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The Prometheus Revolution

Composer Keith Burstein showcases
his subversive opera about revolution alongside the
UK Labour Party's annual conference

 

Radical opera The Prometheus Revolution will be screened for first time in Brighton, UK next week, running alongside the 2019 Labour Party conference. The thought-provoking work composed by Keith Burstein asks what would happen if the passionate pursuit of justice collided with the forces of war and greed.

Set in the near future, The Prometheus Revolution opens with the UK in meltdown in the aftermath of the fascistic Prime Minister and his wife taking poison, soon replaced by another shadowy authority figure. When two trillion pounds go missing from the City of London, the army is poised to take control of the anticipated mayhem. It shows a country in meltdown as the forces of war and greed give way to the new values of humanity and compassion, but also the likely price that will be paid by the peaceful revolutionaries as an implacable establishment resists.

A scene from Keith Burstein's 'The Prometheus Revolution'
A scene from Keith Burstein's 'The Prometheus Revolution'

Composer and long term outspoken Labour party member Keith Burstein sees his creation as throwing down the gauntlet to the Labour Party of what a real revolution would look like - the complete inversion of values from war and greed to humanity and compassion - and the sacrifice that would be made as an implacable establishment resists. This first screening of The Prometheus Revolution will be shown in Brighton, a stone's through away from the political gathering, on the night before Jeremy Corbyn's speech.

Initially inspired by the 2012 Occupy Movement's 99% versus the 1% ideology, in the years following the financial crash, when social equality was thrown into the spotlight, Burstein feels the opera is particularly relevant in this time of political turmoil surrounding Brexit.

Following his controversial sensation Manifest Destiny, a dystopian tale of suicide bombers renouncing violence, composer and librettist Keith Burstein believes The Prometheus Revolution is a compelling message from a Labour Party member to the Labour Party.

Keith Burstein says:

This is an opera that imagines a revolution in Britain now - in a country sinking into political and social chaos. What would happen if the fraying consensus of our society broke down and a peace movement stepped into centre stage when a City financier takes two trillion pounds out of the City and transfers it into the Peace Movement's bank account? The opera holds up a mirror to Labour, saying this is what would really happen if the values you claim to espouse were really implemented.

While the setting of the opera is fraught with politics, the libretto deals with human emotion and subverts the expectation that contemporary opera must be dissonant and non-melodic, disrupting the status quo with rich harmonic textures and beautiful melodies.

Described by The Telegraph as 'an ardent new romantic post-modernist', Burstein composes uniquely tonal music, reflecting his optimism for the future of humanity. Founder of ensemble The Grosvenor Group, Burstein originally started out as a conductor before taking up composition full time at the age of thirty and has garnered the support of such illustrious figures as Arvo Pärt and Vladimir Ashkenazy.

Keith Burstein conducting the Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra
Keith Burstein conducting the Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra

This film is a recording of the world premiere performance of the opera, taken live from the Arcola Theatre Production in 2018.

The event will begin at 7pm on Tuesday 24th September 2019 and is free of charge. The venue is Verdict Jazz, 159 Edward Street, Brighton BN2 0JB, UK. The film will be subtitled in English for audibility and will be preceded by a short introductory talk by the composer. Proceedings conclude by 9pm.

Posted 21 September 2019 by Anna Beketov

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