2013 Practical Project - After OVID: a media opera

  • Tutor: Dr Ambrose Field
  • Level: I/5 (2nd year students), H/6 (3rd year students)

Aims and content

We will work together to produce a new, cross-media opera based on ideas and texts drawn from Ovid’s famous narrative poem Metamorphoses (AD 8). Ovid’s work explores grand themes, such as creation myths, conflict, flooding and power-struggles. These run alongside accounts of the transformations of individuals and societies in his epic interpretations of Greek mythology.

Ovid’s material provides excellent creative opportunities for contemporary interpretation, setting and adaptation.  You will be encouraged to think widely about new readings of the text, and unique ways of communicating his dramatic depictions.

Two pieces by Ambrose Field, Flood (for 50 solo-voice singers) and The transformation of Ino (ensemble with electronics) will form a pre-written core of material for the project. Around this core, student-devised works will be created as individual scenes in an unfolding tapestry of new music.

In addition to performance, ensemble direction and composition, there is scope for also for activities such as the re-interpretation of existing musical works relating to Ovid’s text, for film-making (we will create a multi-screen digital video backdrop), for designing audience or community interaction, for creating installations, stage direction, and for event support activities such as press and publicity.

All students will have a musical role, either vocal or instrumental in the performance. 2nd and 3rd year students will also have compositional, directorial, or management roles within the production. Postgraduate composers and conductors are also welcome to propose relevant ideas of their own for consideration within this framework.

Examples roles available:

  • Singer: solo-voice ensemble for Flood
  • Instrumental ensemble member
  • Director of an individual scene, or segment of the show
  • Composer (of works for any achievable forces)
  • Conductor of choir for Flood
  • Conductor of ensemble for The Transformation of Ino
  • Vocal coach / mentor (3rd year only)
  • Ensemble co-ordinator
  • Video and film production team
  • Digital Graphics co-ordinator
  • Audio Mixer
  • Immersive media & Projection Mapping co-ordinator
  • Press and Publicity
  • Stage Management
  • Visual look designer
  • Lighting
  • Documentation team member
  • Installation and interactivity designer

Timescales - please note:

Some roles (such as Composer) will require you to have finalised a large proportion of your assessed project work before the project starts in Wk 1 Autumn Term, as your actual time on the project will be concerned with the rehearsal, refinement and execution of your work.

Some technical work (film or audio), or the gathering of materials and media will also benefit from being undertaken before the start of the Autumn term.  So please, plan ahead so that we can make best use of your contribution!


Assessment is through submission of composition or practical work with accompanying written documentation.

The project will run for 2 nights (Wednesday & Thursday of wk 6) in the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall. Please be sure to keep the weekend prior to Wk 6 free for final rehearsals, which may occur on Saturday and/or Sunday as required.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this project all students will:

  • Have developed vocal and/or instrumental performance to a professional standard
  • Depending on role, have developed:
    • experience in participation in show logistics or production teams
    • experience in leading show-segment ensembles
    • experience in media creation / research
    • composition / Artistic Creativity in a variety of media
    • experience in managing or directing a section of the show
    • experience in the coaching and mentoring of others
    • a significant contribution to show production

Second years: On completion of the module, in their independent work, students should demonstrate Learning Outcomes B1-B6, B8, B10, B11

Third years: On completion of the module, in their independent work, students should demonstrate Learning Outcomes C1-C6, C8, C10, C11


Ovid’s text is freely available online here in English translation:

Think of ways in which you could use this text. Could it simply be an inspiration for new work? Could you use small sections as vocal cells? Which passages could you set?

It is available here in Latin:

You can use any translation or version of the text in your creative work. Use as much, or as little text as you like.

Video Archive – much potential for manipulation

Ovid’s text encompases several themes which have contemporary resonance. We will be constructing a video-based backdrop for the set (this is not a traditional costume performance). We will use multiple video screens, synchronised to produce an enveloping effect.

The Prelinger archive is a fantastic free-to-use (and edit/remix!) online video resource.

Please explore, and locate materials that you feel might fit with Ovid’s themes.

Supporting academic materials on Ovid can be found on J-Stor

Use the following search: