Scored for: 4 actor singers, mixed chorus (including small parts), piano, violin, flute, trumpet, horn, percussion and live sound score (created by Andy Pink)
Duration: 1 hour
Other Info: Whirlwind was commissioned in 2006 by Streetwise Opera in association with Northern Stage and premiered at the Sage, Gateshead and directed by Keith Warner.
Based on historical events at Hallsands, Devon in 1917 and New Orleans in 2005. Based on historical events at Hallsands, Devon in 1917 and New Orleans in 2005. The tale of the lost Devon village of Hallsands, destroyed in a great storm in 1917 following several years of government-approved dredging. Whirlwind follows the story of Lizzie May Prettyjohn, the last survivor of the gales, as she guides tourists around the ruins of her village where past and present mingle together.
"On stage, the action is led and unified by Heather Shipp as the older Lizzie. She and Rowan Fenner as her young self are given operatic musical lines by composer Will Todd, while the 27 (amateur) villagers sing unison choruses deriving from a more popular tradition. Miraculously, they fit together, answered by fiddle, flute and horn, more expressionist percussion and electronics." Paul Allen / The Guardian / 2006
'Todd’s two-part chorus writing is tight and vivid, provoking an impassioned performance from the homeless and ex-homeless cast of Streetwise Opera.' Independent on Sunday
"The contemporary libretto fits beautifully with Will Todd's resoundingly dramatic score, which can surely leave no one unmoved." Tamzin Lewis / The Journal, Newcastle/ 2006