Leo Geyer

composer | conductor

The Mermaid of Zennor 2011

chamber opera

Libretto by Martin Kratz

Written for the Royal Northern College of Music and first performed at the college on the 10th December 2011 directed by Flo Wright and conduced by the composer.

"imaginative and beautifully shaped" 

The Times 

Duration

30' 

 

Roles

WALKER soprano

MOVEREN mezzo-soprano

MATTHEW tenor

Scoring

fl, cl, bsn | hn | 1 perc | vla, db 

Synopsis 

In this modern retelling of the legend, Matthew is washed up on the shore Pendour Cove, Zennor, hundreds of years after the tale was originally said to have taken place. He is caught in a fishing net and has sustained a head injury. Morveren who has been looking for him, finds him unconscious and repeating her name. In the distance, a walker is coming down the coastal path after visiting the local church. Not wanting to be seen, the mermaid hides, but not before pressing some shells into the unconscious Matthew's hands.


The walker wakes Matthew. He has no recollection of how he got to the beach or who he is. In conversation with the walker, he gradually remembers parts of a meeting with someone and fragments of an ancient hymn. Matthew is entranced by the water and the walker is concerned about his state of mind. She is unsure of how to help him and cannot get any signal on her phone. When Matthew appears to have regained some strength, the Walker reluctantly goes to get help from the village above.


The mermaid is hesitant to reveal herself too soon, as she is afraid Matthew might not remember her. Finally, the broken shells in Matthew's hands remind him of the pattern of scales on the mermaid's body. When Morveren does reveal herself, Matthew is taken aback, but eventually regains his full memory of their life together. He picks the mermaid up and carries her away. The walker returns to find a single pair of footprints leading into the sea. It seems that her worst fears have come true and Matthew has given himself up to the water. In her grief she sings the fisherman’s hymn, accompanied by the distant sounds of Morveren and Matthew in the waves.

Availability 

This work is available to hire. Please get in touch to find out more.

Perusal Score

Please note that this music is in copyright and it is illegal to copy or perform from the perusal score. 

Full production video from the Constella OperaBallet's production

Performance History 

19th Aug 2012 - Constella OperaBallet at Tête à Tête Opera Festival

18th Aug 2012 - Constella OperaBallet at Tête à Tête Opera Festival

7th June 2011 - Manchester University Music Society at Cosmo Rodewald Hall 

10th Dec 2011 - Royal Northern College of Music at RNCM