The Cloak and Dagger Affair
“Brave and baffling new operatic worlds”. “At its best, the short opera festival offered sophisticated glimpses of the future of the genre… Edward Lambert’s adaptation and setting of a Lorca play in the Music Troupe’s The Cloak and Dagger Affair for three voices and piano was more musically sophisticated, exploiting the physical exertions demanded by extravagant ornamentation to create a score whose eroticism was often visceral.”
(The Guardian, 09/08/2018)
“…Edward Lambert’s beautiful melodic writing, with some particularly rapturous trios. Inspired by Lorca’s use of eighteenth century music in his original, Lambert translates the play into a bel canto opera, including three lyrical erotic songs in Spanish. While the music offers much in the way of loveliness, and it’s an entertaining listen, the opaqueness of the narrative leaves the ending perplexing…”
“More traditional in form and presentation, perhaps, or at least differently allusive to opera’s past, Edward Lambert’s The Cloak and Dagger Affair, based upon his own adaptation from Lorca’s Amor de Don Perlimplín con Belisa en su jardin… intriguingly offered elements (at least) of bel canto vocal writing to vie with a more ‘modern’ idiom in his piano writing (and playing), showing us, not unlike Stravinsky, that the smallest changes can sometimes have one listen in a very different way indeed. Pulcinella perhaps inevitably came to mind as this re-imagination of a re-imagination of the commedia dell’arte worked not inconsiderable magic. Excellent performances, once again, from all concerned.”
The Art of Venus
✩✩✩✩ “Packing all the punches - As a feminist call to arms, The Art of Venus may chill the stomachs of an audience with its visceral punch, but it’s undeniably timely and relevant. Edward Lambert’s score felt sumptuously melodic, as well as busily fresh, with strong, intensely written passages building to moments of euphoric surprise. I walked out feeling as though my head had just been dipped in an ice-cold bucket of gin and tonic: shaken, astonished, and utterly exhilarated.”
The Oval Portrait
“Bite-sized operas go down a treat - The music itself is a riveting kaleidoscope of different textures and colours… Such was the span of the narrative that most of us hardly breathed for the duration.”
(Newbury Weekly News)
“...the delivery (was) compellingly urgent. The Book’s polyphonic opening - rather like a Renaissance motet - was controlled and the entries clear. The homophonic repetitions emphasising the painter’s neglect of his young bride as she sat in the dark turret for many weeks while his gaze was fixed on his easel - he did not see that “the light in that lone turret/ Withered the health and spirits of his bride who pined visibly to all but him.” - became increasingly disturbing, and confirmed Lambert’s effective text-setting.”
(Claire Seymour, Opera Today)
Opera With A Title
“Came to your opera the other night - by the way was really cool ! Having never been to an opera before… this was completely different to how I expected - even down to the singing style… I enjoyed it a lot because of this. The way I look at opera has definitely been altered. I would approach other pieces with an open mind and a view that opera is in fact a flourishing and contemporary art form.”
The Catfish Conundrum
“Brilliantly bonkers, thought-provoking satire. A Festival highlight for me.”
(@lovearhyme at Tête à Tiete Festival, 10/08/2014)
“There is a sublime moment when the catfish sings a prayer – ‘Sanctus’ – while resigning herself to her fate, her pretty voice barely a whisper over the strings’ rippling accompaniment.”
(Francesca Wickers, Fringe Opera)
"...a rather quirky and entertaining piece which had a very real point to make. Lambert's music is tonal but complex, there are tunes but the music never talked down to you. His vocal lines sounded interesting but singable. There was something of process music about his instrumental writing, he liked setting up figures and letting them run, but he managed to get some remarkably fascinating and complex textures from his quite minimal forces. Performances were admirable, and all the singers had great charm and stage presence, bringing off their various roles and creating a quirkily entertaining ensemble, but one with a point."
“…a mesmerising performance of this short opera … had the audience transfixed.”
(Newbury Weekly News)
The Visit to the Sepulchre
“…a musical delight but a dramatic one too. This wonderful, original score drew the audience in from the start and we relished being swept along on that very journey,,, an uplifting and unforgettable evening.”
(Newbury Weekly News)
Six characters in search of an stage
✩✩✩✩ "Bite sized opera strikes gold... An impressive debut with all the ingredients of a full length opera... all played out in just 55 minutes, This rich mix of interlocking characters bring their theatrical performances to an intense climax of pain and despair. There is much to commend this lively production..."
"Lambert's music ...is always strongly directional and full of emotion... This was a fabulous piece of theatre... great entertainment, thought-provoking and not too long, presented to a very high standard."
(Newbury Weekly News)
✩✩✩✩✩ "This short opera succeeds in holding the attention of the audience due to its fast pace, stylish production...and Lambert's strikingly lively score".
(Jill Barlow on Planet Hugill)
All in the Mind
The large cast of over a hundred represented 30 local schools and included primary schoolchildren who had been given bursary support to enable them to take part. And this company likes a challenge. Edward Lambert’s score and libretto are certainly demanding for the young singers, even more so than previous productions I have attended…The writing is tonally complex, often with large leaps in the melodies for the singers to negotiate.
(Marion Friend, April 2005)
What an ambitious project! It was really encouraging to see so many young people clearly enjoying themselves.
(Rodney Slatford, Yorke Trust)
The amazing energy, vitality and enthusiasm of all concerned enabled W11 Opera to triumph yet again. Plenty of adults would have been defeated by such tricky music, but the deep well of musicianship that your precious outfit has nurtured has meant that the children were able to take the difficult score in their stride and deliver a fabulous evening… Visually All in the Mind was stunning… and altogether the effect of the piece on me was of delight and exhilaration. Dr (Robert Asher)
The opera was amazingly ambitious! Very difficult music, but what an experience for those kids to get to perform something like that. The Earthling chorus was wonderful, as was Nic, and there were some superb moments in it. A beautiful production and marvellous orchestration. Quite fascinating to see…
The Button Moulder
"Lambert has drawn on a variety of musical styles... there are twists and turns of folk music, evocative yet never quite definable; there is the pounding pulse of rock, the melodic parallels and earthy rhythms of the Middle Ages. There is a full battery of percussion and electronic keyboards... to say that the project is a far-reaching community effort is to give little idea of the flair and professionalism with which the cast carry off this fully-fledged opera... there are ritual dances, too, nearly always allied to the production's most memorable set pieces... well worth the booking."
"Ibsen's everyman lends itself naturally to the persona of the boastful self-centered teenager. But Lambert's opera... turned out to be far from the narrow contemporary morality it so easily could have become... the opera's strength lay in the toughness and economy with which it used its disparate resources... the sung dialogue was lithe and muscular, floating free of accompaniments as rich and varied as Ibsen's verse. Duets and ensembles were uncompromisingly written, and there was as much work for a recorder beginner as for a violin virtuoso. [Dances] contributed to the work's own powerful pacing...the evening's undoubted coup de théåtre is the madhouse scene... a manic impressario/dictator puts his cast of drop-outs, intellectuals and artists through a series of turns as chilling in their movement as in their music."
... a pretty impressive accomplishment...the entire cast seemed to pulsate...the asylum which had all the trappings of a lethal TV game show let students deal with topics that have some depth...opens up the world of opera to students. ..what was most enjoyable was watching young people take so enthusiastically to an admittedly difficult art form.
(The Press and Bulletin, Binghamton, USA)
I do not remember a more consistently gripping concert of modern chamber music than the one given by Lontano under Odaline de la Martinez in the Pump Room during the opening weekend of the festival...
David Cairns in the Sunday Times 10/6/84
Edward Lambert’s Chamber Concerto appeared most approachable, with mainly conventional ideas being used to generate excitement from the sheer virtuosity of the ensemble. There was no descent into the cliche common among so many contemporary concertos for orchestra. Interposed among the passages of thematic decoration here were episodes when the ensemble coincided in statements, in octaves, or finally, Stravinskian dance rhythms. Here, above all, in this concert, the playing of the Lontano team was superbly coordinated and gripping.
Meirion Bowen in the Guardian 28/5/84
Edward Lambert’s Chamber Concerto, a new piece, with its mangled trumpet-and-drum fanfares and violent conflicts between striding unison lines for strings and wind was strikingly imagined and very well played.
Nicholas Kenyon in The Times 28/5/84
Edward Lambert's piano quartet "Emplay" … certainly presented in its reworking of ideas from Brahm's Piano Quartet Op. 60 some of the most inventively-textured and syntactically original music of the evening.
Anthony Payne in the Daily Telegraph 28/4/83