Roger Doyle's First Opera HERESY to be Released on Heresy Records
On Friday, 9 February, Heresy Records will release Heresy, the first opera by composer Roger Doyle, who is known as "The Godfather of Irish Electronic Music". The album will be released internationally and distributed by Naxos.
The opera was premiered in 2016 as part of the 50th anniversary celebration of Dublin's renowned Project Arts Centre. Heresy centers on the life and works of the 16th century genius Giordano Bruno who was burned at the stake for heresy after a nine-year long trial by the Vatican. The opera is written for five high voices including male soprano, Robert Crowe, 14-year old wunderkind, Aimee Banks, the celebrated early music and traditional music singer, Caitríona O'Leary, soprano, Daire Halpin and Morgan Crowley who sings the role of Bruno amongst others. The orchestration is entirely electronic and the libretto is by Irish playwright and dramaturg Jocelyn Clarke and American director Eric Fraad.
Heresy begins with Bruno teaching his system of magic memory to King Henry III of France and includes scenes with Circe and Sophia, his literary inventions and feminine ideals. Further scenes focus on episodes at the court of Queen Elizabeth I, for whom he was reputed to have spied against the French and Spanish; his trial before the Inquisition, presided over by his nemesis, Cardinal Robert Bellarmine; a hallucinatory scene in his prison cell the night before he is burned at the stake where he is visited by himself as a young boy, Circe and Sophia, and James Joyce; his death by fire and his apotheosis among the cosmos.
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 actress Olwen Fouéré. Babel, his magnum opus, composed over a ten-year period, was released on a 5-CD set in 1999. Other works include an onstage piano score for The Gate Theatre production of Salomé that was directed by Steven Berkoff and which played in Dublin, London's West End and on three world tours, and various recordings and performance collaborations with the Netherlands Wind Ensemble.
Recent compositions include a series of soundtracks for imaginary films for the National Symphony Orchestra and Crash Ensemble. In 1997 he won the Programme Music Prize and in 2007 the Magisterium Award at the Bourges International Electro-Acoustic Music Competition. He is a member of Aosdána, Ireland's state-sponsored academy of creative artists, and Adjunct Professor at Trinity College, Dublin.
For anyone who dares to voice dangerous ideas and risk imprisonment or exile, Giordano Bruno remains a hero and a martyr for free speech and the right to challenge authority, dogma and orthodoxy. Giordano Bruno, named Filippo Bruno and called the Nolan, (born 1548, Nola, near Naples-burned at the stake February 17, 1600, Campo dei Fiori, Rome) was an Italian renaissance philosopher, priest, professor, playwright, spy and occultist whose theories anticipated modern science. For his championing of Copernicus and his cosmological speculations Johannes Kepler called him the "Defender of Infinity". Amongst his forward-thinking ideas was a prefiguration of quantum theory, a belief in the existence of infinite inhabited planets revolving around infinite sun-like stars and that the universe had no center. His writings influenced works by Shakespeare, Molière and James Joyce for whom Bruno remained a lifelong hero.
Heresy Records is an independent record label based in Dublin, Ireland (www.heresyrecords.com). Heresy focuses on art music from a number of styles including early music, contemporary classical, electronic music, world music, traditional music and folk. Its recording of The Wexford Carols featuring singers Caitríona O'Leary, Tom Jones, Rosanne Cash and Rhiannon Giddens reached #1 on the Billboard and Amazon charts in 2015. Heresy is distributed by The Naxos Group of Companies. Its sister label, New York-based Isotopia Records, specializes in popular music.