Private View at Beach Creative

Fabulous evening at Beach Creative in Herne Bay last night, at which Nancy Gaffield and Wynn White were In Conversation, talking about their individual as well as their collaborative processes on Tokaido Road.

Wynn’s photographs are currently being exhibited at Beach Creative as one of several events leading up to tomorrow’s performance at The Gulbenkian Theatre in Canterbury, and last night was the opportunity to get up close and personal with both Wynn and his images, as he took the assembled crowd through his creative process, interspersed with Nancy reading from her cycle of poems.

Thank you to Beach Creative for hosting Wynn’s exhibition, and for last night’s In Conversation; it all builds up to tomorrow night’s performance – see you there!

Reviews for ‘Tokaido Road’

We’re delighted to have received a four-star review from Hilary Finch in The Times!

The piece is well paced and meticulously thought through, with spare instrumental lines exquisitely woven with the voices and deftly conducted by Dominic Wheeler.

writingRead the full review here (subscription required).

There’s also a very positive review from Roger Jones on MusicWeb International’s Seen and Heard;

This original and unusual work speaks with an honesty and clarity which I found profoundly moving.

Read the full review online here.

Come and experience Tokaido Road for yourself when it reaches its next stop: Lake District Summer Music on Weds 6 August at 8pm.



In the news: Tokaido Road

In the news: Tokaido Road

With the premiere of Tokaido Road set to take place at the Cheltenham Festival this Sunday, word is clearly starting to spread.

Firstly, this excellent double-page feature in Classical Music, in which composer Nicola LeFanu talks about the piece.


Click to view

And today, we’re delighted to be one of composer Martin Suckling’s new music choices on The Sampler, which you can read online here.

Word up.


Dressed and ready to go

Much excitement in Tokaido Road Towers as we reach the final milestone; a week to go until we premiere at this year’s Cheltenham Festival.

Yesterday, a few of us gathered to watch the dress rehearsal, the final event before we pack up and prepare to head to Cheltenham a week today. Both composer and librettist were present, looking excited, and as the lights dimmed, the figure of an elderly Hiroshige gazed out at us, whilst on-stage the members of Okeanos Ensemble were already seated, ready to play.

Dress rehearsal

Dress rehearsal

I’m not going to give much away about what unfolded next – you’ll just have to find out for yourself at next week’s premiere! – but the next fifty minutes offered a truly enchanting realisation of Nancy’s poems; it’s as if the libretto stretches the original poems out, affording the opportunity to delve deeper beneath the surface and explore a greater narrative nuance.

There are some memorable moments as you follow the young Hiro along the Tokaido Road, some wonderfully exotic soundscapes that Nicola LeFanu has distilled from the multi-instrument-juggling chamber ensemble, enhanced by several unusual instruments (keep an eye out for a particularly macabre percussion instrument that appears later in the piece!).

As the piece ended and the lights faded, there was a sense that we’d been taken to an emotional space that was quite something, in a meeting of Eastern and Western cultures that afforded a small glimpse into various points along Hiroshige’s journey along the Tokaido Road; each of us being led on our own, personal odyssey, writ large across the stage. The combination of Nicola’s shimmering soundworld and Nancy’s hypnotic words opens up an extraordinary landscape for the listener, mapping Hiro’s own travels but opening them out into something much more universal, a potent humanity that speaks to each of us across the years since the original prints captured these fragile instances in the Japanese countryside.

tr_flightcasesNow the production goes into especially-marked flight-cases, ready to embark on its own road to Cheltenham on Sunday 6 July, and various venues thereafter. Join us along The Road, and prepare for a mesmerising experience…