For over ten years The Opera Group has been producing the highest quality music theatre and touring it across the UK and Europe. We tour two new productions every year, visiting opera houses, theatres and festivals, sharing our passion for great opera with the widest possible audience. Whether staging rarely performed gems or commissioning fresh new works from stars of the future, there is one thing that defines everything we do: an unshakeable belief in the emotional power of bringing outstanding theatre and live music together.
The starting point for everything we do is having a great story to tell. Inspired by the rapidly changing world around us, we’re all about presenting new ideas in new ways. We always let our imaginations take flight, innovating both in the music and in the way we stage and design our productions too.
The Opera Group promises a great night out that will satisfy both the enthusiast and delight and entertain the newcomer. We will show you something entirely new and attempt to refute the idea that new opera is elitist or difficult. And our commitment to producing operas for children and young people proves we don’t believe you need to know anything about either opera or contemporary music.
The Opera Group is an Associate Company of the Young Vic theatre. Some of our other friends and collaborators include Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, London Sinfonietta, ROH2 at the Royal Opera House, Anvil Arts Basingstoke, Kings College London and the Royal Society for the Arts.
Elena Langer – Composer
Elena Langer was born in Moscow and is now based in London. After graduating from the Gnessin Music College where she majored in musicology and piano, she entered the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory to study composition. In 1999 Elena moved to London to complete her degrees first at the Royal College of Music (MMus), and then at the Royal Academy of Music (Royal Academy of Music PhD). In 2002 and 2003 Elena was a composer-in-residency with the Almeida Theatre, London.
Lena has written compositions in diverse genres, including opera and multimedia, orchestral, chamber and choral works and has received commissions and performances from international ensembles, festivals and organisations including The Royal Opera House’s ROH2, Zurich Opera (Switzerland), and Carnegie Hall. Some of her works have been broadcast on BBC Radio 3, BBC World Service, Radio Echo of Moscow and Dutch Radio.
Glyn Maxwell – Librettist
Glyn Maxwell was born in 1962 in Welwyn Garden City, England. He read English at Oxford University and won a scholarship to Boston University where he studied on the poetry and drama courses taught by Derek Walcott. He moved to the USA in 1996, teaching first at Amherst College, Massachusetts, then at Columbia University and The New School in New York City. In 1997 he was awarded the E. M. Forster Award by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He was appointed Poetry Editor at the New Republic in 2001, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
His first book of poetry, Tale of the Mayor’s Son, was published in 1990. Out of the Rain (1992) won a Somerset Maugham Award, and Rest for the Wicked (1995) was shortlisted for both the Whitbread Poetry Award and the T.S. Eliot Prize. The Breakage (1998), was shortlisted for both the T.S. Eliot and the Forward Poetry (Best Poetry Collection of the Year) Prizes.
He has written a number of plays, several of which have been performed professionally, including Broken Journey (which was a Time Out Critics’ Choice), The Lifeblood, Anyroad and The Only Girl in the World. His radio play, Childminders, was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in 2002. His recent theatre work includes The Lifeblood, a play about the last few days of Queen Mary’s life, his verse drama one-person show, Best Man’s Speech, and The Forever Waltz which premiered in New York in 2005. He also writes opera libretti, including The Girl of Sand for the Almeida Theatre, in collaboration with the composer Elena Langer, and a libretto based on Euripides’ The Birds , composed by Ed Hughes for The Opera Group, performed at the City of London Festival 2005.
Professor Simon Lovestone, Institute of Psychiatry
Professor Lovestone is director of the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust and the Institute of Psychiatry, KCL. A clinician scientist with a research interest in the molecular mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease and a consultant old age psychiatrist responsible for a community team specializing in dementia care his research work was initially funded through a training fellowship from the Wellcome Trust and latterly through a WT programme. He chairs the scientific advisory committee of the Alzheimer’s Research Trust, sits on the scientific board of the Alzheimer’s Society and has recently completed a period of office on the Wellcome Trust Neuroscience panel. He has considerable experience in working with the public and with lay societies but none in opera.
Professor Lovestone has experience of working with artists through an existing Wellcome-funded project “D&G: Design and Gerontology” alongside Digital Projects producers Actiondog. Professor Lovestone has already proven instrumental introducing TOG and Actiondog with a goal of finding ways we can link our artistic approaches together through our commitment to working with Professor Lovestone’s team and to using our different talents and strengths towards enlightening the issues he and his team confront on a daily basis.
NIHR Biomedical Research Centre
This newly established Centre for translational biomedicine is one of eleven BRCs in the UK and the only one focused on mental health. It has nine themes, two of which are relevant to this project.. The dementia theme brings together more than ten principal investigators in IoP and SLaM and provides infrastructure for clinical translational projects – including support for a cohort of over 1500 research subjects set to grow by over 300 per year. The Stakeholder Particiaption in Research theme, led by Professors Wykes and Thornicroft brings expertise in patient and carer involvement, stigma and research directed at increasing the understanding of research which will break down barriers to participation. This project aims to contribute to this theme.
MRC Centre for Neurodegeneration Research
Led by Professor Anderton with Professors Lovestone and Leigh as deputy directors this MRC Centre brings together over 100 active researchers focusing on pre-clincial and early clinical research. This grouping, one of the largest in Europe, has a particular interest in public dissemination, hosting a popular open day for research, working with students from local schools and previously being in receipt of a small grant from the MRC for public dissemination as well as recurrent funding for newsletters.
South London and Maudsley Foundation NHS Trust
The largest provider of mental health care in the UK, SLaM covers a population of over 1.2m people and treats more than 1000 patients with dementia every year. Professor Lovestone is one of the community based consultants participating in a multi-disciplinary team consisting of nursing, occupational therapy, psychology, medical and social work colleagues together with other professionals including drama therapists and Alzheimer’s Society funded workers.