Be open to [shut]

Digbeth, Birmingham

Birmingham Opera Company, as part of Brum Commissions, will be performing [shut], a brand new opera written by PhD students Daniel Blanco Albert and Roxanne Korda about the experience of bankruptcy for Digbeth businesses. The performance will take place on Thursday 28 March, 6.30 – 8.30pm at Eastside Projects.

Brum Commissions: 4 Notes to the City sees four composer/librettist teams present new short-form opera this spring. Daniel will also conduct the piece and Roxanne is the librettist. [shut] includes performances from Percussion alumnus Alex Henshaw and BMus Trombone student Pearce Abbey.

[shut] is inspired by testimonies from independent local business owners in Digbeth, and is a timely piece about the impact of the financial crisis on small businesses and the effect on the owners’ mental health, when lives are turned upside down following bankruptcy.

The opera, musically inspired by the sounds of Digbeth and its clubbing scene, also features a ‘found object gamelan’ – the traditional ensemble music of the Javanese, Sundanese and Balinese peoples of Indonesia, made up predominantly of percussive instruments. This is called a ‘Baltiphone’, as it is made out of tuned Balti bowls.

Daniel and Roxanne have written the short opera for mezzo soprano, percussion, bass trombone and with a volunteer chorus.

Daniel said: “The idea for this piece has been in our heads for a long time. Both Roxanne and I have been based in Digbeth with our operatic venture, Infinite Opera, and we have developed many projects with people in the area. We wanted to engage with the city and the amazing people that have developed creative business in Brum, but also with the difficulties they face in their day-to-day. It’s an amazing opportunity to create this piece with Birmingham Opera Company, which has provided invaluable support to develop our ideas and make them take form.”

Roxanne said: “[shut] points a finger to the ongoing crisis happening to many small businesses since the pressures of the pandemic. Bankruptcy is here in our city, directly impacting on the mental health of many hard-working people.”

Find out more about Brum Commissions here.

Return to the previous page.