I was booked to play oud in Roxanna Panufnik’s opera Dalia, the story (libretto by Jessica Duchen) of a refugee in the UK, who finds her way into the hearts of local people through hr passion for cricket. The opera explores the kindness but also the hypocrisy of English society, and is both humorous and heart-wrenchingly painful. I supported Panufnik as she prepared her oud score, and then was privelaged to take part in the performances at Garsington Opera, playing with the Philharmonia Orchestra in the pit, and also on stage.

Warm reviews included one in the Observer by Fiona Maddox in which a rather unfortunate sentence seems to equate the oud player with a domestic animal:

“There is also, for good measure, an oud player (Rachel Beckles Willson) and a dog.”

So far is the oud from the traditional opera world?


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