Jette Parker Artists present a thrilling double bill – Larmes de Couteau / Full Moon in March

In April, Jette Parker Artists and The Royal Opera present a double bill of Bohuslav Martinů’s surreal Larmes de couteau, written in 1928, along with John Harbison’s rarely performed 1977 adaptation of W.B. Yeats’ motif-laden play, Full Moon in March. These short, punchy works make for a thrilling pairing for the Linbury Theatre, opening on Friday 26 April.

Exploring rituals of marriage and the occult, female isolation and madness, and the violent commodification and infantilization of women – Larmes de couteau is directed by Eleanor Burke, and New Moon in March directed by Harriet Taylor. The double bill is designed by Anna Reid, with lighting designs by Bethany Gupwell. Movement direction is by Sarita Piotrowski. The intimate cast for Larmes includes Valentina Puskás as Eleanora, alongside Veena Akama-Makia as the formidable La mère, and Kamohelo Tsotetsi as Satan. Full Moon in March sees the same cast take on the roles of First Attendant, The Queen, and Swineherd respectively, with Jonah Halton joining as Second Attendant. Edward Reeve conducts Britten Sinfonia.

These works tell two independent stories, with mirroring messages – in Eleanor Burke’s interpretation of Larmes de couteau, a wedding planner prepares her reluctant daughter for the marriage market. Full Moon in March follows a swineherd’s ultimately unsuccessful attempts to seduce a virgin queen.

Eleanor Burke, director of Larmes de couteau, said:

“I am delighted to be directing Martinů’s Larmes de couteau, the UK premiere was directed by our Director of Opera, Oliver Mears in 2007. This black comedy draws heavily on the influence of Dada, Vaudeville and the Theatre of the Absurd and will take our audiences on a surreal, funny, and ultimately poignant journey that explores the marital expectations still imposed on women today.”

Harriet Taylor, director of Full Moon in March, said:

“I love that the opera Full Moon in March is as well travelled and haunted as the Swineherd himself- it comes from the eccentric and esoteric world of WB Yeats and found new life through the modern and melodic mind of John Harbison, but now that the piece is in the hands of our fierce female-led creative team, I couldn’t be more excited to give the Queen her chance to shine.”

The Royal Opera aims to make its performances accessible to persons with disabilities. Selected performances of Larmes de Couteau / Full Moon in March will include British Sign Language interpretatio (2 May), and an Audio Described Performance with a relaxed environment (28 April).

Larmes de couteau / Full Moon in March runs from Friday 26 April – Saturday 4 May in the Linbury Theatre. Tickets are available on the Royal Opera House website from 25 January.

The Jette Parker Artists Programme is made possible thanks to the exceptional generosity of Oak Foundation.