Opera companies from Venice, Lisbon, Brussels, Verona, Madrid and Austria are expected to send representatives to see a production of Mozart’s Idomeneo at a disused rubber factory in Birmingham next month.
With a cast of 160 people recruited from the local community performing alongside professional singers, it is the latest production from Birmingham Opera Company, which specialises in bringing community productions to non-theatrical venues in the city.
The company’s artistic director Graham Vick, who regularly works at the world’s leading opera houses including Covent Garden, La Scala and the Metropolitan in New York and has been listed in The Post's Power 50 list of influential people, said the company’s work was attracting growing international interest.
“They are all coming to see the work and the process that goes into it, because they are all interested in learning how to do it,” he said. “It’s the only company of its kind in the world, a centre for a lot of people from the opera world to visit.”
Mr Vick, who has always specialised in community opera since setting up a touring company for Scottish Opera early in his career, added that he had come to regard his work in Birmingham as his most important because of a move towards identikit co-productions in international opera.
“When you go to English National Opera or the Royal Opera House you will see what you would see in Sydney or New York.
“It’s all re-heated in the microwave.
“It’s had some successes, but overall it’s a terrible sickness, I think. My work here has always been important, but it used not to be more important than La Scala or the New York Met. Now it’s much more important.”
Birmingham Opera Company brought Graham Vick’s production of Traviata from Arena di Verona to the National Indoor Arena last autumn for two performances with the CBSO which played to nearly 10,000 people and won the audience development category of the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society Awards.
But in January it faced a battle for survival when its grant was withdrawn by the Arts Council as part of a controversial round of national cuts.
The funding was restored after a lengthy campaign.
Idomeneo will have seven performances at the Sherborne Building, Ladywood between August 2 and 23.