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Oxford Contemporary Opera Society: UK Premiere of Gavin Bryars’ ‘Marilyn Forever’

May 25, 2019 @ 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

|Recurring Event (See all)

One event on May 24, 2019 at 8:00 pm

One event on May 25, 2019 at 8:00 pm

£9.50 – £20

*Pre-concert talk 22.5, 6.30-7: composer Gavin Bryars, librettist Marilyn Bowering and director Zerlina Vulliamy

Tickets £9.50 (students), £20 Tel. 01865 305305 (Tickets Oxford)


The Oxford Contemporary Opera Society was founded in 2018 by 2nd year Oxford University Music student Zerlina Vulliamy at Exeter College, with the objective to perform more contemporary opera in Oxford, as well as encouraging students to have greater interaction with opera. They will perform Marilyn Forever, a chamber opera written by Gavin Bryars with libretto by Marilyn Bowering about the life of Marilyn Monroe, focussing on her last hours, premiered in 2013.  This will not only be the inaugural production of the Oxford Contemporary Opera Society, but the UK Premiere of the opera, directed by the Founder President, Zerlina Vulliamy and conducted by Charlotte Corderoy, 2nd year Music student at Hertford College. The cast and instrumental ensemble will feature some of the finest performers in Oxford.

Marilyn Monroe is a fascinating, complex character whose multi-faceted aspects are explored in this opera. Artistically, the aim is to convey not only the public nature of her life which has inspired countless art, but also to give the audience insight into the emotional and sometimes troubling private life she led. Given the current climate of increasing awareness given to women in Hollywood, the production recognises the incredible work done by those like Marilyn Monroe as well as an attempt to signify the sensitive matter of possible abuse and sexism. The score is complex and multi-layered in its inclusion of jazz music as well as having a melancholic, lamenting element to the writing, often placed in lower instruments so that the voice of Marilyn soars above the ensemble.

The three performances take place at the Jacqueline du Pré Music Building, a hub of contemporary music in Oxford, known for championing contemporary opera projects. Oxford Contemporary Opera are grateful to the JdP for acting as a partner in the project, offering venue support in kind, ticket sales and publicity and to other supporters including the RVW Trust, Music Faculty of the University of Oxford, Exeter and St Anne’s College JCRs. There is also an upcoming crowdfunding campaign. Oxide Radio’s music documentary show ‘Behind the Classics’ with Zerlina Vulliamy, will discuss Marilyn Forever in one of their Sunday programmes 11-12am www.oxideradio.live/behind-the-classics

OCOS aims to put on an annual production of an opera written within the last 100 years, as well as helping to co-ordinate and perform opera devised by the students of Oxford University. The next project takes place in November.

Further information, please contact Zerlina Vulliamy, email: zerlinavulliamy@aol.com


May 25, 2019
8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
£9.50 – £20
Event Category:


Jacqueline du Pre Music Building, St Hilda’s College
Cowley Place
Oxford, OX4 1DY United Kingdom
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01865 286660