Vermittlung Magazin

My work on the libretto of Ada Sketches

Laura Tunbridge

MA in Nottingham. 2002 PhD in Princeton, Dissertation über Robert Schumanns Musik für Byrons  Manfred und Szenen aus Goethes Faust. 2010 Visiting Scholar an der Columbia University, NY. Seit 2004 Senior Lecturer für Musikologie an der University of Manchester. 

The idea for Ada Sketches developed over the course of several conversations Emily and I had about contemporary opera. The Sketches are part of a larger work-in-progress: an opera about Ada Lovelace. I have a research interest in musical and theatrical adaptations of Byron’s poetry, and in portrayals of the poet’s biography, so have been aware of this fascinating figure for some time. Ada’s complex personality – her conflicted response to her parentage and her struggle to establish herself as a mathematician – makes her an exciting subject to explore in music-dramatic terms. She also appealed because in many ways she defies gender conventions: Ada is defined not simply through her familial and romantic relationships, but also through her intellectual activities – a rare quality in an operatic heroine.    


Having initially devised an overarching dramatic form, Emily and I have since focused on the composition of single scenes. Typically, I have sent Emily text, which she has used or rejected as she sees fit.


But we are not the only collaborators: a number of other artists have been involved, including mezzo soprano Loré Lixenberg and director John Lloyd Davies. Their input alongside Emily’s has been invaluable, particularly in helping me imagine how words might lift from page to stage.