THE MONSTER IN THE MAZE 2017-04-11T15:24:03+00:00

About The Monster in the Maze

Minotaur_thumbThe London Symphony Orchestra (LSO), the Berliner Philharmoniker and the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence have co-commissioned composer Jonathan Dove to write an opera scored for professional musicians with amateur singers (children and adults) and young pre-professional instrumentalists drawn from our local communities.

The idea for the co-commission was led by Sir Simon Rattle and Simon Halsey and the project is designed to celebrate the arts organisation’s relationship with its community. The piece is designed to work within the parameters of a concert hall, however each production will be very different in each country, with each co-commissioner producing its own production in its own language and with its own unique staging and vision.

For the opera, composer Jonathan Dove and his regular librettist Alasdair Middleton sought a universal topic which can be told by a large group of children, and which would not require elaborate scenery. They decided on the ancient Greek story which tells of the rescue from the Labyrinth, by Theseus, of young Athenians sent to Crete as a sacrifice to the Minotaur.

The piece is scored for three professional soloists and a professional actor, adult community chorus, youth chorus, children’s chorus, and an orchestra of professional players playing alongside young or pre-professional players.

Licensed by arrangement with Edition Peters.

The story

THESEUS_thumbMinos, king of the island of Crete, has a labyrinth in his palace in which he keeps the Minotaur, a monster – half man and half bull – which feeds on human flesh. To press home a military victory over Athens, Minos decrees that the Athenians should provide a regular supply of their young people to be sacrificed to the monster. The Athenian hero Theseus joins one of these shiploads, slays the Minotaur, and sails home with the Athenian youths.

The traditional story is simplified: there is nothing about the parentage of the Minotaur or the help given to Theseus by the king’s daughter, Ariadne; the Athenians find their way out of the maze with the assistance of Daedalus, its architect, who escapes with them rather than, as in the myth, by an aerial route.


JONATHAN DOVE The Monster in the Maze

Sir Simon Rattle conductor
Florian Hoffmann Theseus
Eva Vogel Mother
Pavlo Hunka Daedalus
Götz Schubert Minos
Gabriel Manz Minotaur
Simon Halsey choral director
Berliner Philharmoniker and Young Musicians

Alasdair Middleton libretto
German adaptation by Arne Muus
Annechien Koerselman stage director
Uta Materne designer

World Premiere

JONATHAN DOVE The Monster in the Maze

Sir Simon Rattle conductor
Andrew Rees Theseus
Yvonne Howard Mother
Joshua Bloom Daedalus
Malcolm Storry Minos
LSO Discovery Junior Choir (Lucy Griffiths conductor)
LSO Discovery Senior Choir and LSO Community Choir (David Lawrence conductor)
Simon Halsey choral director
Guildhall Symphony Orchestra
London Symphony Orchestra

Alasdair Middleton libretto
Thomas Guthrie stage director
Rhys Jarman designer

UK Premiere

This concert also included a performance of Walton Symphony No 1, performed by LSO players side-by-side with Guildhall School musicians.

JONATHAN DOVE The Monster in the Maze

Sir Simon Rattle conductor
Damien Bigourdan Theseus
Lucie Roche Mother
Damien Pass Dedalus
Miloud Khétib Minos
Chorus of children, teenagers and adults
Simon Halsey choral director
Orchestre des Jeunes de la Méditerranée
London Symphony Orchestra

Alasdair Middleton libretto
French adaptation by Alain Perroux
Marie-Ève Signeyrole stage director
Fabien Teigné designer
Philippe Berthomé lighting

First Fully-Staged Performance

The Creative Team

Jonathan Dove
Jonathan DoveComposer
Jonathan Dove’s music has filled opera houses with delighted audiences of all ages on five continents. Few, if any, contemporary composers have so successfully or consistently explored the potential of opera to communicate, to create wonder and to enrich people’s lives. As well as three community operas for Glyndebourne, he has written Work in Progress to celebrate the completion of The Sage, Gateshead in 2005, three pieces for the London Borough of Hackney, and the award-winning cantata On Spital Fields (2005) for the Spitalfields Festival, in east London, of which he was artistic director from 2001 to 2006.
Alasdair Middleton
Alasdair MiddletonLibrettist
Alasdair Middleton was born in Yorkshire and trained at the Drama Centre, London. His work as a librettist includes: with Jonathan Dove – The Monster in the Maze (Berliner Philharmoniker, London Symphony Orchestra, Aix-en-Provence Festival), Diana and Actaeon (Royal Ballet), The Walk From The Garden (Aegeas Salisbury International Arts Festival), Life Is A Dream (Birmingham Opera), Mansfield Park (Heritage Opera), Swanhunter (Opera North), The Enchanted Pig (The Young Vic, ROH2), The Adventures of Pinocchio (Opera North), and the cantata On Spital Fields (Spitalfields Festival, winner of a Royal Philharmonic Society Award) and The Feathered Friend.
Sir Simon Rattle
Sir Simon RattleConductor
Simon Rattle was born in Liverpool and studied at the Royal Academy of Music. An exclusive EMI artist for many years, Rattle has made over 70 recordings for the label, and has received numerous prestigious international awards. In September 2002 he became Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Berliner Philharmoniker where he leads regular tours in Europe, North America and the Far East. Rattle was knighted in 1994 and has received many other distinctions in recognition of his artistic activities. Simon Rattle will become Music Director of the London Symphony Orchestra from September 2017.
Simon Halsey
Simon HalseyChoral Director
Simon Halsey is a sought-after conductor of choral repertoire at the very highest level and an ambassador for choral singing across the world. Since 2001 Halsey has been Principal Conductor of the Rundfunkchor Berlin, the permanent partner of the Berliner Philharmoniker. In the UK, Halsey has been Chorus Director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra Choruses for over 30 years and, in 2012, was appointed Choral Director of the London Symphony Orchestra and London Symphony Chorus. Halsey was awarded The Queen’s Medal for Music 2014 for his influence on the musical life of the UK.
Berliner Philharmoniker
Berliner Philharmoniker
Founded in 1882, the Berliner Philharmoniker have been among the world’s most eminent orchestras for a long time. In the first decades, the defining chief conductors were Hans von Bülow, Arthur Nikisch and Wilhelm Furtwängler, followed by Herbert von Karajan in 1955 and Claudio Abbado in 1989. In September 2002, Sir Simon Rattle assumed the post. Upon his inauguration, the orchestra‘s education programme, addressing new audiences, was initiated. The Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation benefits from the generous engagement of Deutsche Bank. Courtesy of its support, the Berliner Philharmoniker were able to start a new, innovative project: the Digital Concert Hall, which broadcasts the orchestra’s concerts live via internet.
London Symphony Orchestra
London Symphony Orchestra
The London Symphony Orchestra performs over 120 concerts a year and was named by Gramophone as one of the top five orchestras in the world. The LSO has an enviable family of artists; conductors include Valery Gergiev as Principal Conductor, Michael Tilson Thomas and Daniel Harding as Principal Guest Conductors, and André Previn as Conductor Laureate. The Orchestra also has long-standing relationships with some of the leading musicians in the world – Bernard Haitink, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Mitsuko Uchida and Maria João Pires, amongst others. The Orchestra is self-governing and made up of nearly a hundred talented players who also perform regularly as soloists and in chamber groups at LSO St Luke’s. The LSO is widely acclaimed by audiences and critics alike.
Festival d'Aix-en-Provence
Festival d'Aix-en-Provence
Every year since 1948, the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence has been boasting a programme of great variety: opera productions, Mozart works, major creations, rediscovery of Baroque masterpieces, chamber orchestra operas and exceptional series of concerts. With this diversity, it caters for an ever growing enthusiastic audience and was awarded “Best festival of the year” by the International opera awards 2014. Renowned for its artistic excellence, the Festival d’Aix has over the last years developed into a unique place where innovation is the key word, and has opened resolutely new horizons in the domains of artistic creation by fostering young talents coming from all around the world.

With thanks

Berliner Philharmoniker
Project supported by


London Symphony Orchestra
The LSO choirs taking part in this production are part of LSO Sing. LSO Sing is generously supported by the John S Cohen Foundation, the J Paul Getty Jnr Charitable Trust and Sir Siegmund Warburg’s Voluntary Settlement.

Festival d’Aix-en-Provence
A project supported by the patrons of the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence.


Franco-British fund for contemporary music, thanks to the support of the Institut Français, the  Sacem, the British Council, Bureau Export and the French Ministry of Culture


Mr. & Mrs. Michel-Yves Bolloré – Mr. & Mrs. Peter Espenhahn – Mr. & Mrs. Rupert Hambro
Mr. & Mrs. Christian Schlumberger – Mr. & Mrs. Henri-Michel Tranchimand