Birmingham Opera Company today launch their next bold mission; Wagner’s RhineGold with an international cast and local volunteer performers led by Artistic Director Graham Vick and newly appointed Music Director Alpesh Chauhan in August 2021.  And, as ever, it is opera for our times.

The Lord of the Gods, maker of laws is in trouble. To shore up his own delusional ambitions and hang on to the Gods’ fading glory he chooses to break the very law which holds all races in balance. Mother Nature warns that greed for power will bring its own destruction. No-one listens.

Well known for presenting work in their home city’s abandoned buildings, sometimes a factory, a nightclub, an ice rink, this time the Rhine is canal-side in the 100,000 sq ft The Tubeworks on Icknield Port Loop. Performed in a disused  metalworks audiences will get a unique Brummie take on the original myth of the forging of the golden ring. The audience will physically move with the action, experiencing the opera by being a part of it.

Birmingham Opera Company’s occupation of The Tubeworks in partnership with Urban Splash will launch a new life for the currently empty industrial site which is to be transformed as part of a brand new 43 acre urban development. The site, once a powerhouse of the country’s industrial revolution, will embed the production directly within the city’s past, highlight the present and look directly to the future.

Graham Vick, Artistic Director, Birmingham Opera Company said: “I’m very excited that 30 years on from The Ring Saga we can now plan full scale Wagner in Birmingham – and cast Gods, Dwarves and Giants largely from the diverse group of singers whom we have been nurturing. This revolutionary political satire is also a great show piece for our new Music Director and for the marvellous CBSO. From the murky depths of the unconscious to self-serving promises of castles in the air and the voice of a planet facing its own destruction – it could’ve been written now.”

Alpesh Chauhan, Music Director, Birmingham Opera Company said: “I’m delighted that we announce RhineGold as our next big project at Birmingham Opera Company  – which will be my first in the new Music Director title. We have a stellar international line-up of soloists, boosted by the incredible forces of the CBSO and the people of Birmingham who volunteer to be a part of our creativity, all alongside the BOC team which is a hugely exciting prospect to make this opera come to life in its immersive setting in Brum. This work is a staple of the core operatic repertoire, and I look forward to bringing Wagner’s masterpiece to life alongside Graham Vick’s imaginative brilliance.”

More details including on sale and production dates will be announced in due course.

The cast, announced today will include: Eric Greene (Wotan); Brenden Gunnell (Loge); Chrystal E Williams (Fricka); Francesca Chiejina (Freia); Amar Muchhala (Froh); Byron Jackson (Donner); Gweneth-Ann Rand (Erda); Ross Ramgobin (Alberich); Keel Watson (Fasolt); Andrew Slater (Fafner).

On what is an ambitious journey to RhineGold and with many artists and companies struggling, the company are pleased to announce that the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation (UK) will lend their support to Birmingham Opera Company’s “Going for Gold” fundraising appeal by matching donations on the Fedora platform. Birmingham Opera Company’s Going for Gold Campaign is one of four nominees for the Fedora Education Prize 2020 (which also offers a further competitive prize worth Euro 50,000).  The match appeal launches 5 October and ends 30 October. 

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa said“In this year above all, my primary concern is the well-being of those talented artists now embarking on careers against such insuperable odds.  It is not just opportunities to earn enough to live, but the chance to practise and improve the craft in which they have invested so much time and dedication.  So, Birmingham Opera Company’s intensive coaching by top mentors and challenging rehearsal process offers a lifeline, which I know will be eagerly grasped by those singers selected.  I for one can hardly wait to experience the result next summer.”

As part of the campaign, the company are to hold a number of online Q & A events with Artistic Director Graham Vick and Music Director Alpesh Chauhan. They also intend to launch their first donor syndicate on World Opera Day weekend 24th/25th October to support RhineGold. Any potential supporters are encouraged to get in touch direct with Birmingham Opera Company.

Birmingham Opera Company makes work at this highest artistic level whilst reflecting the city they work in – with audiences, artists and stories. They were recently awarded a rare ‘Outstanding’ rating in the Arts Council England’s Creative Case for Diversity.