Navigate the Blood


Gareth Williams
University of Edinburgh


Portfolio, Practice Based, opera, Admiral Fallow, Sian Evans, NOISE, Scotland


Navigate The Blood is an 80-minute opera conceived by Gareth Williams, co-composed by Williams and Admiral Fallow, with a libretto by Sian Evans. The work aims to find new partners, participants, collaborators and audiences for contemporary opera in Scotland, by developing a new methodology for creating work in this genre. The work was developed at NOISE Opera between 2015 and 2018, and produced in partnership with Glasgow Distillery, where the premiere took place on 2 November 2018. The work toured throughout November 2018 and 40% of the audience who attended performances were new to opera. Williams, opera composer and musical director of NOISE Opera, invited the indie folk band Admiral Fallow to collaborate on a concept opera that explored the industry and community of distilling in Scotland. After a series of research trips, interviews with distillers across Scotland, musical workshops, and readings of the libretto, a process was devised to mentor the new operamakers (Admiral Fallow) through the process of co-creating opera, creating a common language across the genres of indie folk/pop and opera, during the writing of this music theatre work. Through a new partnership with Glasgow Distilleries, seven distilleries across Scotland were secured as performance venues, and the whisky/gin making communities of Scotland were consulted and involved in the process of creating the libretto for the work. The work was performed in distilleries across Scotland: Glasgow Distillery, Oban Distillery, Glen Scotia Distillery, Campeltown, Ardnahoe Distillery, Islay, Blair Atholl Distillery, Pitlochry, Lost Loch Distillery, Aboyne, Summerhall Edinburgh and La Taverna Aviemore. The completed score is a collaborative document, where Williams placed the work of Admiral Fallow songwriters, Louis Abbot and Sarah Hayes, into the framework of the opera, alongside his own music, blending the different voices, gestures, genres and timbres into a cohesive, singular, dramatic piece.

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30 May 2024


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Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.