The Royal Opera House have announced the cast for Oliver Leith’s chamber opera Last Days, which premieres at the Linbury Theatre on 7 October.
Blake, the musician at the centre of the self-destructive drama, is a non-singing role that will be taken by French actor Agathe Rousselle, making her West End debut. Rouselle starred in Julia Ducournau’s Titane, which won the Palme D’Or in 2021. The rest of the cast – playing housemates, Mormons, a private detective, a Blake superfan, and a delivery driver, amongst others – includes sopranos Patricia Auchterlonie and Mimi Doulton, mezzo soprano Kate Howden, tenor Seumas Begg, bass Sion Goronwy, baritone Edmund Danon and actor Henry Jenkinson.
Last Days is based on Gus van Sant’s 2005 film of the same name. The production will be directed by Matt Copson and Anna Morrissey. Grace Smart is set designer, with lighting by Prema Mehta. 12 Ensemble with guest artists George Barton (percussion) and Siwan Rhys (piano/synthesizer) will join conductor Jack Sheen in the pit. “Everything in the world of Last Days is musical”, Leith comments of the score “- from cereal bowls to bin bags - except for Blake, our lead, who simply mumbles. The music mumbles and murmurs too in a bittersweet haze.”
Matt Copson, who wrote the text, says of the 90-minute piece
"I wrote Last Days as an existential farce. A tragedy infused with both the absurdities and banality of death and life. A battleground of the contradictions which form the world around us playing out in the maze of an opera. I hope it’s a total assault on the senses."
Last Days receives performances at the Linbury Theatre on the 7, 8, 10, and 11 of October.