Roman River – hEARd

Show Information
Showing on:
Sat 16 September 2017
Approx 1 hr 15 mins (no interval)
£19 - £7
Mercury Studio Theatre

“We can try”

“We can try”

“I heard you”

“You heard me.”

A chamber opera in the making by librettist Lila Palmer, hEARd explores the gulf between what is said and what is meant and the consequences of disconnect in a very human relationship. In a story of humour, grief and tenderness – a couple on the edge. What do they, and we, understand? Is it their final conversation?

A violinist and an actor, a cellist and a soprano. How can four make two? Bringing together the brightest emerging talents from devised theatre and instrumental performance, Roman River Music invite you to explore a familiar shared experience told through the impassioned collision of words, bodies and melody.

About the cast

Lila Palmer – is a soprano, facilitator and dramatist born in Vermont, USA and raised in Yorkshire, UK. As a writer and dramatist her first opera Harbour was praised by The London Times as a work of ‘strange celtic beauty,’ which ‘turned anguish into art.’ An early short, Two-Step, received its North American premier with Boston Opera Collaborative in November 2016. Her second chamber opera Dead Equal (2016) with composer Rose Hall was praised as ‘urgent, lean and dramatically flawless’ by David Pountney, and ‘deft’ by Judith Weir after performances hosted by ENO & Helios Collective. Her most recent works include three immersive chamber operas commissioned by workshOpera and the London Transport Museum. Alongside her writing and directing activities recent work has included creating the role of Hortense Schneider in Stephen Plaice’s pastiche operetta-play about Offenbach’s muse; creating the role of Olivia in an immersive opera-musical of Twelfth Night, the role of ‘The Rose’ in the UK tour of A Little Prince and making her concert debut at the Wigmore Hall. Later in September 2017 she will create the role of Narrator-Soprano in The Jewel Merchants, a new work devised in partnership with the Bethlem Mental Health Trust, composer Rose Hall and poet David Gilbert to create a service-users opera on the subject of resilience.

Vasil Garvanliev – a Macedonian Tenor, has had an adventurous career so far. He began singing pop professionally at the age of seven in his native country, achieving celebrated status. He moved to Toronto in 2004 completing his studies at the Glenn Gould School and the University of Toronto. He then spent the 2010/11 Season as a member of Calgary Opera’s Emerging Young Artist Program. As a Bass-Baritone/Baritone he spent a successful decade singing over 40 roles throughout Canada and the States. Highlights include Don Giovanni, Leporello, Masetto, Commendatore, Figaro, Antonio Alfonso, and Papageno. With Opera Atelier he has performed Kaspar in Der Freischütz, Aronte in Armide, and Phinee in Persee which also were performed at the Royal Opera in Versailles. It was at the finals of the Montreal International Singing Competition 2015 that he was pulled aside by Marilyn Horne and told that he was a great baritone, but had hidden potential as a tenor. He has spent eighteen months working on that transition. He made his tenor debut as a soloist in the prestigious Marlboro Music Festival in 2016.

James Whittle – A composer-performer, theatre-maker and conductor based in Yorkshire. Awareness of the body and improvisation are key aspects of his practice. James specialises in devising pieces collaboratively, blending musical performance with theatre and movement, and drawing on performance art and dance-theatre practices. James is taught cello by Sue Lowe and has had masterclasses with Alexander Baillie, Louise Hopkins, Pierre Doumenge, and Anna Shuttleworth. James has also worked as a live performance and session musician, including playing solo on albums for various singer-songwriters. An enthusiastic improviser, he also plays clarinet, piano and otamatone.

Isolde Troost –  convinced her family it was necessary for her to play the piano at age four, allegedly because “her big brother was allowed to play and it wasn’t fair”. She was accepted into the Young Talent programme of the Hague’s Royal Conservatoire in 1999, and after having finished her high school education at the Stedelijk Gymnasium in Leiden she completed her Bachelor of Piano at the same institution. Currently, Isolde is working as a teacher as well as a performer. She has played on several well-known stages, such as the Doelen in Rotterdam and the Universitetets Aula in Oslo, but she prefers a smaller podium – largely because she usually announces her own pieces, and hates speaking into a microphone.

With the generous support of the Ambache Charitable Trust, raising the profile of music by women.



Make a night of it by booking a pre-show meal at Food @ the Mercury. Simply add either a two (£13.95) or three course (£15.95) meal to your basket along with your theatre tickets.

No need to choose what you are having in advance – simply select from the delicious options available on the night.

This show has been paired with our Bluebell menu. Click here to take a look!

Please note this offer applies to evening performances only. Click here to see our daytime dining options.

Lila Palmer 1 1

Lila Palmer

Librettist & Soprano

Vasil Garvanliev Tenor 1

Vasil Garvanliev


James Whittle Cello 1

James Whittle


Isolde Troost Pianist 1

Isolde Troost



Theo Jamieson



Miranda Cromwell


You may also be interested in...

Workspace Hire

Showing: Mon 27 Jun 2022 - Sun 29 Dec 2024

We are excited to be offering our amazing facilities for freelancers, those people working flexibly, creative industries, charities, corporate partners and...

More info and tickets
Musical Theatre Dance - two women dancing together and laughing with a green background.
Musical Theatre Dance Class

Showing: Tue 28 Jun 2022 - Tue 04 Apr 2023

Come and meet those dancing feet! Each week our experienced choreographer will teach routines inspired by hit musicals in our brand new dance...

More info and tickets
Tots Stars 18mths-3yrs
Book each week!

Showing: Tue 28 Jun 2022 - Tue 04 Apr 2023

Tots is an interactive story-telling, music and movement class for early years children and their grown-up friends. At the Mercury we believe imagination and...

More info and tickets