Val works the toilets in Pleasure, a hedonistic gay club in the north of England. For years, she has been a shoulder to cry on and a confidante – much loved but viewed as an enigma. Why is she still there? Why does she never leave?

When a young man, both beautiful and unpredictable, arrives from the city and leaves a gift for Val – performed in this premiere production by the well-known British soprano Lesley Garrett – it marks the start of a passionate and violent night.

Born in Liverpool in 1988, composer Mark Simpson won BBC Young Musician of the Year as a clarinettist in 2006 and also, that same year, received the accolade of BBC Young Composer of the Year – the only individual to have won both competitions. In 2010 he won the Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Award, and he has a growing catalogue of works to his credit, including his orchestral scores A Mirror Fragment and Threads (both 2008) as well as sparks (2012), which have all been well received.

Most recently his oratorio The Immortal was performed to acclaim at the Manchester International Festival. Here he turns to opera for the first time; his librettist is long-time collaborator Melanie Challenger, whose poetry and prose have been widely admired.

Contains themes of an adult nature.

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