“Tamsin Collison's libretto is brilliant: simple, elegant, noble words, well-phrased and well-set…”
I have had libretti commissioned by English National Opera (Pierrot: A Biography, For the Public Good, Lionhunt, The Ballad of Slippery Jack, Mr. Purcell: His Ground, What Dreams May Come, Facing the Truth, Publish And Be Damned), The Royal Opera House (Alligator Train, Professional Suicide, Songs of the Marsh), The Shout (Stand, Open Port), Tête á Tête Contemporary Opera Festival (Love Byes: A Virtual Romance, Cat-Astrophe, Dart’s Love), Highbury Opera Theatre (Tales & Fables, Fever Pitch: The Opera, The Weekend), and BBC Radio 3/BBC Symphony Orchestra (Last Man Standing).
I also write lyrics for single songs, from jazz numbers for jazz artist Gabriele Ducomble to the title track for the album Winter by classical vocal group Voces 8.
I am an alumna of the ENO Baylis Programme The Knack, the ROH2 Singing Word project and the Book, Music & Lyrics Music Theatre writing workshop.
You can find details of individual projects in my projects section.
“The outstanding concert – probably of the year actually – was the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Martyn Brabbins conducting a premiere of a monodrama by Cheryl Frances-Hoad and Tamsin Collison called Last Man Standing for baritone solo, Marcus Farnsworth, and orchestra. It’s a WW1 commemoration piece and quite the best piece of its type I’ve heard. I saw the War Requiem at English National Opera – this wiped the floor with it.”
David Benedict, Saturday Review, BBC Radio 4
“A glorious, desperate love story with a dark twist, set in and starring a memorable river, created by a trio of fabulous sopranos, Dart’s Love is a treat for the eyes and ears.. A magical highlight of the Tête á Tête Festival at Riverside Studios…Tamsin Collison’s libretto is brilliant: simple, elegant, noble words, well-phrased and well-set, and I enjoyed every one of them. The opera is short and the libretto is accordingly lean, but she deftly creates character and sets tone in a small space: it is intensely satisfying, rather like a great short story.”
WORDS… WORDS… WORDS…
I am one of the lucky few whose English degree has actually led to a career working with words – written, spoken and sung.
After studying at Manchester University, I joined the BBC Radio Drama department, and then worked as a Radio Producer in the Independent sector before turning freelance. As an award-winning Audio Producer and Director, I have worked for all the leading UK publishing houses directing some of the finest actors and writers in the business. I am also a skilled script-editor and abridger.
I teach and direct at several leading UK drama colleges, primarily LAMDA (Audio) and RADA (Academy Associate Teacher: Shakespeare, Poetry, Audio and Classical Text). I hold a Post-Grad Certificate in Learning & Teaching in Higher Education: Theatre & Performing Arts (Rose Bruford College) and I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
I am also a successful lyricist and librettist, and have been commissioned by English National Opera, The Royal Opera House, Tete a Tete Contemporary Opera Festival, The Shout, Highbury Opera Theatre and BBC Radio 3/BBC Symphony Orchestra. Composers I have collaborated with include Orlando Gough, John Webb, David Knotts, Kerry Andrew, Scott Stroman, Sxip Shirey, Rebecca Dale, Gabrielle Ducomble and Cheryl Frances-Hoad.
Albums to which I have contributed include Magic Lantern Tales (Cheryl Frances Hoad), Winter (Voces 8 – Rebecca Dale), Christmas with Canterbury Cathedral Girls’ Choir (CCGC – Rebecca Dale), Notes from Paris and Across The Bridge (Gabrielle Ducomble).
I have also recorded my own jazz album Under Your Spell. The title track is an original song, which I wrote with the late, much-lamented jazz maestro Geoff Castle.
Further details of my work are listed under individual projects.
I am a slapdash pianist, an experienced singer (mezzo these days), a fluent sightreader (words and music) and an inexpert (but ever-hopeful!) gardener.