This issue of Essays on Sculpture is dedicated to an experimental contemporary opera, The Virtues of Things, a collaboration between writer Sally O'Reilly and composer Matt Rogers.
Set in a prop-making workshop, the opera is a tale of how objects are given meaning. From bell jars to epidemics via family dramas and entrepreneurial invention, this is an investigation into moral values and their association with inanimate things.
This essay features the full libretto, vivid images of the production and a roundtable discussion exploring sculptural thinking, where O'Reilly and Rogers were joined by Professor Matthew Fox (University of Glasgow), Lisa Le Feuvre (Henry Moore Institute) and Dominic Gray (Opera North).
Written in 2015, The Virtues of Things is a co-commission and co-production between Aldeburgh Music, Opera North and The Royal Opera.