Sunday, July 29, 2012

John Drummond, Composer

We are bashing his notes, but who is John Drummond?

John Drummond is the Blair Professor of Music at the University of Otago, but compositions such as The Journey Home are among the many facets of his musical activities in the community.

This year, he achieved the unattainable – he made sense of the text of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro for audiences. In a sensitive (and humanitarian) reworking of the oratory sections into English, he found the thread that binds the lyrics into a comprehensible whole, something that was missing from the four-hour marathon I sat through at the Met a few years ago.

His opera Larnach (words and music) based on the life of William Larnach was a work of great importance musically and in the community’s appreciation of the creator of Larnach’s Castle. His other full length operas have included Plague upon Eyam (a story of the Great Plague, to a text by Patrick Little), The Birds (composed to his own libretto, based on the comedy by Aristophanes) and The Stars in Orion (a story of the Otago goldfields, again with a text by Patrick Little).

Prof Drummond was born in Lancaster in England in 1944. He graduated from Leeds University with BA Hons (First Class) and B Mus, and went on to complete his PhD at Birmingham University. He joined the staff of the University of Otago in 1976. For Sirius Opera in Wellington, Prof Drummond has composed shorter salon operas to libretti by Jeremy Commons.

The world premiere of The Journey Home marks the centenary of Captain Robert Falcon Scott's ill-fated expedition to the Antarctic. It will be given as part of Southern Sinfonia’s concert “Tales of Ice and Fire” on 8 September 2012, the third of the orchestra's International Series concerts. The oratorio will be conducted by Simon Over and feature soprano Jenny Wollerman, tenor James Rodgers, baritone Robert Tucker and the City of Dunedin Choir.

Written by Scott Blackwell

Tickets for the Tales Ice and Fire concert on 8 September are already on sale - get yours now at the Regent ticket office, or online at TicketDirect.

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