Multi-faceted opera with some elements of dance and film.

Libretto & workshops developed through OperaGenesis at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Collaboration with poet Selima Hill and sculptor Bill Woodrow


Beekeeper explores the complex relationship between a beekeeper and his wife, following the death by fire of their infant daughter many years earlier. This crumbling relationship is starkly juxtaposed with the colourful, magically intertwined, symbiotic relationship between the beekeeper and his colony of bees.

 HiveThe opera consists of four central operatic sung characters, with limited peripheral elements of dance (2 characters) and film; orchestral music for small ensemble; pre-recorded male chorus (x 9); spoken voice and sound-design.

Beekeeper will paint a dynamic and intense picture of what is possible in contemporary performing arts, whilst more importantly presenting a compelling, rich and moving story in a stimulating, new and fantastical way. It will also incorporate strong visual elements with stage design originating through sculpture.  Bill Woodrow - Self PortraitBeekeeper will be a sensual experience to trigger the senses, using rich imagery, vibrant colours, and a carefully chosen fine balance of singers, musicians and dancers. Artistic excellence and a totally original approach will underpin the work.

The planned composition for Beekeeper will be in line with the vision of the whole opera - a cohesive score which will blend a cross-section of musical styles and textures to paint a vibrant picture in contemporary music. It will combine small live orchestra with a more extensive sound world incorporating programmed sound design. Precise instrumentation will be made clear as the composition evolves (and in response to budget), but could be envisaged to include string quintet, mandolin, accordian, soprano sax/cl., flt/picc, oboe, fag/contr.fag, tpt, tbn/bass tbn, tuba, piano, harp and percussion (x 2).

 Beekeeper and PondThe BBC have agreed to supply access to their natural history film library as a resource for some of the filmic elements of the performance, possibly incorporating some specially shot footage for the project. Other possible planned spin-offs include a publication, CD, live webcast, DVD/CD Rom and education programme.

To view a larger selection of images of Bill Woodrow's sculptures on the subject of Beekeeper, see dedicated section in the Gallery

To enquire further or ask for more information on the opera, please contact us above.

OperaGenesis - Royal Opera House workshop - click to enlarge

OperaGenesis - Royal Opera House workshop

Click on image to view

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