Opera Holland Park has announced a new commission and world premiere for 2023: Itch. described as an operatic thriller with a most unusual hero. Based on Simon Mayo’s bestselling novels Itch and Itch Rocks, composer Jonathan Dove, above, and librettist Alasdair Middleton have been commissioned to create a new opera for Opera Holland Park. Its hero is Itchingham Holte, a teenage scientist on a mission to collect all the elements in the periodic table.
Described as ‘Breaking Bad for kids’ by NPR in America, the Itch books explore the magical properties of the elements through an adventure story of explosive proportions as the young hero tries to outrun a vindictive teacher, a global corporation and a shadowy government agency in his quest to save the world. Dove, whose 1998 opera Flight was produced by Opera Holland Park in 2015, and Middleton, the librettist of five of Dove’s operas, have identified a story “full of intense feelings, which is where opera thrives”, and point to the Nordic legend of The Ring as a parallel adventure of discovery, peril and return – but with science as the source of the magic. Move over, Siegfried. Itch is here!
James Clutton, CEO and Director of Opera Holland Park, said, “I am thrilled to commission a new opera from Jonathan and Alasdair, especially as we emerge from the difficulties of the last two years. When I read Simon’s novel I was immediately struck by the potential to create something truly exciting for the stage. After the great success of our 2013 commission for children, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, it gives me enormous pleasure to be commissioning a work that will appeal to everyone, young and old.”