Colours’ is an exclusive performance featuring the words of Laura-Jane Foley so we caught up with her to find out what audiences can expect. 

Laura Jane Foley

Laura Jane Foley

How we met

I first met the composer and conductor Dimitri Scarlato in 2011. The Royal Opera House used to have a contemporary programming wing called ROH2 which was led by former prima ballerina now cultural facilitator Deborah Bull. The Royal Opera ran a scheme in house to develop new opera work by enabling creative connections between librettists and composers.

Every few years a small number of composers and librettists came together for several weeks over the course of a year to develop new ideas. I was invited onto the scheme in 2011 and I made some fun work and made some good friends. I wasn’t paired with Dimitri then and despite forming a friendship it has taken us nearly seven years to finally work together. But when Dimitri approached me for this project I was thrilled to work with him. Like me he’s combined an academic career with a practical one. He’s worked in film (he even taught Michael Caine to conduct for the film ‘Youth’) worked as a musical director in the theatre and completed a PhD at the Royal College of Music.

The idea

I’ve always been interested in the interplay between word and image. I read English and History of Art at Cambridge and my PhD focused on ekphrasis (poetry about art) so ‘Colours’ was an immediately attractive project.

Dimitri created a series of compositions inspired by colours and asked me to respond to his work poetically. It’s a fascinating project. Colour can stir strong feelings within us and yet really it’s all about science – how the eye perceives what the object reflects. Do we see the same thing? How do we know if your red is my red? It’s all about perception. At least in this project surely we must all ‘hear’ the same red!

Working relationship

I’m quite laid-back in collaborative work. I like to do my work, hand it over and let the composer edit it as they wish. I’m not precious. I’m happy to work into things if that’s what they want. I take my lead from them. Because I have to be honest and say I think the music is the far more important element. I’m a musician so I think this is why I feel as I do. I know many writers who think very differently to me. Also, I should add, lest anyone should think I’m a pushover, I’m not quite so easy going when actors try to edit my plays in the rehearsal room!

‘Colours’ an exclusive performance by the composer on the ‘piano featuring the words of Laura-Jane Foley with Yuriy Chubarenko on accordion and Agnieszka Teodorowska on ‘cello at Hoxton Hall on July 11th at 7.30pm