Birmingham Opera Company’s critically acclaimed production of Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, which ran for five sell out performances at the Tower Ballroom in March this year, has been shortlisted for a Royal Philharmonic Society ‘Opera and Music Theatre’ Award 2019 which recognises the Best Production staged in the last year.
Alpesh led a 78 strong City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and a banda of 14 undergraduate musicians from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire through Shostakovich's darkly comic and controversial opera. The performances were directed by Birmingham Opera Company’s Artistic Director Graham Vick CBE in the iconic but now disused Tower Ballroom, grimily transformed by Banksy collaborators, Block 9.
A cast of international principals including mezzo soprano Chrystal E Williams as Katerina, the downtrodden housewife, Baltimore baritone, Eric Greene, as her tyrannical father in law and tenor Brenden Gunnell as her lover, supported by 150 volunteer actors and chorus members drawn from the local community, drew unanimous praise from audiences and critics.
The shortlist announcement was made live on BBC Radio 3’s In Tune programme this evening. The winners will be announced at The Royal Philharmonic Society Awards ceremony at Battersea Arts Centre on 28th November 2019.
"the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (boosted by an onstage brass band of Birmingham students) [gave] a magnificently taut and sometimes terrifying account of the score directed by the superb Alpesh Chauhan. With soloists sometimes singing 40m from the conductor, there’s not a moment of dodgy ensemble all night — a miracle of rapport.”
The Times (*****) - March 2019