Rough Trade

Antony and the Johnsons




We think this is rather beautiful:

Antony and the Johnsons The Unthanks cover Antony & the Johnsons' 'Paddy's Gone' at Union Chapel:


Antony & The Johnsons: Swanlights With The Britten Sinfonia At The Royal Opera House 09/05/13 in Antony and the Johnsons

We are excited to announce that The Royal Opera House will present the first London performances of Antony and The Johnsons: Swanlights with the Britten Sinfonia on 25 and 26 July 2013.

Tickets (£25-£100) are on sale now from the box office: 020 7304 4000 or online at

This extraordinary performance piece was originally commissioned by New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and was presented at Radio City Music Hall in January 2012 to great acclaim; later in 2012 Swanlights enjoyed huge success at the 2012 Melbourne Festival.

Swanlights is an evolution of Antony and The Johnsons: The Crying Light, presented at the Manchester Opera House for the 2009 Manchester International Festival featuring songs from all four of Antony and the Johnsons’ albums – self-titled, The Crying Light, Swanlights and Mercury Prize winning I am a Bird Now.

This performance includes the Britten Sinfonia, with orchestra arrangements by Nico Muhly, Rob Moose and Maxim Moston. Envisioned as a meditation on light, nature, and femininity, Swanlights is produced in collaboration with light artist Chris Levine, lighting designer Paul Normandale, set designer Carl Robertshaw and lighting director Emma Westerberg.

Of the performance, Antony says:

“It took so long for the Universe to dream of this place.
I thank the earth everyday for making me transgender, because it makes me like an animal, beyond the providence of Christians and patriarchies. I live on the outskirts of society, and I have become feral and intuitive.
Circles of mothers, please usher in an era of profoundly feminine governance. Let a circle expand across the world, through governments and businesses and homes and laboratories and prisons and schools.
Because I don’t want your future. I hope when I die, that I never return to your world. I will go where the trees go, I will go where the wind goes, where the birds go; I will leave you all to enjoy the world that you are creating for your children.
I want then to be a dead body at the bottom of the lake. Gut me with sticks and stuff my body full of lavender crystals. I want my spirit to jump out of me, refracting in the crazy water. I will go with all my friends, the Wild Life.
When I find the Swanlights, my eyes cry species, casting green and gold upon the black water. When a horse jumped from a dolphin’s body, a crystal white shard of living light pierced through my gut like a whaler’s spear; it tore through my stomach, that revealing curse. Apollo calls his prey, and sirens sweat the bluebell’s coarse toward thin spiral memories. I ache, the white plateau…. So grant me absence, that the golden threads may rise at last, my eyes dumb blind and donefold.”

– Antony

“…gorgeously appointed cries from the heart, crashing like waves…a private supplication sumptuous enough to enthrall Radio City.” – New York Times

“When the curtains finally closed on the 90-minute performance, the sold-out Radio City crowd…blasted the theater with thunderous applause.” – Billboard

“It was that rare kind of performance that breaks your heart only to have the pieces lovingly reassembled, down to the tiniest, most tender bloody shard.” – BrooklynVegan

“Layered screen projections and lasers swept the darkened theater, gradually revealing the singer in these ethereal surrounds…and everybody cried.” – Time Out New York