Spitalfields Festival returns with folie à deux staged with new electro-magnetic harp

PUBLISHED: 12:00 22 May 2015

Emily Hall’s 'Folie a Deux' gets its London premiere at Spitalfields Music Festival June 6 and 7 [photo: Johan Persson]

Emily Hall’s 'Folie a Deux' gets its London premiere at Spitalfields Music Festival June 6 and 7 [photo: Johan Persson]

Johan Persson

Spitalfields Music summer festival returns to London’s East End next month for its 39th year with a new lights-and-music folie à deux staging its London premiere on June 6 and 7.

The piece by artist-composer Emily Hall is a sonic voyage into the shared psychosis known as “folie à deux”, where a delusion is transmitted from one person to another.

A couple’s idyllic life on a quiet hillside changes irrevocably when an electricity pylon is put up outside their house—a narrative of everybody’s nightmare.

The work features a new musical instrument specially created for the piece, an electro-magnetic harp, with Icelandic tenor Finnur Bjarnason and Swedish voice artist Sofia Jernberg.

Hall is one of three associate artists curating events throughout the two weeks from June 2 to 16, including composer-saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings and early music ensemble La Nuova Musica.

The festival features world premiers and exclusive performances in the Huguenot houses of the historic Spitalfields silk-weaving district. Other top venues include the Tower of London, the Bishopsgate Institute, Hawksmoor’s iconic Spitalfields Church, Bethnal Green’s Rich Mix centre, Shakespeare’s Shoreditch Church and the late-Victorian Geffrye Museum nearby, all within walking distance.

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