Michael Nyman

Press Coverage

Nyman to premiere 'Dido. Prologue' in February

It looks like Russia and Britain are building a sort of an “opera bridge”. On one end, Alexander Raskatov has just premiered his opera “A Dog’s Heart” in London, and on the other end, Michael Nyman is rehearsing “Dido. Prologue” in Russia’s Perm city.

“A Dog’s Heart” is based on Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel of the same name. Written in 1925, it was barred from publication until the late 1980s when it finally made its way to theater stages and TV screens. And now its characters have broken into singing. The opera begins as a buffonade and ends as a tragedy, composer Alexander Raskatov said in an interview.

“I sought to convey the horror of the Sharikovs and the like who want to destroy the entire human culture and intellect, that’s why, unlike Bulgakov’s novel, the opera has an unhappy end.”

Raskatov’s “unhappy end” echoes the new project of his British colleague Michael Nyman, the author of soundtracks for Peter Greenaway’s films. His opera “Dido. Prologue” to be premiered at a music festival in Perm in February is an invented story of how a prologue to the first British opera “Dido and Aeneas” by the 17th-century Baroque composer Henry Purcell, which was thought to have been lost, has been found and also about how Henry Purcell was rehearsing his opera about the Trojan war hero Aeneas with students of a boarding school for young ladies in Chelsea and only one professional singer invited to sing the part of Aeneas.

Starring as the Chelsea girls in Nyman’s production are girls from Perm’s Mlada choir. For Aeneas, he invited Peter Nalich, an iconic pop signer who represented Russia at this year’s Eurovision song contest.

Nyman to mentor Berlin's Score Competition

Nyman to mentor Berlin’s Score Competition
Winner will fly to Hollywood for tour of sound studios


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British composer Michael Nyman has been tapped to mentor the Score Competition for composers and sound designers during the 61st Berlin Film Festival’s Berlinale Talent Campus in February.
Nyman composed the scores for “Wonderland,” “Gattaca,” “The Piano” and several Peter Greenaway films including “The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover” and “Prospero’s Books.”

Competish will give three composers and/or sound designers the opportunity to create scores for film excerpts and record them with the German Film Orchestra Babelsberg. Winner will travel to Los Angeles for a Dolby-sponsored tour of sound studios.

The ninth Berlinale Talent Campus, an academy and networking platform for 350 selected participants, takes place Feb. 12-17 during the Berlinale, which runs Feb. 10-20.

Composer Michael Nyman to mentor the Score Competitio

Nearly 4000 applications from 141 countries for the Berlinale Talent Campus #9
Composer Michael Nyman to mentor the Score Competition

Composer Michael Nyman, mentor of the Score Competition 2011. © Sheila Rock
“Framespotting – Filmmakers Positioning Themselves” is the name of the game when the doors to the theatre “Hebbel am Ufer” open for young, international filmmakers on February 12, 2011, during the 61st Berlin International Film Festival. Enthusiasm for the Berlinale Talent Campus is going strong, even after 9 years of existence: 3967 up and coming filmmakers from 141 countries applied, with first-time applications from Belize, the Comoros, Brunei, Mali and Mauritania. During the six event days, the Talent Campus offers 350 selected participants an opportunity to learn from prominent Berlinale guests and notable experts, to strengthen their own skills, and to clearly define their creative and strategic filmmaking goals. On top of this, Talents can participate in numerous hands-on training programmes, like the Doc & Script Station, the Talent Project Market, the Editing Studio or the Post-Production Studio, to work with experienced mentors on new film projects and make contacts for the future in an informal networking environment.

Composer Michael Nyman to mentor the Score Competition
The multiple award-winning British composer Michael Nyman will mentor the Score Competition, the Berlinale Talent Campus’ competition for composers and sound designers. Nyman became widely known as a film score composer mainly for his work in many of Peter Greenaway’s films (A Zed & Two Noughts, The Cook the Thief His Wife & Her Lover, Prospero’s Books), as well as for his scores for Wonderland, Gattaca and The Piano, his greatest commercial success thus far. Nyman is considered one of the most innovative and versatile contemporary composers. In addition to scoring films, he has also composed and premiered numerous operas, had musical stints in the games and fashion industries, and made a name for himself as a conductor, critic and director, most recently with his video project NYman with a Movie Camera. “I feel honoured to support the Talent Campus as a mentor, even more so as I still consider myself to be a Talent” says Michael Nyman (*1944). The Score Competition offers three young composers and/or sound designers the chance to create new scores for selected film excerpts and record them with the German Film Orchestra Babelsberg, with final mixing at the Film and Television Academy (HFF) “Konrad Wolf”. The scores will have their world premiere during the Campus. The best score will be selected by a jury, and its composer wins a Dolby-sponsored tour of the most renowned sound studios in Los Angeles.

The Berlinale Talent Campus is an initiative of the Berlin International Film Festival, a business division of the Kulturveranstaltungen des Bundes in Berlin GmbH, funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media upon a decision of the German Bundestag, in co-operation with MEDIA - Training programme of the European Union and Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg.

Variety reviews: NYman With a Movie Camera


Sep. 21, 2010 | Variety

Composer Michael Nyman’s dynamic jump into filmmaking, “NYman With a Movie Camera,” is as much a celebration of the world as its inspiration, Dziga Vertov’s silent masterpiece, “Man With a Movie Camera,” celebrates Soviet society. Having written a thrilling 2002 score accompanying screenings of Vertov’s monumental film, as well as the British Film Institute’s DVD release, Nyman exploits his considerable acquaintance with the work to create a similarly giddy montage with editor Max Pugh, this time shot on vid over the past two decades. Fests, specialty exhibs and classy vid play beckon.

Unlike Vertov’s, Nyman’s camera travels the globe, visiting more than a dozen countries (including considerable footage lensed in Iran and Mexico, the director’s primary residence). However, like Vertov, a celebratory tone is created through montage (with visual tricks exactly duplicated) as well as by a sense that the viewer belongs to a family of humans. Paralleling Vertov’s antic cameraman, Nyman observes a Mexican lenser operating a camera jib as a constant reference point and “character.” Nyman’s score, performed by his powerful band, alternates between andante and allegro, the latter exploding with his signature locomotive propulsion.

Camera (DV), Nyman; editor, Max Pugh; music, Nyman. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Future Projections), Sept. 12, 2010. Running time: 67 MIN.

Michael Nyman is one of Britain’s most celebrated composers.

Michael Nyman is one of Britain’s most celebrated composers. Besides writing operas and orchestral concertos, Nyman is perhaps best known for his soundtracks for films such as the multi Oscar-winning The Piano. He has collaborated with everyone from Sir Harrison Birtwistle to Damon Albarn and is enjoying a growing reputation as a serious photographer and filmmaker.

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