Birmingham Opera Company has won the Opera and Music Theatre award at the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards.
Its Cultural Olympiad project, the epic six hour Stockhausen opera, Mittwoch Aus Licht, directed by Graham Vick, was crowned at the RPS Music Awards at the Dorchester Hotel, in London, on Tuesday.
Birmingham Opera Company beat off strong competition from English National Opera, English Touring Opera and Aldeburgh Festival.
Featuring a live performance from a Helicopter String Quartet as well as a flying orchestra, two choirs (London Voices and Birmingham’s Ex Cathedra), a camel and a chorus of some 130 local people alongside world class professional singers, Mittwoch had been known as the opera it would be logistically impossible to perform.
Its staging on a monumental scale in a disused Digbeth chemical works attracted hundreds of international Stockhausen devotees to the city from as far as Japan and the USA.
Graham Vick said: “Mittwoch was the experience of a lifetime. Thanks to all who helped bringing this great artistic coup to Birmingham, especially London 2012 Festival and Birmingham City Council.
"I'm thrilled that the strength of the company - flying musicians, helicopter pilots, camels and all - and its international profile have been recognised by Britain's most significant opera award”
The production was described by the RPS jury as “bold in imagination and brilliant in accomplishment” and delivered a third RPS Music Award in 12 years to Birmingham Opera Company.
Cllr Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council, which supported the project said: "Birmingham Opera Company’s outstanding achievement in the “Oscars” of the music world puts the city at the heart of an international cultural map.
"It’s brilliant that Graham Vick, one of the world’s most acclaimed opera directors, has chosen Birmingham as the base for his most ground-breaking work and through his ambitious and collaborative approach, working with hundreds of local people, has helped cement our reputation as a hotspot for artistic excellence.
• BBC Radio 3 will broadcast a programme on the awards on Sunday, May 19, at 2pm.
Mittwoch Aus Licht was one of the major projects of the London 2012 Festival in the Olympic Year and was supported by LOCOG, Arts Council England, Stockhausen Stiftung, Peter Moore’s Foundation, Ernst von Siemen’s Foundation for Music.
RPS Music Awards 2013 winners
Audiences and Engagement – Universe of Sound (Philharmonia Orchestra)
Chamber Music and Song – Music in the Round
Chamber-Scale Composition – Rebecca Saunders: Fletch
Concert Series and Festival – New Music 20x12 (PRS for Music Foundation)
Conductor – Kirill Karabits
Creative Communication – Classic FM
Ensemble – Britten Sinfonia
Instrumentalist – Steven Osborne
Large-Scale Composition – Gerald Barry: The Importance of Being Earnest
Learning and Participation - Cycle Song (Proper Job Theatre Company and
Scunthorpe Co-operative Junior Choir)
Opera and Music Theatre - Mittwoch aus Licht (Birmingham Opera Company)
Singer – Sarah Connolly
Young Artists – Heath Quartet