The Furthering


- Instrumentation: -

vocal soloists

- Duration: -

Approximately 70 minutes.

- Score: -

Available from composer - please enquire.

- Premieres/Performances: -

The first act of ‘The Furthering’ was performed at Battersea Arts Centre, London, 2002, directed by Stewart Lee and with the composer as pianist.

- Composer’s comments: -

A collaboration between a stand-up comedian and a composer on a "serious" opera might at first seem improbable - but I knew from several years of acquaintance with Stewart Lee that he was someone who had the widest and most intense interest in the contemporary arts, had a fine aesthetic eye, and was also somewhat ingenious at stagecraft. Since he had shown great empathy with my work it was a natural link.

The science-fiction scenario of the opera had haunted me for while. It is set in the far future, at a time when the extra-terrestrial ‘Visitors’ have arrived at ‘The Curtain’, the great force field protecting Earth. The ‘Gains’ (who have been the ruling caste on Earth for the previous thousand years) vow to save the planet from the intrusion. The Furtherers are the rebellious tribe who know that in order for humanity to be “furthered” it must come into contact with these higher beings. A civil war between these two tribes is in full flood. Against this background, the drama unfolds.

Only the first half was ever staged. This took place at Battersea Arts Centre in London, in a piano-only version with singers. Using zero resources, Stewart’s staging was nonetheless brilliant (although I barely saw any of it, as I was kept busy with playing the piano).

Seven years later, I have begun integrating this rump of an opera into a new opera trilogy called ‘Revolution E’.

- Keith Burstein, 19th November 2009



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