A brand-new opera from visionary composer Sarah Angliss, telling the story of the 18th-century “Irish giant” who was betrayed in the name of science.

“First do no harm”, every doctor says. But what happens when a patient’s body is so extraordinary, his corpse becomes an object of desire – a trophy? Giant tells the true tale of surgeon John Hunter and his obsession with Charles Byrne – a man he would ultimately betray in one of the most disturbing acts in the era of the grave robbers.

Written for five voices, Giant uses 18th-century instruments, live electronics and bespoke music machines as it vividly recalls the events surrounding Byrne’s death: an extraordinary story that resonates through the ages.

Giant is a new opera from composer Sarah Angliss, poet Ross Sutherland and director Sarah Fahie.

World Premiere, Friday 09 June at 7.30pm, preceded by a talk with Sarah Angliss.

Image by Hyemi Shin

Commissioned by Britten Pears Arts in 2018

Karim Sulayman Charles Byrne
Jonathan Gunthorpe
John Hunter
Gweneth Ann Rand Rooker
Héloïse Werner
Madame DuVal/Curator
Melanie Pappenheim Sister Mary/Curator
Steven Beard

Ben Smith
keyboard (leader)
Ian Shaw
Stephen Hiscock
Luciana Elizondo
viola de gamba
Olwen Foulkes
Miguel Sobrinho
Jack Greed
Tiago Soares Silva

Sarah Angliss composer
Ross Sutherland librettist

Sarah Fahie director
Hyemi Shin
set designer
Nicky Gillibrand costume designer
Adam Silverman
lighting designer

Madeleine Allegra Brooks assistant director
Magdalena Seyfried
costume supervisor

Rebecca Maltby company stage manager
Rebecca Snell deputy stage manager
Zach Griffin
assistant stage manager

Callum Finn
production manager
Jacob Shooter
Charlie Jefferies
production LX

Anna Marchitelli
head of wardrobe
Frances Straker
make-up artist
Marc Brenner
production photographer
Amanda Macleod

Poetic... their beauty is pointed and hard-won

The Guardian on the compositions of Sarah Angliss

If you've been affected by the themes in this production, here are some details of organisations that offer advice and support:

Child Bereavement UK
www. childbereavementuk.org
Helpline: 0800 O2 888 40

Helpline 0808 164 3332

For more general bereavement support
Helpline 0808 808 1677