Desk Opera - Claudia MolitorSpitalfields Music Winter Festival 009. Photo credit- Tommy Ga-Ken Wan
Desk bound: Claudia Molitor. Photograph: Tommy Ga Ken Wan

An opera which takes place inside a writing desk is to be performed for the first time in London as part of this month Spitalfields Music Winter Festival.

Remember Me: A Desk Opera is inspired by a Victorian writing desk handed down to the opera’s composer, Claudia Molitor, from her grandmother.

“This desk was the only space that was just hers, and it has a life time of experience with it – I am fascinated by it,” says Molitor.

The opera uses a replica of the original desk as a focal point, accompanied by film, an orchestral pit visit and live performances.

“The desk is the central focus, with performance going on around it, helping it to come alive.

“I wanted to do something different when writing this opera – it means I can tell big opera-style stories on a small scale,” says Molitor.

The opera tells a fictional story of two Greek heroines: Dido and Eurydice – both of whom are dissatisfied with their lives.

“Dido laments the fact her husband is going around the world while she is left at home, while Eurydice’s husband Orpheus is an amazing musician and singer.

“They are two women who are trapped and can’t do anything: Dido in the palace, and Eurydice in the underworld.

“I thought what would happen if they were friends and moaned to each other about their lives,” Molitor says.

The idea for Remember Me came early last year, when Molitor discovered a lot of composers were working on operas – something which she thought was “bizarre” in the 21st century.

The opera uses no score or libretto, but instead makes use of a variety of recordings made by Molitor which are then put together for the performance.

Molitor says she hopes Remember Me will appeal to a wide range of people when it comes to the Winter Festival this month.

“It’s a playful attraction, as it is quite small and tiny,” she says.

“The idea you can make stories from something from very little is almost like when children can spend hours creating and playing in their own imaginary worlds.”

Remember Me: A Desk Opera  is at Rivington Place, EC2A 3BA from 9 – 10 December.

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