Music Theatre Wales

The Guardian

Read review

The Times

Read review

Opera Brittania

Read review

The Hearld, Scotland

Read review

The Devil Inside

A new opera composed by Stuart MacRae and written by Louise Welsh

Louise introduces The Devil Inside, a gritty, glittery, Faustian fairytale, set firmly in the twenty-first century.

Two itinerant young men, James and Richard, lose their way and become stranded on a mountain in the dead of a stormy night. As if by magic a beautiful mansion appears. An old man emerges, bent beneath a weight of sorrows and tells the travellers that he gained his wonderful house and all of his riches via an imp, which is imprisoned inside a magical bottle.

The imp will grant all of its owner‘s wishes, but there are two conditions. If the owner dies in possession of the bottle, they will burn in Hell for all eternity. The second conditon is that the bottle must always be sold for less than it was bought for. The price is already dangerously low.

The imp conjures James a property empire. He sells the bottle to Richard, who sets off to wish himself a fortune. Catherine arrives as Richard departs. She and James fall in love and get married. Everything is perfect. They are young, rich and eager to start a family. But when Catherine becomes dangerously ill, James is faced with a choice. He can watch his young wife die, or buy back the bottle at an even lower price and risk eternal damnation. A tale of love, sacrifice and addiction ensues. The price of the bottle drops ever lower, the imp grows angrier and more eager to escape. Damnation awaits someone, but who will it be?

The Devil Inside was inspired by The Bottle Imp, a short story by Robert Louis Stevenson. The opera contains many elements of Stevenson‘s famous shilling shocker, The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

A co-commission and co-production with

Scottish Opera

Photography: Marcus Ginns


"...a finely paced, immaculately crafted piece that maintains constant musical and dramatic momentum..."

The Guardian

"...many edge-of-the-seat moments in a consistently dramatic contemporary opera boasting superb performances..."

The Herald, Scotland

"This is a brilliant new work…spine tingling opera that everyone involved with can be supremely proud of."

Opera Brittania

"Well worth catching on its extensive UK tour."

The Times


Production Shots

The Devil Inside

Photo credit: Bill Cooper

The Devil Inside

Photo credit: Bill Cooper

The Devil Inside

Photo credit: Bill Cooper

The Devil Inside

Photo credit: Bill Cooper

The Devil Inside

Photo credit: Bill Cooper

The Devil Inside

Photo credit: Bill Cooper

The Devil Inside

Photo credit: Bill Cooper

The Devil Inside

Photo credit: Bill Cooper

The Story

‘For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?’

Mark 8:36

The Devil Inside is adapted from Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1891 short story The Bottle Imp. The imp of the title grants the owner of the bottle their heart’s desires. However, if the owner dies in possession of the bottle their soul is damned for eternity, and the only way they can get rid of the bottle is to sell it for less than they bought it.

‘It felt like the right shape and the right size, with a repetition that comes in fairy stories, as well as an ending where I wondered, “How on earth are they going to get out of this?”’ - Louise Welsh, Librettist.

‘It’s a fascinating story, with intrigue, tension and questions, plus it has realistic and fully formed characters who go through extreme emotions and extreme experiences’. - Stuart MacRae, Composer

Full synopsis Download Libretto

Tour info and booking

The Peacock
London

03–04 February 2016, 7.45pm

020 7863 8222

Buy tickets

Sherman Theatre
Cardiff / Caerdydd

09 February 2016, 7.30pm

029 2064 6900

Pre-show talk: Main stage 6.30pm

Buy tickets

The Anvil
Basingstoke

10 February 2016, 7.45pm

01256 844 244

Pre-show talk: The Forge 6.30pm

Buy tickets

RNCM
Manchester

16 February 2016, 7.30pm

0161 907 5555

Pre-show talk: The Forman Lecture Theatre 6.30om

Buy tickets

Canolfan Y Celfyddydau Aberystwyth Arts Centre

23 February 2016, 7.30pm

01970 62 32 32

Post-show talk: venue tbc

Buy tickets

Lawrence Batley Theatre Huddersfield

26 February 2016, 7.30pm

01484 430 528

Pre-show talk: The Cellar Theatre 6.30pm

Buy tickets

Theatr Clwyd
Mold

03 April 2016, 7.30pm

01352 701 521

Pre-show talk: Hadyn Rees Room 6.30pm

Buy tickets

Birmingham Repertory
Theatre

18 April 2016, 7.30pm

0121 236 4455

Pre-show talk: venue tbc 6.30pm

Buy tickets

Theatre Royal
Glasgow

23 Jan 2016, 7.15pm

26 Jan 2016, 7.15pm

Buy tickets

King's Theatre
Edinburgh

29 Jan 2016, 7.15pm

30 Jan 2016, 7.15pm

Buy tickets

Tapestry Opera
Harbourfront Centre Theatre
Toronto

10 Mar 2016, 8.00pm

12-13 Mar 2016, 8.00pm

Buy tickets

Robert Louis Stevenson & The Bottle Imp – 10 things about the inspiration behind The Devil Inside

Follow the production process on social media

Production stories

Creative Team

Stuart MacRae

Composer

Biography

Louise Welsh

Librettist

Biography

Michael Rafferty

Conductor

Biography

Matthew Richardson

Director

Biography

Samal Blak

Designer

Biography

Ace McCarron

Lighting

Biography

The Devil's Design

The Devil Inside will be created by the award-winning team of Director Matthew Richardson, Conductor Michael Rafferty, Designer Samal Blak and Lighting Designer Ace McCarron, responsible for Stuart and Louise’s pervious opera for Music Theatre Wales – Ghost Patrol.

As The Financial Times put it:

"Matthew Richardson’s production turns a chamber setting into grand opera, virtuosically designed by Samal Blak"

Winner of the South Bank Sky Arts Award for Opera in 2013 and nominated for an Olivier Award (along with In The Locked Room by Huw Watkins) Ghost Patrol packed a powerful punch from a small stage. Samal Blak has since gone on to win Best New Production at the International Opera Awards 2015 for KHOVANSKYGATE for Birmingham Opera Company and designed a large scale outdoor production of Tosca with MTW Joint Artistic Director Michael McCarthy in Norway.

Samal revealed ‘I wanted to convey the opera’s folkloristic storytelling qualities with its powerful psychodrama where we get the opportunity to study what happens to the people caught up in the drama. There is shadow play, extreme simplicity, vivid theatricality and a touch of magic to this design, and I hope it will contain a few surprises along the way’.

See images below from Music Theatre Wales’ production of Ghost Patrol.

MacRae drapes (the story) in a score as sophisticated as it is soulful – beauty and pain indivisible’ Andrew Clark in the Financial Times

The Cast

Catherine

Rachel Kelly

Biography

Richard

Nicholas Sharratt

Biography

James

Ben McAteer

Biography

Old Man/Vagrant

Steven Page

Biography

Looking back to Ghost Patrol

A reminder of the incredible success of Ghost Patrol, Louise and Stuart’s award-winning first opera together.

Ghost Patrol was commissioned by Music Theatre Wales and Scottish Opera in 2012. The opera explored the impact and collateral damage of war on two soldiers who’ve returned home but struggle to deal with an unspoken incident from the past and the realities of civvy street.

The opera revealed a distinct and powerful operatic voice in Stuart MacRae and a partnership with Louise Welsh that had more to offer...

Winner:
South Bank Sky Arts Award for Opera 2013

Nominated:
for an Olivier Award


"…it asks questions, stirs the imagination, challenges complacency, grabs the heart. It does everything modern opera is supposed to do. You come out feeling different – about love, life and death"

The Financial Times

"MacRae’s opera, with no-holds-barred libretto by Louise Welsh, is immediately exciting, making exacting and effective use of rhythm to portray the ugliness and trauma of war."

The Scotsman

"This is morality play and domestic drama in one, spiced with crime, passion and punishment: very operatic."

Opera Magazine

"We were just too stunned for words. Which is to say, we thought the show impressive, wonderful, altogether inspiring."

Donald Constable, audience member


Coming Soon from Music Theatre Wales

Credit: Zhang Peng/LightRocket/Getty Images

The Golden Dragon
by Peter Eötvös, based on the play by Roland Schimmelpfennig

Set in a Pan-Asian restaurant found in any city anywhere, The Golden Dragon is a compelling fable of modern life - funny, shocking and touching in equal measure.

Migration, exploitation, hopes and lost dreams are all here. At the heart of this East-meets-West tale, is the discovery of a decayed tooth in a bowl of soup.

It belongs to a kitchen ‘boy’, a long way from home and with no papers. He’s also looking for his sister, but she’s been forced into a very different kind of service just next door…

The UK premiere in a newly commissioned English translation will take place at Buxton Festival on July 18 and will be touring in England and Wales September – November.

The Music Theatre Wales experience

Share our excitement and sense of adventure in
bringing new operas to life - operas we hope will speak to you!

Opera is all about telling stories in music. The operas we perform continue with the great tradition of opera of the last 400 years, but they also aim to challenge and transform it by building on the capacity of the music of today to explore new ideas and tell new stories in new and exciting ways.

The operas we perform continue with the great tradition of opera of the last 400 years, but they also aim to challenge and transform it by exploring the capacity of the music of today to explore new ideas and tell new stories in a vivid and exciting way.

We want our opera to engage and challenge audiences. We want to stimulate and communicate new ideas, thoughts and feelings, and so we continually re-imagine what opera can do and what it can offer. That way we can keep opera a truly dynamic and contemporary art form. That is what we strive to do.

For You

Photo credit: Clive Barda

The Trial

Photo credit: Clive Barda

The Killing Flower

Photo credit: Clive Barda

The Killing Flower

Photo credit: Clive Barda

The Trial

Photo credit: Clive Barda

Greek

Photo credit: Clive Barda

In The Penal Colony

Photo credit: Clive Barda

Contact Us

Join our mailing list

Contact us

Music Theatre Wales
Pascoe House
54 Bute Street
Cardiff CF10 5AF

Tel: 029 2049 8471
Fax: 029 2049 8472

General Enquiries:
enquiries@musictheatrewales.org.uk

Music Theatre Wales:
www.musictheatrewales.org.uk