13th January: Last week’s top re-entries The Classical Album and The 50 Greatest Pieces of Classical Music switch around, at no. 1 and no. 2, and Renée Fleming’s new album is the highest new entry at no. 8.
The sensitive and controversial subject of domestic terrorism is to be tackled in a new original opera, Babur in London. The chamber piece, which is set to begin a UK tour on June 12, is a collaboration between Opera North and The Opera Group.
Babur in London focuses its attention on the lives of four radicalised young British-Asian men and a woman who are preparing a terrorist act. As they get closer to fulfilling their mission, the quintet is visited by the ghost of Babur, the first Mughal emperor, who questions their motives and beliefs. Directed by John Fulljames, the opera combines the music of Edward Rushton and the contemporary poetry of Jeet Thayil.
Mindful of the opera’s delicate subject matter, the production team met with scholars of Islam as well as the counter-terrorism think tank Quilliam Foundation to get to the heart of the matter and present a balanced and considered view. Additionally, the opera will be accompanied by workshops in London and Bradford that have been designed to examine the topics raised. There will also be debates before and after the shows.
Babur in London has already played in Zurich, Switzerland.
The Opera Group is used to tackling controversial subjects. In 2010 they staged The Lion’s Face that dealt with the impact of Alzheimer’s disease. This was followed a year later by Seven Angels, an opera that used Milton’s Paradise Lost to explore environmental issues.