Be not afeard: language, music and cultural memory in the operas of Thomas Adès

Senate House, London 24–25 April 2017

With invited contributions from: Thomas Adès, Philip Hensher, Meredith Oakes, John Roeder (University of British Columbia), Peter Evans (Queen Mary University of London) and Mark Millington (University of Nottingham)

Registration is open and can be booked here:

A provisional programme is available here:

Thomas Adès has drawn attention to the ‘mysterious thing that happens when you set actions to music: a third shape that emerges when something non-visual like a musical score is acted out by people moving on a stage’. This conference will explore Adès’s three operatic shapes of music, text, and performative realisation through the lenses of language and cultural memory.

The event will take place over two days. The first day will focus on analytical and theoretical approaches to Adès’s operas, and will conclude with a round table on The Exterminating Angel prior to the UK premiere of the opera at the Royal Opera House that evening. The second day will focus on Adès’s operas and their broader contexts.

If you have any questions or difficulty with the registration process, please email

The conference is part of the research programme of the AHRC-funded Open World Research Initiative, and is held in collaboration with the Institute for Modern Languages Research, Music and Letters Trust, and the Society for Music Analysis. It has been organized by Dr Edward Venn (University of Leeds), Professor Catherine Davies (Institute of Modern Languages Research, School of Advanced Study) and Dr Paul Archbold (Kingston University).

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