Birmingham Opera Company hitting the highs

Mittwoch Aus Licht by Stockhausen – a commission for the London 2012 Festival, produced by Birmingham Opera Company last August in a disused Digbeth factory – has been shortlisted for the two top awards in the world of opera.

Today came the announcement, live on BBC Radio 3’s In Tune programme, that the globally acclaimed opera directed by the company’s Artistic Director Graham Vick, has been shortlisted in the Opera and Music Theatre category of the RPS (Royal Philharmonic Society) Awards, widely recognised as the ‘Oscars’ of the classical music world, which take place on 14th May 2013. This follows hot on the heels of another prestigious nomination which has placed Mittwoch amongst the finalists in the World Premiere category of the first ever International Opera Awards to be announced in a glittering ceremony at the Hilton Park Lane on 22nd April 2013.

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 was known as the opera it would be logistically impossible to perform.

Its innovative six hour staging on a monumental scale by Graham Vick and Birmingham Opera Company on the anniversary of the composer’s birth, five years after his death, attracted hundreds of international Stockhausen devotees to the city from as far as Japan and the USA.  The world premiere on 22nd August 2012 was reviewed by the UK and world’s media, attracting unanimous praise for the production’s awe-inspiring scale, originality and ambition.

General Manager Jean Nicholson said:  “We are delighted that our tackling of one of the grandest and most complex of all operatic challenges for the London 2012 Festival, staged in our signature unconventional style with  contributions from the local community, has reaped such rewards for everyone involved. These two shortlisted nominations not only demonstrate the company’s ranking in the highest echelons of opera on a national and international scale but ensure that the name of our home city will continue to be associated with excellence and artistic achievement.”

The other productions shortlisted for best World Premiere at the International Opera Awards ( are:

  • Babylon (Widmann), Bayerische Staatsoper (Bavarian State Opera, Munich) Germany
  • Mittwoch aus Licht (Stockhausen), Birmingham Opera Company, UK
  • Silent Night (Puts), Minnesota Opera, USA
  • Solaris (Glanert), Bregenz Festival, Austria
  • Written on Skin (Benjamin), Aix-en-Provence, France

The shortlist for the RPS Awards announced at  today.