THOMAS HYDE (b.1978): That Man Stephen Ward.
Catalogue Number: 08T082
Label: Resonus Classics
Description: If you saw the 1989 movie "Scandal", or remember the news from 1963, you know about the Profumo affair, a particularly juicy political scandal which destroyed a number of political careers and led to the suicide of full-time socialite and occasional osteopath to the wealthy and influential, Stephen Ward. Ward was a procurer of young girls as companions (in various degrees of immorality) for politicians and aristocrats all of whom abandoned him when an international spying scandal threatened to embroil various members of his social circle. Hyde's one-man opera pithily relates the story solely from Ward's perspective. In a tour de force for the solo singer, we see Ward in his element, hosting his parties, reminiscing about his interactions with various dignitaries, but also about the police raid on one of his parties that led to his downfall, his abandonment, prosecution and ignominious end, during which the singer/actor is required to assume parodies of other voices. The music ingeniously dovetails elements of cabaret music (for the 'high life') with a fragmented, brittle accompaniment to the Ward character's virtual monodrama. A compelling, if less splashy than the movie, retelling of one of the more entertainingly sordid episodes in recent British political history. Libretto included. Damian Thantrey (baritone), Nova Music Opera Ensemble; George Vass.