Music: Charlotte Bray
Libretto: Amy Rosenthal
Duration c. 40’
Instrumentation soprano, tenor, baritone, flute, clarinet, percussion, violin, cello, double bass
First Performance 6 July 2015, Cheltenham Music Festival, Cheltenham, UK; George Vass conductor, Kirsty Hopkins soprano, Howard Croft baritone, Greg Tassell tenor, Nova Music Opera Ensemble
Commissioned by Nova Music Opera
27.8.15 Presteigne Festival, St Andrew’s Church, Presteigne, Wales, Nova Music Opera, Kirsty Hopkins soprano, Howard Croft baritone, Greg Tassell tenor
17.06.16 LSO St Luke’s, London; Nova Music Opera, George Vass conductor
The gripping story of Ruth Ellis and her entangled life with racing-car driver David Blakely and lonely businessman Desmond Cussen is one that needs to be told. Love, romance, anguish, and abuse- the tragic story itself has all the drama needed to create a gripping and powerful opera. Timeless and universal in many regards, especially with the debate over capital punishment continuing today.
In the summer of 1953, nightclub manageress Ruth Ellis meets two men with whose lives her own will be fatally intertwined. As lonely businessman Desmond Cussen loses his heart to her, so Ruth loses hers to troubled racing-car driver David Blakely, with whom she spirals into a violent and obsessive co-dependence. Set amidst the grubby glamour of London in the Fifties, Entanglement charts two years in the lives of the trio as they are driven towards their tragic destiny – and the act that will see Ruth Ellis defined forever as the last woman to be hanged in Britain.