Museums at Night 2018

Saturday 19th May

What's On

For some years we have taken part in Museums at Night, a national festival of late openings and events in museums, held in May. There won't be a Museums at Night in 2019. Instead, we are expecting to take part in a new festival, for the time being called "London Lates". More details will be added when plans are made. The page below has been left in place for those with an interest in the work of Nomoi, the Italian contemporary music ensemble that performed in May 2017 and May 2018. For pictures of the performance,

An evening cultural event

Text on coloured bars - Museums at Night

Pictures of 2018 on Facebook

Essential information

Ticket Prices

Adult £8, Concessions £6.


The performance will start at 1930. Doors will be open from 1830 and there will be a cash bar before and after the performance. The performance lasts about 70 minutes.

How to book

Bookings can be made online using the form on this page. You will be taken to a booking service powered by Tygit Ltd who use Sage Pay for payment processing. Payment is by credit or debit card. At present you can not book in person or by telephone. In-person and telephone bookings will be available later.

Licensed Bar

A licenced bar will be available selling beer, wine and soft drinks before and after the performance and during the interval.

About the show

The concert is a symphonic poem in five movements:

I - the sun in Ulysses
II - the dancing Satyr
III - the wood Nymph
IV – the Sciara of fire
V - Penelope's night

The 2nd, 3rd and 4th movements forming the central block are gathered in a triptych originally written and published under the title Triptych of the earth and the sea, for voice, flute and guitar. The 1st movement, with a prelude function, is a composition based on elaborations and variations having as their centre the series of harmonics founding the 5th movement, Penelope’s Night, which originally was born as a nocturne for guitar.

Young lady with long dark hair in a white flowing dress sits on the floor as bespectacled older musician plays guitar, wearing black shirt, behindThe music "The sun in Ulysses" represents a tribute to the famous Ulysses by James Joyce. There are also continuous references to the Odyssey and various references to places and fragments of Magna Graecia and Greek culture in general. From a formal point of view, music is "played" in tune with the writing technique used by Joyce in his novel.

Ulysses is a novel written by James Joyce. It is considered one of the most important novels of twentieth century literature, and is one of the milestones in the genesis of the modern novel.

James Joyce uses the stream of consciousness technique, already used by the writer Virginia Woolf, to give voice to his characters and their deepest thoughts. It is precisely the disorderly flow of the thoughts of the protagonists, who jump from one memory or one thought to another, without logic, without respecting the temporal rules, that make the plot interesting but also complex.

Ulysses is the story of a day, June 16, 1904, of a group of inhabitants of Dublin. Joyce chose this date because it was the day when Nora Barnacle, his future wife, understood that she had fallen in love with him. The characters in an apparently random crossover of the lives of others, determine the unfolding, and describe it, through a continuous inner monologue

In the novel Leopold Bloom, an Irish Jew, is a petty bourgeois, who betrays his wife Molly by whom he is betrayed.

At the opposite pole there is Stephen Dedalus, a well-educated, spiritual, aestheticising, problematic character. It is possible to identify the correspondences between Odyssey and Ulysses characters:

  • Ulysses is Leopold Bloom;
  • Penelope is his bride, Molly Bloom;
  • the role of Telemacus is assumed by Stephen Dedalus (who had been the protagonist of an autobiographical novel by Joyce, Portrait of the artist as a young man).

Male and Female dancers move close together with musicians and brick lit wall behindAs in Homer's Ulysses, also in Joyce's one, the hero represents man’s adventure in the world. Travelling allows the protagonist to build his own identity, enriching himself thanks to the differences that he comes into contact with, without being destroyed or absorbed by them. Moreover, just like in Homer’s Odyssey, Joyce's work does not refer exclusively to the subjectivity of poetry, but to the culture and history of humanity (which, in the Odyssey, was represented by the different lands explored by Ulysses, while in Joyce's work it is represented by the different personalities the hero meets).

Book Now for 2018

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The Music

The Sun in Ulysses

Penelope's harmonics are "sung" by the sound sculpture and are mixed with the chords of the guitars in an electronic atmosphere and they multiply randomly. In this way they define the plot that Ulysses, far from his kingdom, his home and his bride, perceives as a pure vortex, an infinite cadence of his emotional states. Ulysses is not sure if he wants to return. The sun in him will have to be an intrinsic, daily motivation, a force that must be found in his difficult but at the same time intriguing journey, to be able continue to desire the return and for this, as the sun rises every morning driving away the dark so it will be necessary for his will to be reborn every day.

The Dancing Satyr

A young lady in white flowing dress reaches for the  timber roof of the museum in 2017The satyr (in ancient Greek: satyros, in the plural satyroi) is a mythical male figure, companion of Pan and Dionysus, who inhabits woods and mountains. It is a minor deity, personification of fertility and vital force of nature, connected with the Dionysian cult. In ancient Roman religion it is known as "faun".

The Wood Nymph

The Nymphs (ancient Greek: Nymph., lit. "maidens" or "brides") are goddesses of the Greek religion; divine powers of woods, mountains, waters and springs, trees, but also of regions or towns or countries. Therefore they are immortal beings even if in late times they were sometimes considered as mortals, and in any case from long-lived life. The nature of the Nymphs corresponds to the area of the divine power of Pudor, therefore to the privacy and amazement of what is immaculate and therefore silent. Companions of the goddess Artemis, herself appealed as Pudor, are characterized, like the goddess, by beauty. When the god Pan plays the divine flute, echoing the harmony of primordial silence, the Nymphs dance, wandering on the mountains and singing in a melodious way.

Sciara of Fire

Steep slope, formed of lava, lapilli and incandescent waste, which from the crater of the volcano Stromboli descends to the sea.According to Greek mythology, the god of fire Hephaestus, owned his underground forge in the bowels of Etna, where he worked next to the Cyclops, giants whose single eye recalls the shape of a crater. When Ulysses, a veteran of the Trojan war, landed at the Aeolian Islands, Aeolus hosted him and, moved by the story of the Greek hero, gave him the goatskin containing the winds opposed to navigation. During the journey Ulysses let only the sweet Zephyr blow but while the hero was sleeping, his companions of navigation, believing that the goatskin given to him by Aeolus was full of treasures, opened it freeing the worst winds, which triggered a terrible storm from which only the ship of Ulysses was saved. The Greek geographer Strabo, praised "the warm waters and the puffs of fire" of Lipari, while describing Vulcan as "the island of flame with its three breaths coming from three craters". In the narration made by the Greek geographer , finally, Stromboli, called Strogile (round), was "inferior for the violence of the flame, but superior for the resonance of its roars.

male and female dancers clasp together in a dance move in a rehersal studio with musicians to the side

Penelope’s Night

Penelope's canvas was a famous stratagem, narrated in the Odyssey, conceived by Penelope, the wife of Ulysses who, in order not to come to new weddings, given the prolonged absence from Ithaca of her husband Ulysses, had subordinated the choice of the pretender to completion of what should have been the funeral sheet of her father-in-law Laerte. To prevent this from happening, the night she unraveled the canvas she had woven during the day.

Comparing the Homeric Penelope to Joyce’s Molly, the music transfigures the woman who, during a sleepless night, confronts painfully with her long wait and this canvas that is nothing but the plot of her own life that can have one, two or still endless aspects. Penelope remains in her suspended time, and perhaps she still wants Ulysses to come back, or perhaps she wants him never to come back.

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