Years ago I died (2018)
a chamber opera
Libretto by Edward Einhorn
Instrumentation: Soprano, mezzo-soprano, clarinet, violin, cello and electronics
First performed by Delphine Mégret (soprano), Rosalie Warner (mezzo-soprano), Heather Ryall (clarinet), Duygu Ince (violin), Peter Davis ('cello), and Clare Elton (electronics).
25 June 2018, The Asylum Chapel, Peckham.
Katie is sure she has died. She is in a sort of Purgatory, where she can still see Heaven. Then her sister Beth comes to visit. How did she get there? Beth urges her sister to go outside and rejoin the living. Katie has not died, Beth claims, she is just suffering from the after effects of a stroke. They both remember their childhood together and how close they were. When Katie was alive. But now, Katie explains, she has died.
The libretto was originally inspired by Cotard's Delusion, a neurological condition. Those who suffer from it are convinced they are dead. This site-specific chamber opera was originally written for the environment of the Asylum Chapel in Peckham, which is an old church with stained glass windows above and old walls with peeling plaster over stone. This is the world Katie sees, though in reality she is in a sterile health facility.