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PhD student's opera for children performed in Paris

UNIVERSITY NEWS LAST UPDATED : 15 JANUARY 2016

Birmingham Conservatoire PhD student Joanna Lee’s opera 'The Way Back Home' was performed in Paris by France’s leading opera company, the Opéra National de Paris, in December.

'The Way Back Home' ('Vol retour' in French) gives young audiences of four-years-old and above an introduction to the world of opera. Rory Mullarkey wrote the libretto, based on Oliver Jeffers’ illustrated storybook of the same name, in which a little boy explores the universe in a plane he finds hidden in his cupboard.

Joanna believes it's important to engage young children with music. She says: “All music practitioners have been a child learning music at one stage - I think it’s vital we pass our experiences and zeal on, engaging children from an early age in enriching, positive and high-quality musical experiences."

This was the debut performance of the French version of the opera, which was first performed in English at the Young Vic in London in December 2014.

Described by The Guardian as "a considerable talent", Joanna's compositions have been shortlisted for a British Composer Award and Arts Foundation Opera Composition Award. Her music has been performed by ensembles including London Symphony Orchestra, English National Opera and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.

Birmingham Conservatoire's Head of Composition, Professor Joe Cutler is proud of Joanna's success: "This is an incredible and richly deserved achievement for Joanna. It’s a double celebration on top of her recently completed PhD.

"Joanna's work keeps going from strength to strength and she is fast becoming one of the UK’s foremost voices in the world of contemporary opera."

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