Based on Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and music from Mozart, Scriabin and Brahms.
Music performance and theatre company, Concert Theatre, bring to life Anne Brontë’s groundbreaking work The Tenant of Wildfell Hall with a woman’s valiant struggle for independence and creative freedom. In an innovative hybrid concert-theatre form, a live pianist and two actors tell the moving story through music and speech in a modern gallery setting.
Scriabin’s perplexed harmony introduces the mysterious tenant settling at the Wildfell Hall. The protagonist’s innocent youth is narrated colourfully with Mozart’s music. The violin sonata is played by the piano with the actor as a duet between the piano sound and spoken English. Still overlapping with Mozart, however, Brahms’ Rhapsody changes the tune of life to the unfortunate marriage.
Music and drama collide to offer new perspectives on Brontë’s radical feminist text through three composer’s works; Scriabin’s 24 Preludes, Mozart’s Violin Sonata No. 26 and Brahms’ Rhapsody.
“Bravura performances from both, May Smith and Bonger lace this quintessentially feminist tale with gentle sentiment, tugged heartstrings and raging despair” **** Stage Talk Magazine
“we are used to music being a part of performance, particularly with dance where the music is integral to the piece – but the way Concert Theatre combine the two is intriguing.[…] Concert Theatre aspires to the condition of the artist, meaning the creative expression of ideas through any art form.” Exeunt Magazine
“Chang’s production was imaginatively and resourcefully acted by Emily Smith May, as the plucky Helen and Martin Bonger, switching convincingly from gentle Gilbert Markham to the abusive and alcoholic Arthur Huntingdon.[…] In The Tenant, theatre seemed to have the upper hand but the production revealed tantalizing – and very promising – glimpses as to what a true hybrid genre could 6look and sound like. “ The Cusp Magazine
“An-Ting Chang, who is just completing her PhD in Performance Practice at the Royal Academy of Music, seems to be endlessly creative. Her combination of classical music and theatre is unique and elicits the maximum effect and enjoyment from both.” Classical Journey
Financial Times features The Tenant and interviews An-Ting Chang:
A grand piano stands centre stage. A woman sits at the keyboard and launches into one of Mozart’s sonatas for violin and piano. It looks like an ordinary concert, except for one thing: the violinist is Awol. Whenever the pianist plays a phrase of the sonata, she is answered by an actor, who, through tone of voice and physical gesture, mimics the emotional contours of the missing violin part. The result is both an unusual piece of theatre and an unusual take on Mozart… (Read more)
Read the new music magazine, The Cusp, interviewing Concert Theatre artistic director, An-Ting Chang about The Tenant:
When An-Ting Chang launched Concert Theatre, it was the realisation of a dream to blend music and theatre, which she felt are treated too separately. She saw the opportunity to create an exciting project fully combining the two, creating one form of expression. Too often we hear music in the background of a play, between scenes or to illustrate a dance routine on stage, rather than the music being intertwined with the action.
‘I love classical music, but the concert form is a bit stiff’, says Chang, ‘the performer comes in, bows, performs and the audience claps… (Read more)
Director: An-Ting Chang
Writer: Jessica Macdonald
Designer: Wang Jing
Costume Designer: Pam Tait
Pianist: Diana Brekalo
Actors: Emily Smith May, Martin Bonger
Movement Director: Ben Hadley
Producer: Ruth Holdsworth
Marketing Manager: Jo Richardson
Production Manager: Casey Howell
26-27 April: Kings Weston House (Bristol)
28 April: National Portrait Gallery (London)
30 April: Drill Hall (Chepstow)
23 May: Bury St Edmunds Festival
24 May: Sarum College (Salisbury)
25 May: Holburne Museum (Bath)