Be not afeard: language, music and cultural memory in the operas of Thomas Adès

Be not afeard: language, music and cultural memory in the operas of Thomas Adès
24 April 2017, 10.00am - 25 April 2017, 7.00pm
Conference / Symposium
Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, 17 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DR
With invited contributions from: Thomas Adès, Philip Hensher, Meredith Oakes, John Roeder (University of British Columbia), Peter Evans (Queen Mary University of London) and Mark Millington (University of Nottingham).

Thomas Adès has drawn attention to the ‘mysterious thing that happens when you set actions to music: a third shape that emerges when something non-visual like a musical score is acted out by people moving on a stage’. This conference will explore Adès’s three operatic shapes of music, text, and performative realisation through the lenses of language and cultural memory. 

The event will take place over two days. The first day will focus on analytical and theoretical approaches to Adès’s operas, and will conclude with a round table on The Exterminating Angel prior to the UK premiere of the opera at the Royal Opera House that evening. The second day will focus on Adès’s operas and their broader contexts. 

If you have any questions please email

The conference is part of the research programme of the AHRC-funded Open World Research Initiative, and is held in collaboration with the Institute for Modern Languages Research at the School of Advanced Study, Music and Letters Trust, and the Society for Music Analysis. It has been organised by Dr Edward Venn (University of Leeds), Professor Catherine Davies (IMLR, SAS) and Dr Paul Archbold (Kingston University/IMLR, SAS).

Registration information:
Day 1 - Standard (£20), Concession (including SMA members and students)(£10). Registration fee includes refreshments and lunch.
Day 2 - Free, all welcome.

Day 2 is free for all to attend, but please register to guarantee a place.

The event will be held at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS), 17 Russell Square, London, WC1B 5DR.

Map of Bloomsbury area, showing the IALS building (number 3 on the map, highlighted in turquoise): Map 1 UOL.PDF


Jo Bradley
020 7862 8732