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1944: Home Fires | the idol and the thug
September 6 @ 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Heartthrob Ivor Novello is the most famous songwriter of his day. He’s also in prison for fiddling with his petrol coupons.
Ivor’s forced to share a cell with 20-year-old Frankie Fraser, the sadistic terror of London gangland. Fey matinee idol and psychopathic homophobe banged up together – what can possibly go wrong? The outcome will surprise you…
On the way, we get a fascinating light on the soft underbelly of the black market and the Blitz; a meditation on masculinity and ‘macho’; and perhaps a story of redemption and recovery?
With a cast of four singers and a trio of 2 saxophones and a harp, this creates a unique sound world in which Novello’s own music plays a crucial, climactic part.
Tickets: £15, £10 concessions (students, 60+, disabled persons)
The second performance, after the world premiere on 3 September.
🌈 Meet the team
Gay veterans Peter Scott–Presland and Robert Ely are writing 17 operas about gay history. For this premiere of the second opera in the cycle, they’re joined by an array of young rising stars. Part of Tête-à-tête: The Opera Festival 2023
🥷 An (almost?) true story
Gangster Frankie Fraser was imprisoned for gruesome murders and alleged torture. His favourite pastime was pulling out teeth with a pair of pliers.
He claimed that he shared a cell with Ivor Novello, who was the equivalent of Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Elton John rolled into one. The gentle, dreamy Ivor was convinced his theatre career was over, and he had nothing to live for.
Yet Frankie had his own secret terror, a threat that would reduce him to a shell of himself. Appallingly, this was also a “conversion therapy” forced upon LGBTQ+ people. We were considered mentally ill at the time.