Film showing of the world premiere of Tim Benjamin’s Herakles

  • Date:
  • Location: Clothworkers Concert Hall
  • Time: 19:00

Tickets include the introductory talk (19:00), the film (19:45-21:35) and a complimentary glass of wine. Full price: £8. Concessions: £5. Leeds students: £3. Available from: the University Store (link to follow – credit/debit card payment), to reserve tickets to collect and pay for on the day, please email 

On Sunday 30th April 2017 the world premiere of Tim Benjamin’s thrilling musical drama Herakles in Todmorden Town Hall was filmed. The film shows this performance by the substantial forces of Todmorden Choral Societyand Todmorden Orchestra, together with a number of professional instrumentalists; five outstanding professional singers played the roles of Zeus, the mercurial Hermes, and the two terrifying Titans, Royalty and Tyranny; and the story was masterfully narrated by the professional actor who portrayed Time herself.

The Town Hall was full to capacity with an audience whose high expectations were not disappointed:

  • a wonderful collaboration of ideas from a group of incredibly talented people
  • This work deserves many more performances!
  • the interpretation of the music goes very well together with the academic research that underlies it
  • Excellent – a work that must be a candidate for a professional performance and recording – 5*

The narrative of Herakles is based an ancient Greek tale of the young Herakles’ choice between Virtue and Vice, which was popular in Renaissance art, and set as a cantata by Bach. Benjamin’s version follows a re-telling of the story by Dio Chrysostom in his Discourse on Kingship, delivered to the new Roman Emperor Trajan in 98CE.

We are introduced to Herakles in his childhood – portrayed by a treble – before he becomes the famous hero of the Twelve Labours. Destined to be a ruler of mankind, Zeus sends his son Herakles with Hermes, as a test, to the distant mountain eyrie of the Titans Lady Royalty and Lady Tyranny, to discover which he will choose as the model for his own future rule.

In a twenty-first century twist, the choice is framed as one between two extremes which the young everyman Herakles rejects. Instead asserting a mortal right to free self-determination. The contemporary message is complemented by the contemporary take on the traditional oratorio form.

Further information about the origins of the story and the compositional process can be found on the Musical Drama page and in the podcast interview with Tim Benjamin.

DVDs of the film will be available to purchase at the event, price £10, and online afterwards, price £10 plus postage and packing.