New Opera Explores Dementia & Alzheimer’s

The Lion’s Face, a new opera on the effects of ageing and memory loss, premieres in Brighton, England May 20, 2010, then tours the UK for the summer.  The music is by Elena Langer, and the lyrics by Glyn Maxwell. The creation of the opera involved an intense collaboration with scientists and doctors at the Institute of Psychiatry at Kings College London. This scientific, poetic, and musical project has resulted in a sensitive and accurate portrayal of dementia, expressing the gradual memory loss and its effects on all the characters: the patient, his wife, the care-giver, the care-giver’s daughter, and the doctor.  The only unsung role is the patient’s (played by acclaimed actor Dave Hill), whose spoken dialogue poignantly suggests his gradual loss of communication and language, and the gulf that separates him from the world around him.  This is the synopsis from The Lion’s Face website:

When a man loses his way home it seems a trivial thing, but one which signals an irreversible return to childhood. Compassionate, heartfelt, strikingly dramatic and often witty, this is an original and richly-textured take on ageing, memory and the incomprehension of getting old in the minds of the young.

Learn more about The Lion’s Face from the composer, librettist, and scientists in this short video:

See more details on the opera, cast, and schedule of performances in the UK.

Let’s hope The Lion’s Face eventually crosses the Atlantic, so we can experience this groundbreaking opera in the US.

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