Borka: The Adventures of a Goose with no Feathers was originally commissioned as an opera by English Touring Opera in 2014. It was performed in schools & theatres alongside the main-stage spring tour. These performances culminated in performances at Kew Gardens, attended by John Burningham himself. The original production was created for four singers & an actor/narrator but is now through composed for four singers in an all new production.
Composer, Russell Hepplewhite, is recognised as a leading music-theatre composer. His ground-breaking operas commissioned by English Touring Opera for young audiences have been widely performed, and won him critical acclaim. The most successful of these operas, Laika The Spacedog, has been performed across Europe including an all new productions by the Opera Nouvel in Fribourg Switzerland; and the Neue Forum Kunst Germany. Other operas include The Price, and Ever Young both for W11 Opera; The Casket Girl for Jubilee Opera, and Moonfleet The Musical for the Salisbury Playhouse in 2018. His music is published by OUP, Stainer and Bell, and Banks Music Publications. With acclaimed author Michael Rosen Russell composed the 2020 set of Friday Afternoons songs commissioned by Snape Maltings, Forthcoming productions include Climat at Montpellier Opera; and a new opera for the State Opera in Oldenburg Germany.
Librettist, Tim Yealland, read English at Trinity College Cambridge, then studied singing at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and at the Hochschule für Musik in Munich. As a singer and actor he performed for English Touring Opera, Opera 80, English National Opera, Opera North, the Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne, and the Chichester Festival. He has directed participatory projects for most of the leading opera companies and orchestras, including the Royal Opera House, English National Opera, Opera North, Glyndebourne as well as the London Symphony, London Philharmonic and Philharmonia orchestras. He devised and led the outreach work of English Touring Opera for 16 years, for whom he wrote the libretti for and directed many operas for young people. He directed Ever Young for W11 Opera in 2019, and also wrote the lyrics for It's Your Move in 2021. For the last three years he has devised work for the Primary Shakespeare Company (with composer Rachel Leach), most recently in 2022 Fly, Fleance, Fly, an opera based on Macbeth with 240 young people in Harrow and Islington. Tim was appointed MBE in the 2019 New Year’s Honours.
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