Unexpectedly Vacant – a 25’ opera
by Michael Maxwell Steer
for 3 performers and 3 instrumentalists.

Showpiece for soprano with baritone in the opening and closing scene. The action takes place in a bedsit apartment in a large city.

Unexpectedly Vacant is a 30’ opera


1 Early evening. A letting agent shows a young woman a bedsit which is 'unexpectedly vacant'.

2 [51"] She agrees to take it. As they complete the formalities we learn that she is a photographer who wants to embark on project photographing the effects of global warming. The agent leaves.

3 [6'13"] She settles in, delighted to be making a new start after leaving her boyfriend.

4 [10'15"] Putting on the kettle, she phones a friend, then looks for a wastebin to put her teabag, but finds a sealed black binliner. Opening it she's stunned to find wads of high denomination banknotes.

5 [16'33"] All sorts of things go throu her head: it's obviously hot money, but whose /why?

6 [19'08"] The woman obsessively searches for clues, but all finds is a card for a Taiwanese 'ozone regeneration' corporation. Then she reflects on the big project she's trying fund and has almost persuades herself that she could take the money and run ...

Suddenly a bullet smashes the light.

7 [24'06"] When the lights come back up the agent showing a new tenant round (mute role), using identical language about the flat being 'unexpectedly vacant.'Early evening. A letting agent shows a young woman round a small apartment saying it is 'unexpectedly vacant.’

Performance by Catrine Kirkman, Matthew Kellett & Somi Kim
Demo recorded at the Savile Club London in June 2015 by Matthew Kellett, Catrine Kirkman and Somi Kim. Produced by Michael Maxwell Steer

View the Libretto here or download it here

Follow a scrolling score of the work

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