Music Theatre Wales is currently receiving astonishing reviews for our latest production – THE KILLING FLOWER by Salvatore Sciarrino. I think this is an exceptional work, staged in a way that should appeal to NTW audiences, so I wanted to write about it here. Why?

  • It’s based on the highly charged story of composer-cum-murderer Gesualdo
  • The audience sits inside Simon Banham’s design (he also designed The Persians and Coriolan/us), right alongside the singers and musicians. This is intimate, immersive theatre at its most intense, where you can scrutinise every gesture and hear every delicate sound.
  • Sciarrino’s music is utterly original – a magical, whispered score for voices and tiny gestures and noises for the orchestra: the sounds of nature, hearts beating, a hushed cobweb of sighs and whispers, not a note or a breath wasted.


I think The Killing Flower is an extraordinary and unique theatrical work, and I believe we have found an expectation-breaking way of performing it that turns opera into something utterly new and different.


For me, this has been an amazing journey. I first discovered the piece around 8 years ago and bit by bit it has worked its way into my soul. I knew we had to find a way to stage it that took its theatrical language to a place that responded to its musical innovation. Simon Banham and I have worked together for over 30 years, constantly searching for ways to reduce and refine, to get to the essence of each music theatre piece we create, and this piece has offered us a perfect challenge. If you like your theatre different then try this. It lasts only 70 timeless minutes, so it’s worth a try, and of all our productions, you really do have to “think opera” and then “think again”. You couldn’t get further away from the fat lady….   

The critical response has been incredibly positive, with one or two notable exceptions as you would expect with work that is so uncompromising, but I can’t resist highlighting one we received from The Telegraph, whose critic was almost lost for words, so bewitched was he by the experience.

We have just one performance left – Swansea Grand on 26th November at 7.30 – where the audience will sit on the stage inside a specially built arena.

See for more information and comments

Views: 156

Add a Comment

You need to be a member of National Theatre Wales Community to add comments!

Join National Theatre Wales Community

Comment by polly graham on November 18, 2013 at 20:25

looking forward to it Michael!

image block identification

© 2024   Created by National Theatre Wales.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service