On 13 April 2024 in Glasgow, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, BBC
Singers, a stellar team of solo singers, and conductor Martyn Brabbins assemble
to record a live, complete public performance of Sir Michael Tippett’s space-age
fairytale opera New Year, marking 35 years of NMC Recordings and its support of
great titans of British contemporary music.
Two worlds collide in Tippet’s New Year as a visitor from the future (‘Nowhere
Tomorrow’) helps the central reclusive character escape from their personal fears
and fantasies, and embrace the frightening urban realities of ‘Somewhere Today’.
The wildest and most open of Tippett’s operas, completed when the composer
was aged 83, its influences veer from opera to rock musical, pop song, spoken
dialogue, joke and dance.
Conductor Martyn Brabbins said: Following on from the BBC SSO performances
and recordings of Michael Tippett’s symphonies, it is an enormous pleasure and
privilege to bring back to the public Tippett’s final operatic creation, ‘New Year’. An
integral part of this project, the first ever recording will be made of the opera, to be
released on the NMC label. A superb cast will bring new life and energy to this
magical score, which in typical Tippett fashion encompasses a huge variety of sound
worlds and colours, as this master composer cloaks his own libretto in music of great
originality and daring. The BBC SSO are joined by the brilliant and unique BBC
singers for what promises to be an unforgettable evening of sonic and dramatic
Following her role as Stage Director of the BBC SSO’s adaptation of György
Kurtág’s Endgame at the BBC Proms 2023, Victoria Newlyn returns to work with
the cast of this concert performance at Glasgow City Halls.

Speaking about the opera, Oliver Soden, biographer of Sir Michael Tippett, said:
Michael Tippett was one of the most important British composers of opera in the
twentieth century, and it is amazing news that, thirty-five years after its premiere,
‘New Year’ is to receive another performance and a first recording. It is a challenging
and eclectic score, fashioned from a multiplicity of styles and genres: true musical
diversity, a tumultuous century of music crowded into one fabric, and an astonishing
feat for an octogenarian composer. It is about the journey to self-knowledge and the
dangerous and vital necessity of facing the light and dark of the world. Its revival
and recording fill a gaping hole in the history of British opera, and provide the
missing link between Benjamin Britten and Mark Anthony Turnage. In its insistence
on renewal and togetherness, it is an opera for now.
Dominic Parker, Director of the BBC SSO, said: “We are delighted this
performance and recording have come to fruition, and it is thanks to the generosity
and partnership of many people dedicated to Michael Tippett’s music. Particular
thanks to the consortium of financial support who have joined with the BBC and
NMC, including the Michael Tippett Musical Foundation, the Behrens Foundation,
Sally Groves, Dr John Grimshaw and Anthony Whitworth-Jones.”
Free tickets for the public performance will be available to book at Glasgow City
Halls Box Office from 10am on Wednesday 7 February 2024. Tickets can be
booked via bbc.co.uk/bbcsso
Commissioned jointly by Houston Grand Opera, Glyndebourne and the BBC,
Tippett’s New Year was premiered in 1989 – the same year as NMC Recordings
was founded – and was last performed in Scotland in October 1990.
Cathy Graham, Executive Director of record label NMC, says: “We are so excited
to be the recording partner for this remarkable performance. NMC has a wide remit,
supporting UK and Irish composers at all stages of their career, from the emerging
voices recording their music professionally for the first time, to the firmly
established. Also vital for us is providing a platform for works of the giants of the
twentieth century which have not yet been recorded. Thanks to all who have made
this important project possible.”
Public performance details:
Date: Saturday 13 April, 7.30pm
Venue: Glasgow City Halls
Tickets: Free tickets are available to book at City Halls Box Office from
Wednesday 7 February 2024, from 10am (max. 4 per booking).
Website: Book via www.bbc.co.uk/bbcsso

Sir Michael Tippett New Year (complete opera)
Rhian Lois soprano – Jo Ann, a trainee children’s doctor
Ross Ramgobin baritone – Donny, her young brother
Susan Bickley mezzo-soprano – Nan, their foster mother
Roland Wood baritone – Merlin, the computer wizard
Robert Murray tenor – Pelegrin, the space pilot
Rachel Nicholls soprano – Regan, their boss
Nicky Spence tenor – the presenter
BBC Singers
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
Martyn Brabbins conductor
Victoria Newlyn director
The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and conductor Martyn Brabbins have
been at the leading edge of the renewed interest in Sir Michael Tippett’s music in
recent years. This includes performing and recording all four of Tippett’s
symphonies (Hyperion, 2018 and 2019 – the first symphonic cycle recording this
century) and, with kind permission of the Michael Tippett Musical Foundation,
the first modern performance and recording of the pre-war B Flat Symphony.
The BBC SSO’s recording with NMC in April follows the orchestra’s recent
exploration of the composer’s turbulent life and fascinating music in the BBC’s
documentary Michael Tippett: The Shadow and the Light, directed by John Bridcut.