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Yerma 1

Like The Hollow Men, composed nearly two decades earlier, the opera Yerma (1959) may be regarded as a landmark in the composer's stylistic evolution during this period, and also the culmination of the Lorca influence in the composer's work at this time.

The opera was commissioned by Sadler's Wells Trust in 1955 under its then director, Norman Tucker (1910-78), to capitalise upon the recent success of the ballet Blood Wedding. It was composed mainly in San Fernando, Trinidad, where ApIvor had relocated to take up a consultant anaesthetist's post in 1955, and was completed and orchestrated in England in 1959.

The librettist was Montagu Slater, chosen by ApIvor on the basis of his collaboration with Benjamin Britten on Peter Grimes (1945). Unfortunately Slater fell ill and died during the course of working on the opera's third act, which ApIvor undertook to complete himself on the basis of the sketches Slater had left behind.

ApIvor also experienced problems during this time when he became immobilised by a serious stomach illness, leading to the discharge from his post and relocation to England in circumstances of financial difficulty.