Marc Almond announces the release of Ten Plagues on 7th July 2014 on SFE Records through Cherry Red; a special 2-disc package incorporating an all-new studio recording of the complete work on CD, alongside a live performance DVD of the Ten Plagues song cycle performed at London’s atmospheric Wilton’s Music Hall.
Ten Plagues is a one hour-long song cycle written especially for Marc Almond by celebrated playwright Mark Ravenhill (Shopping And F**king, Mother Clap’s Molly House, The Cut) with music by accomplished musical dramatist Conor Mitchell. Ten Plagues is set during London’s 1665 Great Plague and tells the story of a city in the grip of crisis and disease through the eyes of a survivor (Almond). Wracked by the loss of his friends, lovers, family and sanity, he tries to hold on to his humanity despite the unrelenting grief, mourning, despair and physical isolation which the plague is causing.
Ten Plagues in turn evokes a poignant parallel with humanity’s reactions to more contemporary epidemics; such as the fear, hysteria and prejudice directed at the first victims of AIDS – initially referred to as a ‘gay plague’ – and the fear, isolation and ostracism from society experienced by sufferers at the outset. After experiencing the loss of many loved ones himself to AIDS related illnesses, Marc comments;“You could take Ten Plagues literally, as a historical piece. But you can also see parallels at a time when we seem to be obsessed with fear, pandemic and viruses”.
Ten Plagues debuted at the Traverse Theatre in 2011 during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where it won the prestigious Fringe First Award. Marc remembers: “If I could perform a piece such as Ten Plagues, I could do anything. Nothing would daunt me again.” And so it proved, for Ten Plagues was indeed another important turning point in Almond’s diverse and acclaimed career, giving him the confidence and credibility to tackle all new dramatic stage roles including Seneca in Poppea (a reworking of Monteverdi’s The Coronation of Poppea) performed in 2012 at Le Châtelet Opera House in Paris, and to act in The Tyburn Tree; a collaboration with the award winning composer John Harle in 2014.
In 2013 Ten Plagues ran for a month at London’s most unique venue; the historic Wilton’s Music Hall, and is captured on DVD for this release. Accompanied by composer Conor Mitchell on piano and video projections in an otherwise minimalistic set up, Almond brings to life Ravenhill’s thought-provoking script through his poignant vocals and charismatic stage presence. Ten Plagues combines music, drama and opera in a unique piece of art that, whilst depicting a tragic time in London’s history, evokes scenarios still relevant to contemporary times.
Reviews for Ten Plagues at Wilton’s Music Hall:
‘Marc Almond brings alive the horrors of the plague (and by implication its modern equivalent, AIDS) in a way no other pop singer except Diamanda Galás could..Ten Plagues is his tour de force’ The Guardian
‘Venue, singer and material are a perfect fit.Moving, thought-provoking.Seeing it inside a building erected within the lifespan of plague survivors, on the very streets it affected, adds to its power’ Independent on Sunday
Disc One – Studio Recording CD
Disc Two – Ten Plagues: The Live Stage Show DVD, Filmed at Wilton’s Music Hall
Tracklisting as above
Pre-order link: http://www.cherryred.co.uk/shopexd.asp?id=4711
Marc Almond, winner of the 2013 Ivor Novello Inspiration Award, also releases an extended EP The Dancing Marquis on June 16th. The Dancing Marquis – featuring collaborations with Tony Visconti, Jarvis Cocker and Carl Barat – combines two previously limited edition releases with two brand new tracks and two exclusive and stunning remixes. Marc is touring throughout 2014 with Jools Holland.