‘Tragedy and loss are the themes running through all five of the operas. None more eloquently expressed than in the big hit of the evening, 74° Degrees North involving a ghostly encounter at an icebound grave on Beechy Island.
Composer Paul Mealor, with an electro-acoustic score by Pete Stollery, creates a tense, thrilling setting for Peter Davidson’s libretto… As an expression of mood and place, this is brilliantly done. Jeremy Huw Williams is excellent as a member of the Arctic Survey on his day off at the end of an expedition, with Alexander Grove adding a menacing presence as the ghostly manifestation of a body, 160 years dead but still frozen in the permafrost.
It is harsh, uncompromising music, but easily at one with what it is conveying. The glacial electronica, over-layered with strong percussive elements from the live orchestra and the astringent lines from the singers create a piece which, under Michael McCarthy’s direction, touches human fragility in the face of nature.’
Thom Dibdin (Annals of the Edinburgh Stage)
’74 Degrees North sees composers Pete Stollery and Paul Mealor join forces to create a haunting electric-acoustic and vocal soundworld that chills the ear in its evocation of a bleak Arctic landscape peopled by Peter Davidson’s ghostly narrative.’
Lynne Walker (The Independent)
‘In 74 Degrees North, composers Pete Stollery and Paul Mealor have combined their skills in electric-acoustic and vocal music to produce a score hauntingly evocative of an Arctic landscape.’
Andrew Clark (The Financial Times)
’74 Degrees North is a superb collaboration between electro-acoustic composer Pete Stollery and orchestral man Paul Mealor, retelling the story of death in the frozen north… in the final lines, the calm fatalism of the characters succeeds in drawing attention to the central themes of lonesomeness and suffering letting the music evoke the mood…’
Gareth K Vile (The Skinny)
’74 Degrees North is a unique double act, which represents a grafting of Paul Mealor’s acoustic score on to Peter Stollery’s electronic score. It works well as a spooky backdrop to Peter Davidson’s Arctic ghost story.’
Kenneth Walton (The Scotsmans)
‘I found 74° North very powerful, the raging dissonances and electro-acoustic score helping to evoke the relentless chill of the arctic setting.’
Simon Thompson (Musicweb-International)