09 Jun 2023


Britten Studio , Snape Maltings, Snape , Suffolk, IP17 1SP

World premier of a brand-new opera from visionary composer Sarah Angliss, telling the story of the 18th-century “Irish giant” who was betrayed in the name of science.

“First do no harm”, every doctor says. But what happens when a patient’s body is so extraordinary, his corpse becomes an object of desire – a trophy? Giant tells the true tale of surgeon John Hunter and his obsession with Charles Byrne – a man he would ultimately betray in one of the most disturbing acts in the era of the grave robbers.

Written for five voices, Giant uses 18th-century instruments, live electronics, and bespoke music machines as it vividly recalls the events surrounding Byrne’s death: an extraordinary story that resonates through the ages.

Giant is a new opera from composer Sarah Angliss, poet Ross Sutherland, and director Sarah Fahie.

Commissioned by Britten Pears Arts in 2018, supported through the Jerwood Opera Writing Fellowships.

Image courtesy of Britten Pears.