimbledon in 1971. He studied composition privately with Brian Elias and at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College before completing a Master of Music (Composition) at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama under Simon Bainbridge. Talbot’s diverse output has included a trumpet concerto for Alison Balsom and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (Desolation Wilderness, 2006); a 60-minute a cappella choral journey along the Camino de Santiago for Nigel Short’s Tenebrae (Path of Miracles, 2005); arrangements of songs by Detroit rock duo The White Stripes alongside existing works for Wayne McGregor’s Chroma (The Royal Ballet, 2006); and, as a co-production between The Royal Ballet and National Ballet of Canada, Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (2011), the first full-length narrative ballet score to be commissioned by The Royal Ballet in 20 years. A second such collaboration with Wheeldon and the same two companies culminated in the 2014 premiere of The Winter's Tale, adapted from Shakespeare's play. Talbot has also written the madrigal The Wishing Tree (The King’s Singers, 2002), the orchestral Sneaker Wave (BBC National Orchestra of Wales, 2004) and an arrangement of Purcell’s Chacony in G minor for the BBC Proms (BBC Symphony Orchestra, 2011). Worlds, Stars, Systems, Infinity was commissioned in 2012 for the Philharmonia Orchestra’s interactive digital installation, Universe of Sound, as an addition to Holst’s The Planets. Tide Harmonic (2009), a work for large ensemble, began life as the score for Eau by choreographer Carolyn Carlson and CCN Roubaix. Other significant works written or adapted for dance include Fool’s Paradise (Christopher Wheeldon and Morphoses, 2007), an arrangement of Talbot’s 2002 silent film score The Dying Swan; Genus (Paris Opera Ballet, 2007); Entity (Wayne McGregor and Random Dance, 2008); and Chamber Symphony for Chamber by choreographer Medhi Walerski (Residentie Orkest/Nederlands Dans Theater and Norwegian Opera and Ballet, 2012). Talbot has considerable experience writing for the screen, including BBC Two’s comedy series The League of Gentlemen and feature films The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005), Son of Rambow (2007), Franklyn (2008) and Closed Circuit (2013). For Hunky Dory (2011), he developed orchestral arrangements of pop songs with the film's young musicians, alongside writing the largely electronic score. In 2013, Talbot premiered Genus Quartet with the Calder Quartet, Meniscus with the National Centre for the Performing Arts, Beijing, and a new version of Tide Harmonic for Christopher Wheeldon and Pacific Northwest Ballet, as well as seeing international revivals of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Chamber, Chroma, Path of Miracles and Worlds, Stars, Systems, Infinity. Following the premiere of The Winter's Tale in April 2014, Talbot began work on the new one-act piece Everest for Dallas Opera, to premiere in 2015.
Librettist: Gene Scheer
Librettist Bio: Mr. Scheer’s work is noted for its scope and versatility. With the composer Jake Heggie he has collaborated on a number of different projects, including the critically acclaimed 2010 Dallas Opera world premiere, Moby-Dick, starring Ben Heppner as Captain Ahab; Three Decembers (Houston Grand Opera), which starred Frederica von Stade; and the lyric drama To Hell and Back (Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra), which featured Patti LuPone. Other works by Scheer and Heggie include Camille Claudel: Into the fire, a song cycle premiered by Joyce di Donato and the Alexander String Quartet. Mr. Scheer worked as librettist with Tobias Picker on An American Tragedy, which premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in 2005. Their first opera, Thérèse Raquin, written for the Dallas Opera in 2001, was cited by Opera News as one of the ten best recordings of 2002. Other recent collaborations include the lyrics for Wynton Marsalis’s It Never Goes Away, featured in Mr. Marsalis’s work Congo Square. With the composer Steven Stucky, Mr. Scheer wrote the oratorio August 4, 1964. The work, recently nominated for a Grammy, was premiered by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in 2008 and last season was performed by the orchestra, with Japp von Sweeden conducting, at Carnegie Hall. Also a composer in his own right, Mr. Scheer has written a number of songs for singers such as Renée Fleming, Sylvia McNair, Stephanie Blythe, Jennifer Larmore, Denyce Graves, and Nathan Gunn. The distinguished documentary filmmaker, Ken Burns, prominently featured Mr. Scheer’s song “American Anthem” (as sung by Norah Jones) in his Emmy Award-winning World War II documentary for PBS entitled The War.
Premiere Date: January 30, 2015
Description: From the shadows of Mount Everest, the spirits of all those who have died attempting to reach the summit sing to Beck Weathers, who is unconscious on the mountain’s South Col. These ethereal spirits now turn their attention to Rob Hall, the expedition leader and guide, who is just reaching Everest’s highest peak at 2:30 p.m., thirty minutes past the safe turnaround time. Rob sees his client Doug Hansen a mere forty feet below. 

The scene shifts back to Beck Weathers. In his unconscious, dreamlike state, he hallucinates that he is in his backyard enjoying a Texas barbecue. Beck holds court and begins to describe his experiences on Everest. Suddenly, from the edge of Beck’s consciousness, the voice of his daughter Meg sings to him. 

As we see Rob straining to help Doug reach the summit, time stops and Doug sings an aria in which he describes the tormenting deep-seated obsession that has led him to this moment. As Rob takes a picture of Doug, Rob is jarred by the memory of taking pictures of his wife, Jan. 

While Rob endeavors to get his client down from the summit of Everest, we see Beck, lying, delirious, on the South Col. Once again, his daughter calls out to him in vain. From the depths of his consciousness, ruminations on his struggle with profound depression slowly merge with the memory of the events that took place on the climb earlier that same day. 

Rob is increasingly desperate. He has a disabled client on the top of the mountain as the storm begins raging around them both. Jan, Rob’s wife, is contacted and told of her husband’s life-threatening situation. 

Beck, beginning to emerge from his coma, sees the climbers on the South Col huddling together in a frantic attempt to survive the storm. Beck’s internal soliloquy slowly allows him to make sense of what is happening, and to comprehend the cold, hard truth: he is dying. 

In a quartet, Doug, Rob, Jan and Beck sing of their plight. As the quartet concludes, we see Rob desperately trying to get Doug to the South Summit, where he hopes they can make it through the night. 

Beck has finally woken up to the harsh reality that if he is going to be saved, he will need to do it himself. 
Length: 01:15
Total Acts: 1
Contact: Not Available
Composer Web Site: http://jobytalbot.com
Librettist Web Site: http://genescheer.com
Publisher Web Site: http://www.musicsalesclassical.com/composer/work/51141
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