Press: 2014 and earlier

Until the Glass Shatters

Scottish Daily Express - 5 stars

"a stunning piece"

The Scotsman - 4 stars

"Gareth Williams' highly imaginative Until the Glass Shatters, specially written for this tour, takes us beyond the usual operatic expectations"

Bachtrack - 4 stars

"The unexpected highlight of the evening was a very new piece from Scottish Opera's composer in residence, Gareth Williams... 'Until the Glass Shatters' was a devastating, beautiful and haunting piece written for this tour for a trio of singers..."

Reviews: 2014

Last One Out at Edinburgh Fringe

Words - Johnny McKnight

Music - Gareth Williams

The List - 4 stars

Last One Out is hardle an opera in the traditional sense - it's more of a poignant, highly evocative mystery tale that happens to be sung. In any case, much of its music comes from an onstage radio - in the form of composer Gareth Williams' masterful evocations of late-night country ballads - alongside his rippling, glowingly harmonious score for live string trio.

Daily Express - 4 stars

The singing is exquisite, and the music brims with melancholic longing. This is an odd but memorable piece: short, involving and hauntingly beautiful.

_ _ _

The Sloans Project at Edinburgh Fringe

Words - David Brock

Music - Gareth Williams

Opera Britannia - 4 stars

utterly spellbinding... the experience is electric. It is musically coherent and full of stories which are highly charged with laughter and sadness. It deserves to do well anywhere... Gareth Williams' score is modern yet melodic. There are snatches of tunes which stick in the mind and powerful rhythmic pulses that linger in the memory.

The Times - 4 stars

Wine, women and song... Williams built his evocative score around the sounds of the pub - wine glasses sang or clinked, an accordion accompanied a dead man's favourite tune.

Reviews: 2013

The End of the World, for One Night Only (Dec 2012)
(A collaboration)

 

Bachtrack - 5 stars

By the end of this extraordinary evening there was a
genuine sense of joy and community in the venue. An
ingenious and spectacularly co-ordinated teat had been
pulled Off and the audience communicated their warmth
with lasting applause.

 

The Herald - 4 stars

Why not go out to a good tune?

The Scotsman - 4 stars

In the end, it seemed like an explosion not only or creative
invention, but of beauty; never to he repeated, maybe, but
full of the kind of promise that makes the end of the world
seem unlikely, after all.

 

_ _ _

Last One Out (Nov 2012)

The Scotsman - 5 stars

Williams's radiant string score, at one point played by
performers tucked in beside the lighthouses spiral staircase,
brought warmth and light to the building‘s chilly corners,
and the two singers were beautifully understated yet
powerful. What took it to another level, though, was the joy
of piecing together the work’s two complementary stories —
that, and the added resonance gained from the
performance's remarkable venue.

_ _ _

Elephant Angel (Oct 2012)

The Herald - 5 stars

If Scottish Opera's Golden Jubilee year is recalled tor anything,
it should be this superb family show, written by Bernard
MacLaverty and Gareth Williams and based on the true story
of a female zookeeper who saves a baby elephant at Belfast
Zoo during the Blitz. I know this one will live in my memory
longer than most. It has just five more performances, starting
with Greenock‘s Arts Guild Theatre tomorrow. If you can get
to one, on no account miss it.

BachTrack - 4 stars

The Elephant Angel was a particularly haunting tale which the
audience and performers..will take home with them. They will
talk about the strange story and the humanity and kindness of
the keeper, but will remember exactly how they felt when the
animals were taken away. Television will never get close to
packing the punch that live opera of this quality achieves.

 

Scotsman - 4 stars

This is opera made fresh, reminiscent of a range of children’s
operas from Britten to Maxwell Davies, but given its own
defining magnetism through music that blends a soft
minimalist cocktail with lyricism. Williams conducted the
small pit ensemble, and held the performance together
splendidly.

 

_ _ _

Gethsemane

 

Michael Tumelty The Herald May 2010
“Incredibly beautiful"

_ _ _ 

A Short Treatise on Love and Miracles

 

Alan Cooper - The Herald Nov 2009
A fascinating piece that worked on so many different
levels... most thoroughly perplexing and thought provoking

 

Neil Jones - The Scotsman Nov 2009
“A piece not just about love, but to love for it's own sake."

 

_ _ _

White

Premiered at 5:15 2009 (Scottish Opera)

 

Seen and Heard Opera Review March 09

"White was intense and strident, a seemingly endlessly
repeated top note on the keyboard setting the scene for the
sterile environment of the hospital where a cleaner comes to
terms with her own grief at the loss of a child. through
sharing in that of another family."

 

_ _ _

The King’s Conjecture

Premiered at 5:15 2008 (Scottish Opera)

 

Raymond Monelle- The Independent- (4 stars) March 2008
“This was a lyrical and poignant tale, set in the time of
King James IV. Williams’s music - liquid, translucent, deeply
moving - was built around the evening's only true aria."

Andrew Clarke The Financial Times (4 stars) March 2003
“I came away from 5:15 thrilled, stimulated, and, yes.
moved... The Kings Conjecture was a fairy tale based on an
audacious paradox - the power of a mute woman to
articulate the all-conquering language of love. It boasted a
beautiful soprano aria (“I light the fire for love“), a highly
charged climax and a starry central performance from Kate
Valentine. Pacing, dramaturgy and musical content spoke
volumes for the Williams - Maclaverty partnership."

 

Neil Jones - Opera Now Magazine May/June 2003
“The King's Conjecture was a little gem... Williams' inventive
and poignant music.. Williams’ music was simply terrific -
melodic, musical and with intense dynamic variation.
Somehow, in the short time made available to him, he
managed to make this sound like a much more substantial
opera, and yet made great use of silence and gave no
impression that the piece was in any

way rushed."

_ _ _

Love in the Blue Corner

Michael Tumelty - The Herald (5 stars) May 2006

“Gareth Williams's one act boxing opera is like nothing else
I've seen in a theatre. It turns its subject inside out. There is
only one boxer. He's a loser and he dies, beaten to a pulp. He
stands, silent and still in a red-lit centre of the ring, while a.
makeup artist daubs him with the sweat, bruises, cuts,
fractures and wounds that leave him wrecked.

The action is in Williams's postminimalist, postmodern
music, belted out by the ensemble, and given voice by the
trainer, who exhorts his stubborn failure of a protege to
move, jab, dance, persist, It was a heartbreaking tragedy in
a mind expanding night from the students."

More reviews...