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Female Grief, Sacrifice and Heroism

Announcing the release of 'iGIRL', a new electronic opera by Roger Doyle with libretto by Marina Carr


Irish label Silverdoor announces the Friday 6 August 2021 international release of iGirl, a new electronic opera by Irish composer Roger Doyle. A limited Irish and English release occurred on 26 June 2021. iGirl was written by Roger Doyle in collaboration with playwright Marina Carr. Called 'The Godfather of Irish Electronic Music', Doyle's first electronic opera Heresy based on the life of Giordano Bruno, the sixteenth century philosopher who was burned at the stake for heresy had its premiere in Dublin in 2018 to wide critical acclaim.

Doyle composed his second electronic opera, iGirl, in a two-act series of twenty-four tableaux. The work is inhabited by mythological and historical characters including Joan of Arc, Antigone, Jocasta and Oedipus, as well as two narrators - one, a woman living in contemporary times: the other describing humanity's base desires and the ruthless survival of the fittest. iGirl was written and recorded in Roger Doyle's Renvyle Studio in County Wicklow, Ireland.

In the composer's words: 'There is no live orchestra. The singers are hand-picked as I wanted trained non-traditional classical singers, ie vocalists who sing with little or no vibrato. The score makes use of new music software creating, at times, an epic virtual orchestra, and at other times is heavily percussive evoking ancient and modern worlds. iGirl explores female grief, sorrow and sacrifice, and explores themes which are highly relevant in contemporary society, culture and politics.'

Playwright Marina Carr often writes about dark, unsavory characters. Carr told The Guardian, 'The moral police will be the death of art. Political correctness is destroying our literature and our poetry. There is a place for the moral high ground, but it is not art. You can't have the thought police looking over your shoulder when you are writing a play. You have to let the characters have their say. Plays are written with the imagination, not with the head.'

iGIRL, Acts 1 and 2
iGIRL, Acts 1 and 2

Roger Doyle was born in Dublin and studied composition on scholarships at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, the Institute of Sonology at the University of Utrecht and the Finnish Radio Experimental Music Studio. Roger Doyle is known for his pioneering work as a composer of electronic music. He has worked extensively in theatre, film and dance, in particular with the music-theatre company Operating Theatre, which he co-founded with performer Olwen Fouéré. Babel, Doyle's magnum opus, which took ten years to compose, was released on a five-CD set in 1999 and contained 103 pieces of music. Other works include a piano score for the Gate Theatre production of Salomé, directed by Steven Berkoff, which played in Dublin, London's West End and on three world tours. He has been commissioned by and toured with the Netherlands Wind Ensemble. Recent work includes the three-hour electronic work Passades, a series of soundtracks for imaginary films -  a 'cinema for the ear' - for the National Symphony Orchestra and The Crash Ensemble.  The Curious Works Of Roger Doyle has recently been screened at various film festivals. The composer's first electronic opera, Heresy, is based on the life and work of Giordano Bruno who was burnt at the stake in 1600 as a heretic. The highly acclaimed work, directed by Eric Fraad, was premiered at the Project Arts Centre, Dublin in 2016, and was released on a double album in 2018 on Heresy Records.

Marina Carr is an Irish playwright who has written nearly thirty plays. She often writes about human tragedy, and her work often takes its inspiration from classical texts. By the Bog of Cats, from 1998, is perhaps her best known play, and was revived in 2014 in London. Carr was born in County Offaly and was educated at University College Dublin. Her works include a take on Lorca's Blood Wedding, an adaptation of Anna Karenina, By the Bog of Cats, The Map of Argentina, Phaedra Backwards, Portia Coughlan, The Mai, Ullaloo, This Love Thing and The Deer Surrender. When a revival of her play On Raftery's Hill received backlash for depicting a scene of incestuous rape, Carr told The Guardian, 'The moral police will be the death of art. Political correctness is destroying our literature and our poetry. There is a place for the moral high ground, but it is not art. You can't have the thought police looking over your shoulder when you are writing a play. You have to let the characters have their say. Plays are written with the imagination, not with the head.'

Olwen Fouéré (Spoken Antigone) is an actress and writer/director in theatre, film and visual arts. Fouéré works internationally in English and French with numerous appearances at the Abbey Theatre, the Gate Theatre in Ireland, the Royal National Theatre in London, the Bouffes du Nord in Paris, at Brooklyn Academy of Music New York, Sydney Theatre Company Australia and Shakespeare Theatre Company, DC. In 1980 she formed Operating Theatre, an avant-garde theatre company with composer Roger Doyle. She later established TheEmergencyRoom for the development of projects which have included the internationally acclaimed RIVERRUN (her adaptation of the voice of the river in James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake). Projects in 2021 include 'Violet Gibson, the woman who shot Mussolini' directed by Barrie Dowdall, 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' directed by David Blue Garcia and 'The Northman' by Robert Eggers.

Caitríona O'Leary (Joan of Arc) has recorded twenty-five critically acclaimed albums with her band Dúlra. Her recording of The Wexford Carols for the Heresy label - producer Joe Henry, guest artists Tom Jones, Rosanne Cash, Rhiannon Giddens and Dónal Lunny - reached No 1 on Billboard.  Caitríona has worked closely with many of early music's leading artists and has toured and performed at leading theatres, concert halls and festivals around the world. In 2021 she stars in a new film The Island of Saints with her medieval/jazz ensemble Anakronos and features on The Wexford Carols Vol 2, produced by Ethan Johns with Alison Balsom, Seth Lakeman, Stile Antico and others.

Irish soprano Daire Halpin is based in London. A graduate in Music and Philosophy from Trinity College, Daire Halpin's operatic engagements have included several world premieres: including Julia in Torsten Rasch's The Duchess of Malfi (English National Opera), Hilde in Craig Armstrong's The Lady from the Sea (Scottish Opera), and Hulda in Raymond Deane's The Alma Fetish with Wide Open Opera and the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland.

Camilla Grieshel (sung Antigone) has been singing since she was five years old. In a desire to engage with the live music culture of Ireland she formed the band 'Dogtail Soup' playing regularly in Ireland and Eastern Europe. 2018 saw the launch of Mamasongue, Camilla's two-hour stage show. The show is performed in five languages and weaves stories of magic and mystery in between tangos and lullabies, gospel and blues, laughter and tears.

Musician, performer and visual artist Bláthnaid Conroy Murphy (Narrator, Joan of Arc's Mother) lives in Dublin and trained as a classical pianist and singer. She also plays bass guitar, guitar and bodhrán. While residing in Sydney, Australia, she performed as a musician, singer and dancer, touring the world in the children's group 'The Wiggles'. In Ireland she was a member of the choral group Anúna, and also played with the Sun Collective, an ensemble of freelance musicians based between Dublin and London.

Aimee Banks is a soprano from Galway, Ireland. She was launched onto the international stage after being chosen to represent Ireland at The Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2015, in Sofia, Bulgaria. She has performed on some of Ireland's most impressive stages including The National Concert Hall and The Convention Centre Dublin.

Further information about iGIRL:

Posted 11 July 2021 by Helen Kamioner




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