By Jon

I've finished! Or at least that's what I've been going round telling everyone; in fact I've just finished setting the vocal lines and the harmonies, having in the process pushed Poppy's near saint-like patience almost to the limit with my repeated texts and emails asking if we can shave yet another couple of syllables off a line.

I've now got to orchestrate the opera for our five-piece band, and have got about 4 weeks to do it before I have to send the completed score to our conductor Andrew Gourlay, the vocal part to the singers and the instrumental parts to Aurora.

I've made a chart on my studio wall with the total number of bars in the opera (1341), and the number of days left before the deadline, and I've worked out I need to orchestrate at least 123 bars a day to keep on top of things. So far I'm just about managing to do it, thanks in no small part to my assistant Fran, who's input all my manuscript material into Sibelius (a software notation programme), which has saved me a huge amount of time. Once I've (eventually) finished that and sent the score to Andrew, I'll need to go through it again, this time reducing the instrumental version to a keyboard and voice arrangement that we can work with in rehearsal with Aurora's fantastic repetiteur John Reid for a couple of days before the other musicians arrive.

Very excited now the performance at Sadler's Wells has been confirmed, and very much looking forward to hearing it played live by such fantastic musicians.