Choral and Opera

Choral and Opera montage

For twenty years, Tim has worked as a lyricist, librettist, surtitlist, translator and adaptor on a wide range of musical projects.

I Fagiolini

Tim has enjoyed a long and fruitful collaboration with the vocal group I Fagiolini under its director, Robert Hollingworth, and they have performed his work at the Cadogan Hall, St John’s Smith Square, at the Stour Early Music Festival, the York Early Music Festival, the Brighton Festival, the Cheltenham Festival of Music, the Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music, the Bermuda Festival, the BBC Proms, on CD and DVD.

2018 – The Brexit Train – lyrics (based on the song The Slow Train by Flanders and Swann)

I Fagiolini's 'The Brexit Train'

2015 – Le Molière Imaginaire (or Keep Your Enemas Closer) - lyrics for music by Andrew Schultz
“urbane, virtuosic, cultured, witty and naughty in equal measure, offering the only time in Musica Viva’s 70-year history that a performance has concluded with the words: ‘burning piss.’” Carl Vine, Musica Viva Australia Blog
Winner Australian Art Music Award for Vocal/Choral Work of the Year

2013 – Dido and Aeneas – rhymed introduction to the opera by Henry Purcell
Performed by the BBC Singers, Robert Hollingworth (conductor)

2012 – Damnalot! – lyrics for music by Roderick Williams

2011 – King Arthur – rhymed text to replace dramatic scenes in the opera by Henry Purcell
First performed by Richard Pryal at Dartington International Summer School, orchestra and singers conducted by John Hancorn
Revised rhymed text performed 2014 as part of the Spitalfields Music Festival, performed by Kit Hesketh-Harvey, broadcast on BBC Radio 3

2010 – The Spell - text inspired by Canto XVI of Torquato Tasso’s Gerusalemme Liberata for music by Orlando Gough
Commissioned and first performed by I Fagiolini at Cadogan Hall, commission sponsored by PRS for Music Foundation and the National Centre for Early Music
✭✭✭✭ “explosive... quirky and imaginative” The Times

2009 – Acis and Galatea – rhymed introductions to each scene of the opera by George Frideric Handel
The Fairy Queen – rhymed introductions to each scene of the opera by Henry Purcell
Commissioned by and first performed at the Trigonale Festival of Early Music

2004 – (Say What You Like) He Had Soul – lyrics for music by Roderick Williams for Artery production of Faust in Amsterdam

2003 - Festino nella sera del Giovedì grasso avanti cena/The Little Carnival Party – rhymed introductions to each scene of the madrigal comedy by Adriano Banchieri

2002 – L’Amfiparnaso/The Twin Peaks of Parnassus – rhymed introductions to each scene of the madrigal comedy by Orazio Vecchi

Performed on DVD by Simon Callow

I FAGIOLINI : L'Amfiparnaso - Act 1 / Sc. 3 - DVD Clip

“A sparkling accomplishment” Fanfare
Barca di Venetia a Padova/A Boat From Venice To Padua – rhymed introductions to each scene of the madrigal comedy by Adriano Banchieri
“Witty, scurrilous introductions” Classical Net Review

2001 – La Pazzia Senile/The Mad Old Git – rhymed introductions and translated lyrics of the madrigal comedy by Adriano Banchieri (with thanks to Roger Savage), directed by Peter Wilson
“sheer bad taste and panache… Double entendres and appalling rhymes flew in this updating of a typical commedia dell’arte… Both singing and acting rose to the occasion magnificently” Daily Telegraph

2000 - O Gramo Pantalon/Poor Luckless Pantaloon – new lyrics for music by Giovanni Croce Premièred at BBC Proms, Victoria and Albert Museum
Available on CD Carnevale Veneziano
“a wonderful send-up” Daily Telegraph

1999 – Una parola nell’orecchio/A Word in Your Ear – text for music by Roderick Williams 

Handmade Opera

Tim provided spoken text to replace the recitative in the following operas, performed at Cliveden, Wantage and the Howden Festival

2007 – Così fan tutte by WA Mozart and Lorenzo Da Pone

2006 – The Marriage of Figaro by WA Mozart and Lorenzo Da Pone

2005 – The Barber of Seville by Gioachino Rossini and Cesare Sterbini.

Richard Peat

Tim has worked as lyricist/librettist with the composer a number of times

2021 - Me Time - short opera inspired by lockdown
Performed online by Green Opera

'Me Time', Timothy Knapman/Richard Peat

2019 - Sanctorum Cantuarienses, including Why Did God? (The Dream of St Anselm) – text

Performed by the Choir of Selwyn College, Cambridge and Onyx Brass in Selwyn College Chapel and St Bride’s Church, Fleet Street (a John Armitage Memorial Trust “Music of Our Time” concert)

2010 - Fiery The Angels – text
Performed by Giles Underwood (bass), Onyx Brass, Nicholas Cleobury (conductor) at St Bride’s Church, Fleet Street, commissioned by the John Armitage Memorial Trust, broadcast on Radio 3

2009 – Why Did God? (The Dream of St Anselm) – text
Performed by The King’s School Crypt Choir, Howard Ionascu (conductor) in Canterbury Cathedral and at the Abbey of Bec, Normandy

2006 - I’m The King of the Castle – opera libretto based on the novel by Susan Hill
Performed by the Castle Ensemble, Andrew Morley (conductor) in the Holywell Music Room, Oxford

Other Projects

2021 - La vie parisienne by Jacques Offenbach, dialogue revisions of the libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy
Commissioned and first performed by Schlossgartenfestspiele Neustrelitz

2016 – Totally Fluxed – lyrics for music by Stuart Matthew Price
Performed by a big scary Jack in the Box, just when you least expected it.
For Chambers of Flavour V.2, an adventure by Gingerline

2015 – Orontea – libretto translation for surtitles of the opera by Antonio Cesti and Giacinto Andrea Cicognini
Commissioned and first performed by La Nuova Musica at the Wigmore Hall
“The surtitles, pitched somewhere between Carry On film and Restoration bawdry, occasionally went over the top. Good, dirty fun, though, and a real treat.” The Guardian
“Timothy Knapman provded a 
surtitled translation rather too liberal with vulgar doubles entendres, but no harm done.” The Daily Telegraph

2015 – The Electrictionary – opera libretto for music by Alexis Bennett, with an introduction by Alex Horne
Performed by the Early Music Experiment and Guests at Kings Place, London

2014 – Downstream Technology song for BP – text set to the music of The Major-General’s Song by WS Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan 
Performed by Kit Hesketh-Harvey, produced and arranged by Barnaby Robson

2014 – Don’t Be Afraid – text for an Easter anthem for music by Joanne Casey

2011 – A Light in the Darkness – text for a Christmas anthem for music by Joanne Casey

2009 – Bel Canto – book for a musical revue, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

2009 – We Can Always Move – poem for the Early Music Experiment

2008 – The Night Knight – libretto for a madrigal comedy with music by Scott Gendel
Commissioned by the University of Madison-Wisconsin

2007 – Poem Celebrating the 21 st birthday of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Performed by Simon Callow at the Royal Festival Hall

2007 – Cantari Dignus – text for music by John Bate
Commissioned by Kingston Festival of the Voice, first performed in Kingston Parish Church by the Thames Philharmonic Choir