Birmingham Opera Company will be staging a production of a Mozart favourite – in a former rubber factory.
The opera group, which bounced back after a funding crisis this year, will be putting on Idomeneo at the Sherborne Building just off Ladywood Middleway.
The show will continue BOC’s tradition of putting on performances in unconventional arenas.
Artistic director Graham Vick said: “Idomeneo gives us the chance to not only thank our regular supporters for their outstanding support this year with a production in the style that they love, but to draw back the people who saw us for the first time at the NIA with La Traviata by giving them a front row seat to what we can do in our traditionally unorthodox fashion.”
The performance of Idomeneo will bring together a 100-strong chorus line of all ages from all over the city to perform to a modern score translated from classical Greek into 21st-century English by top opera translator and librettist Amanda Holden.
It will also feature fabulous costumes and a unique set design for the unique venue created by Stuart Nunn.
Costume designer Nunn has worked as an assistant designer on three other Birmingham Opera Company productions but is this time working on the Ladywood set in his own right.
This ‘opera seria’ (‘serious’ opera), said to be Mozart’s first major opera written in 1780 when he was just 24, will be conducted by world-class conductor William Lacey who previously worked on the Company’s productions of Fidelio and Don Giovanni (He Had It Coming).
Internationally renowned tenor Paul Nilon takes on the title role, with Mark Wilde as Idomeneo’s son, Idamante who is caught between the love of his life, Anna Dennis’s Princess Illya, the unrequited feelings of Donna Bateman’s Princess Elettra and a power struggle between his father, and Neptune, God of the Sea. The entire story is played out in three powerful acts’ worth of love, desperation, drama and sacrifice.
The production will be a high point in a tumultuous year for the opera company.
Shortly before Christmas, the Arts Council announced it would be withdrawing funding from the company, which would have left the opera company’s existence in doubt.
As part of the controversial review, the Council proposed to withdraw its regular £324,000 grant because of dissatisfaction with the company’s business model. The company insisted it would not be able to continue its innovative way of working with professional and community casts on limited funding.
Following a sustained campaign by the company and a national outcry about the cuts, a compromise was reached which saw a resumption of funding.
A spokesman for Birmingham Opera Company said: “The Company has a new production and is once again doing what it does best – bringing quirky and intelligent opera to Birmingham audiences in its own unique and modern style.
“After last year’s all-singing all-dancing La Traviata at the NIA, Birmingham Opera Company is returning to the format that made it famous, staging its productions in unique and unusual settings. Mozart’s Idomeneo is the choice for this year’s production and as fans will know, this will be one Greek tragedy where the production is anything but tragic.”
Mozart’s Idomeneo will be staged in August.