• Michael Nyman
  • Man and Boy: Dada (2003)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Commissioned by Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe

  • 0.1.1(cl in c, bcl).asx(ssx).10000percelec kbdstr(1.1.0.1.1)
  • tenor, soprano, mezzo soprano
  • 1 hr 40 min
  • Michael Nyman
  • Michael Hastings
  • English

Programme Note

BRIEF SYNOPSIS

In this opera set in London in 1945, Michael is a twelve year old boy whose father has recently been killed in a bombing raid. The other principal character is Kurt Schwitters, founder of the Dadaist art movement, who at this time is penniless and has only two years to live. Both man and boy obsessively collect bus tickets. Schwitters finds tickets in random places and uses them in his collages to emphasise a natural state of human chaos. The young Michael, however, has a burning desire to create some sort of order out of the chaos in the aftermath of the war and so strives to find enough tickets to put together a full set. One day on a bus, Michael and Kurt make a grab for the same discarded ticket...

FULL SYNOPSIS

It is London, 1945. The war is over. Much of Britain is exhausted. The fields have not been farmed. The factories are silent. The country is still largely in a state of chaos.

Michael is twelve. His father worked as a night warden on a London rooftop. He was killed in a bomb raid.

Kurt Schwitters, the great German artist, is in London in the last two years of his life. Ill and penniless, he was famous in the art world as a founder of the DADA movement along with Duchamp and Ernst. But most of Schwitters’ life-work of collages and assemblages were destroyed in a bomb raid on Hanover.

Michael collects bus tickets. He wants a complete collection. He hunts everywhere for his tickets. He is passionate about making a perfect collection. Michael’s hobby reflects his instinctive interests. He wants to create order out of a scattered world. He is a very conservative boy, he is keen to put bus tickets back in their natural order. As if to say – I am making order out of chaos.

Kurt collects bus tickets. He regularly takes a bus from his miserable room in north London. He collects the paper items of the day to make into a collage. He is especially keen on bus tickets. Kurt’s attitude to bus tickets reflects his artistic instincts. The old artist resists order. He uses the tickets as part of his apparently random collages. As if to say – I am underlining human chaos.

One day, on a bus, Kurt and Michael make a grab for the same discarded ticket…

Listen

Man and Boy: Dada, Act II, Scene 10: A Famous Cup of British Tea
Man and Boy: Dada, Act I, Scene 1: You Need a Ticket to Breathe the Air
Man and Boy: Dada, Act I, Scene 2: A Few Things I Collect Beside Bus Tickets
Man and Boy: Dada, Act II, Scene 11: This Was a Good One - Ponders End to Waterloo
Man and Boy: Dada, Act I, Scene 3: Any More Fares Please?
Man and Boy: Dada, Act II, Scene 12: I'm Highly Adept at the Tango
Man and Boy: Dada, Act II, Scene 13: Show Me a Bike!
Man and Boy: Dada, Act I, Scene 4: It's Kind of Interesting Rubbish
Man and Boy: Dada, Act I, Scene 5: Scarper!
Man and Boy: Dada, Act II, Scene 14: Chuk Persh Szing!
Man and Boy: Dada, Act I, Scene 6: Forty Sheep and Twenty Reindeer
Man and Boy: Dada, Act II, Scene 15: Happy Birthday, Dear Michael!
Man and Boy: Dada, Act I, Scene 7: Coughs and Sneezes Spread Diseases
Man and Boy: Dada, Act II, Scene 16: I Am Having Trouble with Hanky Panky
Man and Boy: Dada, Act I, Scene 8: Except Take a Piss
Man and Boy: Dada, Act II, Scene 17: Latin a la Hammersmith Palais
Man and Boy: Dada, Act I, Scene 9: Doodlebug
Man and Boy: Dada, Act II, Scene 18: A Hundred Stops But They Have No Name
Man and Boy: Dada, Act II, Scene 19: I Was Trying to Explain Something About Dada

View Score

Full score Act II
Vocal score Act I
Vocal score Act II

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