‘Wikipedia sex opera’ finds star turn in girlfriend of England Rugby captain Chris Robshaw

Life From Light

Life From Light - Credit: Alicja Rogalska

To capture the public’s hearts with his controversial opera Life from Light, Toni Castells has made some tweaks, secured singer Camilla Kerslake’s services and uttered some choice words ahead of its new airing at the Tete a Tete Festival.

Toni Castells (left) with Camilla Kerslake

Toni Castells (left) with Camilla Kerslake - Credit: Chris Robshaw

Two years ago, Life from Light, which features vivid descriptions of sex taken verse for verse from Wikipedia, was performed for the first time at the Union Chapel in Islington.

Castells, originally from Barcelona, says the people who were present that night for the one-off debut loved it and some were even moved to tears.

After taking the performance around the world, he is now keen to get as many people as possible in London, his adopted home, to watch the opera.

“It has really touched people, but, in terms of the industry and the press, it has gone unnoticed,” Castells says.

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“That is the difficult thing about London: you have to work really hard to be heard.

“Some people did not get it. The press just got the little gimmicks.”

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Castells adds that his main aim is to get Life from Light a permanent spot at a London theatre.

The precociously talented musician, classically trained from the age of four, admits he has made some musical alterations to the opera since 2012.


That night, he suffered from his soprano, Kerslake, dropping out at short notice after Andrea Bocelli asked her to perform with him instead at the O2.

This time around, Kerslake, the girlfriend of England rugby captain Chris Robshaw, is back to lend some star appeal to Castells’ latest effort.

“The greatest privilege of all is when an artist comes and performs your music and makes it better,” says Castells, who arrived in London in 2000 for a holiday to work alongside Spanish pop sensation Jose Maria Cano but ended up staying on.

“Camilla is a very good singer. She is a quiet woman, but is very driven.”

Life from Light, adds the composer, was created from two things: an espisode of a television documentary series called How to Grow a Planet, from which the name came, and a newspaper article about medical research in America.

The research had found that people’s ideas became more entrenched the more scientists tried to change their subject’s viewpoint.

“Basically, if someone doesn’t believe in global warming, then it does not mean they are going to change their mind if they are given the right information.”

Bearing this is in mind, Castells’s wish is for each audience member to take “what they want” from Life From Light.

“It is not telling you to do this or that, but it is just about giving the audience their own experience,” he says.

“It is about taking people to a place when they can reflect on what it is to be human.”

n Life from Light will be performed at the Te?te a? Te?te on August 7 and 8. Online tickets cost £7.50. The performance starts at 7.05pm at Kings Place Hall, York Way, Kings Cross, N1 9AG. Visit www.kingsplace.co.uk/whats-on-book-tickets/

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