The Russians Are Coming… and Birmingham Opera Company Needs You

Wanted – actors, dancers and flash-mobbers.  Birmingham Opera Company is calling on anyone over the age of 18, who would like to take part in an intrepid afternoon of improvised performance to turn up at Millennium Point this Easter Sunday at 2.30pm.


BYRON JACKSON - Musorgsky Songs Birmingham Opera Company

BYRON JACKSON – Musorgsky Songs Birmingham Opera Company

Following its internationally-acclaimed production for the London 2012 Festival, Stockhausen’s Mittwoch, the ever innovative Birmingham Opera Company has embarked on a new project involving young filmmakers, mentored and supported by a team of broadcast professionals alongside the company’s Artistic Director Graham Vick and Associate Director Richard Willacy.

The group of eight 18-25 year olds are being coached in camera work, directing, sound, lighting and editing whilst making a series of performance-based films  around Musorgsky’s four part song cycle, The Songs and Dances of Death,with professional singers Anne-Marie Owens, Steven Maughan, Sergey Rybin and Birmingham born Byron Jackson . Easter Sunday’s Flash Mob event will focus on the fourth song in the cycle, The Commander, and volunteers who turn up to take part will feature in the resulting film.

In a departure from the company’s usual audience-based productions, this digital project, the first phase of The Russians Are Coming… will be distributed digitally through the Birmingham Opera Company website, with the aim of reaching as wide an audience as possible.

Supported by BBC Birmingham and the BBC Academy, The Russians Are Coming… is being directed by documentary maker, John Martin-White, who was co-director of Verdi: The Director’s Cut, a BBC2 documentary about Graham Vick and his 2009 production of Verdi’s Othello and involves professional BBC Birmingham cameraman, Tony Mills.

Birmingham Opera Company General Manager Jean Nicholson said: “We’re constantly looking for ways of bringing opera to new audiences and this project fulfils our brief to extend our digital reach and manage our own distribution. By merging the talents of our senior creative team with the skills of experienced film-makers we aim to replicate as closely as possible the immersive experience that makes our productions unique.”

Philip Singleton, Chief Executive of Millennium Point said: “We’re really excited that Birmingham Opera Company is coming to Millennium Point with this live performance. Visitors to the building have a unique opportunity to get involved this holiday weekend.  This is exactly the kind of surprise we want to see here. Our atrium is a fantastic space which will lend itself perfectly to this impromptu performance.  I hope this Flash Mob will attract dozens of aspiring actors who want to be part of another Birmingham Opera Company experience.”

The Russians Are Coming… project will culminate in April 2014 with a site-specific performance of The Khovansky Files, also by Musorgsky, with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

For further information go to

Unfortunately, this event is not open to children below age of 16. Anyone between 16-18 who would like to be part of the Flash Mob will need to attend with a parent who can sign a filming permission form on the day. Alternatively they can download a parental permission form from the website in advance and return it completed to Birmingham Opera Company at  email: [email protected]. For further information call 0121 246 6644