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Brum Commissions: 4 Notes to the City

Thursday, 28 March 2024
6.30 – 9.30 pm

We are delighted to host the premiere of four brand new short form operas commissioned by Birmingham Opera and created by four creative teams – Daniel Blanco Albert and Roxanne Korda; Cassie Kinoshi and lydia luke; Michael Taplin and Gareth Mattey; and Ryan Morgan.

[shut] by Daniel Blanco Albert (composer) and Roxanne Korda (librettist)
Inspired by real life testimonies from independent local business owners, and featuring a ‘found object gamelan’ made of balti bowls and a volunteer chorus this is a uniquely Brum commission. This timely piece explores the impact of the financial crisis on small businesses and the effect on the owners’ mental health, with lives turned upside down following bankruptcy. Written for mezzo soprano, percussion, bass trombone and chorus.

Performed by Georgia Mae Bishop-Viv (mezzo soprano), Alex Henshaw (percussion), Pearce Abbey (bass trombone) and the Birmingham Opera Company Chorus
Directed by Anna Himali Howard
Conducted by Daniel Blanco Albert

the heart must weather what the heart was made to take and i lay by a lake and fell asleep by Cassie Kinoshi (composer) and lydia luke (librettist)
This two-part collaboration for solo voice, piano and cello immerses the listener in the rich inner world of Black women who yearn to grasp life with both hands. This commission is the beginning of a proposed song-cycle of eight pieces which, according to composer Cassie Kinoshi, “sits at the premise of a new opera idea and is intended to solidify our creative duo before we embark on a more intense and narrative project together.”

Performed by April Koyejo-Audiger (soprano), Allyson Devenish (piano) & Simone Seales (cello)
Directed by Abigail Kelly

Conflict in Numbers by Ryan Morgan (composer)
This peace weaves together delicate threads of education, violence and the struggle of navigating an educational landscape marred by domestic turmoil, where the pursuit of learning transforms into a battle. A mind seeks mental escape from the chaos. As you immerse yourself in this performance, ask yourself Can this space serve as a metaphysical ritual, to conjure peace amid the turmoil? What is the impact of failure on the journey of self-discovery?

Performed by Nicholas Morris (baritone) & Miloš Milivojević (accordion)
Directed by Beth Kapila

From Tulip, to Orchid (With Love) by Michael Taplin (composer) and Gareth Mattey (librettist)
‘To my dearest, with all my heart’ signs the man, finishing a love poem to the woman he loves. But is this truly as simple as it seems? Inspired by the work and lives of Michael Field (Birmingham poets Katherine Harris Bradley and Edith Emma Cooper), Anne Lister (known as Gentleman Jack), George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) and more, this new short opera explores and celebrates the coded ways in which LGBTQIA+ people celebrated and expressed their love in print and private during the Victorian era.

Performed by Rosie Middleton (mezzo soprano), Yue Miyagi (mandolin) & Sarah Farmer (viola)

Event Information

Age guidance: Recommended for ages 14+
Content advisory: Contains adult themes and references to mental health.

Access information: May contain flashing lights. There will be times when the audience will move with the action and also times where there is limited seating. There are a limited number of places for those with limited mobility and wheelchair users (subject to availability).

If there is any difference in the access requirements listed above, please email or call 0121 246 6644.

If you are d/Disabled and require a free ticket for your essential companion, please also get in touch.

About Birmingham Opera Company

Birmingham Opera Company makes some of the best opera in the world. We reflect the city that we work in, with our audiences, artists and the stories that we tell. We work at multiple scales. Each year, we deliver over 100 events all over the city with diverse participants, artists and audiences. With no fixed venue, we perform in aircraft hangars, power stations, nightclubs, shopping centres, hospitals… And each year, hundreds of Brummies volunteer to sing, act or dance alongside some of the most exciting established and emerging artists in the world. Find out more about the Company at


Brum Commissions is supported by the PRS Foundation’s The Open Fund