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“The Opera Group is a dynamic young company that brings great theatrical verve to the staid old world of opera.� The Times

2010/11


We make all our work in collaboration with people and organisations who inspire us. Our creative partners include Young Vic, Oxford Playhouse, Brighton Dome & Festival, Watford Palace Theatre, Anvil Arts Basingstoke and ROH2 at the Royal Opera House where we have performed ten productions since 2004.

We are grateful to Arts Council England as well as to the important group of trusts and foundations for the ongoing support which makes our work possible. Thanks also to our rapidly expanding group of major individual donors and our very own OperaGroupies who both support and challenge us.

Photo: Recital 1 by Robert Workman

Brochure: www.withrelish.co.uk

We’ve been commissioning and touring new opera in the UK and internationally for over ten years. We create new operas that have a contemporary resonance as well as bringing classic music theatre works back to life.


The Human Comedy is a tale of family in a small town in southern California during World War Two. Young Homer delivers telegrams of love, joy and the sorrows of war. His mother prays for the safe return of his brother from the frontline. His sister dreams that she too could fight for her country.

Music Galt MacDermot Words William Dumaresq From an original story by William Saroyan Musical Director Phil Bateman Director John Fulljames Designer Jon Bausor Lighting Designer Bruno Poet Sound Designer Fergus O’Hare Movement Director Sasha Milavic Davies A Young Vic/The Opera Group production, co-produced with Watford Palace Theatre

The musical is a timeless coming-of age story that celebrates the healing power of community and the unifying spirit of song by Galt MacDermot, composer of the 1968 musical Hair. Following their Evening Standard award for Street Scene in 2008, The Opera Group again joins forces with the Young Vic and Watford Palace Theatre in bringing to life another rarely-performed treasure. The Human Comedy is through-composed and fuses a variety of exuberant styles, this time swing, gospel, pop and folk, and uses a professional cast enhanced by an ensemble of over eighty community performers.

Young Vic Mon 13 – Sat 18 September 2010 www.youngvic.org 020 7922 2922 Watford Palace Theatre Thu 7 – Sat 9 October 2010 www.watfordpalacetheatre.co.uk 01923 225 671


“Exquisite… a magical, imaginative piece”Observer A faceless stranger arrives in town and agrees to exterminate its plague of rats; but when the Mayor refuses to pay up, his actions have terrible repercussions. In this spine-tingling re-imagining of The Pied Piper fable, the telling of the story is pared-down, a masterpiece of economy, with just two female singers playing all the roles. The eerily beautiful and highly-original score, performed by London Sinfonietta, is rich, full of atmosphere and totally spell-binding.

Into The Little Hill receives a welcome revival in 2010 following our acclaimed London premiere in 2009. George Benjamin’s first music theatre work , it won him a Royal Philharmonic Society Award. This production was nominated in the Opera category of the South Bank Show Awards.

Music George Benjamin Words Martin Crimp Conductor Franck Ollu Director John Fulljames Designer Soutra Gilmour Lighting Designer Jon Clark Projection Designer Mick McNicholas The Opera Group/Aldeburgh Festival/London Sinfonietta/ ROH2 co-production Final performances for 2010 at Gran Teatre de Liceu, Barcelona on 2 & 3 December. www.liceubarcelona.com

“A masterpiece, no question” Daily Telegraph

Supported by The Into The Little Hill Syndicate

Photo: Into the Little Hill by Alastair Muir


Seven angels have fallen through space and time for so long, they have forgotten why. Coming to rest on a desert landscape, they imagine the creation of a legendary garden that once flourished there, and its destruction from greed and neglect.

Seven Angels Inspired by Paradise Lost, poet and playwright Glyn Maxwell interprets the themes of John Milton’s masterpiece for a modern audience facing up to the urgent challenges of a changing climate and ever-depleting resources. Luke Bedford’s music is dark but seductive, tense but lyrical and integrates both solo voices and choral textures. The opera’s post-apocalyptic landscape is realised by Japanese visual artist Tadasu Takamine. Music Luke Bedford Words Glyn Maxwell Musical Director Nicholas Collon Director John Fulljames Designer Tadasu Takamine The Opera Group and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group production, co-produced with ROH2 and Tramway Glasgow World premiere at CBSO Centre Birmingham on 17 & 18 June 2011, followed by UK tour

Seven Angels is co-commissioned by Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and The Opera Group with funds generously provided by the John Feeney Charitable Trust. The opera was developed with the support of a Jerwood Opera Fellowship at Aldeburgh Music and the Columbia Foundation.


Creating Operas of the Future Funded by the Jerwood Charitable Foundation, The Opera Group’s Incubator provides a space for innovation – enabling us to fully develop creative ideas and build relationships with non-arts collaborators. During the year we invite potential partners and supporters to see our workin-progress and engage in the realisation of new projects. In 2010 the Incubator made it possible for us to build links with partners such as the Institute of Psychiatry and the Alzheimer’s Society for The Lion’s Face and Friends of the Earth for Seven Angels.

In development throughout 2010 and 2011 is a new project with composer Edward Rushton (whose Birds. Barks. Bones. for The Opera Group won him a British Composer’s Award). He is collaborating with Indian poet Jeet Thayil on a new opera engaging with the causes of fundamentalism. The central figure Babur – The Tiger (the first Mughal Emperor) appears as a ghost in contemporary London to debate the value of fundamentalism with a group of young people. The piece is being developed over two years in India, the UK and Switzerland with workshops in Delhi and London in 2010 providing the initial working sessions for the creative artists. The premiere of the finished work will be in 2012 in collaboration with Swiss musical ensemble Ensemble Für Neue Musik Zürich.

photo: Street Scene in rehearsal at Jerwood Space by Katherine Leedale


SUPPORTING THE OPERA GROUP – help us to tell our story The Opera Group is a registered charity. We are frequently asked how we create or develop new work? The answer is – only with support. Despite raising income from our generous supporters and the box office we still need to find at least £350k additional income each year through fundraising to enable us to present our ambitious programme of new work. Opportunities to support us are exciting and varied – from commissioning new operas, developing the company’s learning and participation programme ‘Insight’, to launching creative digital projects. We like to think that The Opera Group has something to interest everyone. We pride ourselves on building personal relationships with our supportors – The Opera Group would like to talk to you about getting involved.

The OperaGroupies support our commitment to the future of opera by giving opportunities to young composers and artists to find new and creative ways to tell stories with music. With a minimum donation of £100/year (or £10/month by direct debit), OperaGroupies’ benefits include backstage insights, invites to join us for opening nights, post-show parties, regular updates and more. See www.theoperagroup.co.uk for more details or contact the office.

Photo: The Lion’s Face by Alastair Muir


Artistic Director John Fulljames Executive Producer Sherry Neyhus General Manager Alison Porter Marketing Ben Jefferies for makesthree Press Faith Wilson, Faith Wilson Arts Publicity Development Michelle Wright for Cause4 Education Nina Swann Finance Sandra Francis-Love Trustees: David Bernstein, John Gilhooly, Lindsey Glen, Paul Kearney, Anthony Newhouse, Andrew Newman and Claudia Pendred (Chair). The Opera Group

www.theoperagroup.co.uk Email enquiries@theoperagroup.co.uk c/o Young Vic 66 The Cut London SE1 8LZ Phone +44 (0)20 7922 2846 Fax +44 (0)20 7922 2801 Registered Charity no. 1070013

Brochure: www.withrelish.co.uk

Garfield Weston Foundation Eranda Foundation The Opera Group tours with the support of

Photos: The Lion’s Face (front cover) and The Enchanted Pig (back cover) by Alastair Muir


The Opera Group 2010/11