Almeida Opera's annual summer festival in London was supported by the Foundation from 1992 - 2007. In that time Almeida Opera staged 22 world premieres and 14 British premieres of new works. In the later years, the Foundation's support enabled Almeida Opera to expand beyond the summer festival into national and international touring, whilst continuing to commission new work.
Wallen’s The Silent Twins
There is no orchestra or conductor; all songs and choruses are unaccompanied. Melanie Pappenheim leads the last song in German: "Everything is transitory. Life lasts only for a moment."

Numerous attempts have been made to present "new" opera – but is this opera? Gough and Bernard have confronted contemporary life, wittily but poignantly. Critical Mass – relevant, intelligent, touching, powerful – should be widely seen. A tremendous achievement.’
Eötvös’ As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams
Wallen’s The Silent Twins

The Guardian

4 stars

‘April de Angelis's libretto for Errollyn Wallen's new opera tells the enigmatic story of identical twins June and Jennifer Gibbons. Declining to speak to others, they focused exclusively on each other. Wallen's score seizes the opportunity of defining the twins' isolated, self-created world through music that is immediate without being obvious. She is aided by two remarkable performances from Alison Crookendale as Jennifer and Talise Trevigne as June. Not only do they resemble twins, but their body language is eerily suggestive of mutual identification as well as mutual mistrust. The alternately florid and frenetic instrumental writing - vividly performed by the Almeida Ensemble under conductor Tim Murray - is perfectly complemented by vocal lines that impress with their sharply etched character. There are deft parodies of 1970s pop styles in scenes that celebrate the hectic imagination of the twins' literary creations, full of edgy behaviour and disco-dancing. Throughout, the composer and librettist pull off a feat of ambiguity by combining comedy with desperation while avoiding sentimentality. The opera itself is an unequivocal hit.’
Eötvös’ As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams

The Times

‘Operas are not customarily built around whispers and the absence of song. But the Hungarian composer and conductor Peter Eötvös always comes up with the unexpected. Calling As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams an opera at all is a liberty: better call this 1999 creation music theatre, a dream play, even a song cycle with knobs on. Whatever the label, its British premiere by Almeida Opera was something special. Sprung from the Japanese diary written by the 11th-century noblewoman known as Lady Sarashina, here was an hour of mysterious, compelling beauty, about dreams, death, orange blossoms, a hundred autumn nights. Eötvös’s triumph is to embody the diary’s wistful moods in sounds without ever shattering their fragility. So, in place of singing we had Kathryn Harries’s speaking voice: quiet, hypnotic, electronically enhanced. Alongside lurked a trio of dream figures, dominated by Richard Jackson. Whether slithering cat or purring gentleman visitor, he made each character special. In place of an orchestra came two trombones and the extraordinary, unwieldy sousaphone, with the rest recorded on multitrack tape, diffused through loudspeakers. Eötvös’s quicksilver music spun off into fantasy blessed always with a dramatic edge. Mike Svoboda and Gérard Buquet’s trombones duelled and blasted like ancient weapons of war. From loudspeakers poured a carnival of surprises: a sword unsheathed, a chattering piano, the tick-tock of passing time. All fresh, fragrant, and human.’
Critical Mass from Streetwise Opera
Critical Mass from Streetwise Opera

The Independent

Rated 5/ 5

‘Critical Mass is hugely compelling. Devised by Streetwise Opera and featuring members of The Shout, this is a work for the community by the community. Streetwise Opera, set up five years ago comprises people – all sizes, ages and ethnicities – who have experienced homelessness. Critical Mass (the title is wilfully ambiguous) is the result of workshops held in four London centres for the homeless.

Much of the material was provided by the participants. The action concerns an imagined conference of global delegates discussing global issues, satirising the vacuous, clichéd, gobbledy-gook management-speak favoured by many of today's politicians. There are no "characters", only individuals in a crowd of massed singers, skilfully directed in their movement by Bernard.
Critical Mass from Streetwise Opera
Eötvös’ As I Crossed
a Bridge of Dreams
2005 Apherghis’s Little Red Riding Hood
2006 Nyman’s Love Counts, Dayer’s Les Aveugles (The Blind, based on Maeterlinck’s short play)
and the London premiere of Yiu and Warren’s The Original Chinese Conjuror
2007 Wallen’s The Silent Twins, Eötvös’ As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams
and Critical Mass from Streetwise Opera
The Guardian

‘There has been no better London showcase for new European opera over the last 20 years than the Almeida summer season.’
PMF involvement:

1994 Firsova's The Nightingale and the Rose
1995 Adès’ Powder Her Face and McQueen’s East & West
1996 Vir's double-bill, Snatched by the Gods and Broken Strings and Goebbels’ Or The Hapless Landing
1997 Watkins's The Juniper Tree and Battistelli’s The Cenci
1998 Gribbin’s Hey Persephone! and Wenjing’s Night Banquet and Wolf Cub Village
1999 Adès’ Powder Her Face and Dove’s Tobias and the Angel
2000 Vir's Ion, John Luther Adams's Earth and the Great Weather and Norgard's Nuit des Hommes
2001 Goehr's Japanese operas, Kantan and Damask Drum and Casken's God's Liar
2002 Rushton's The Young Man with the Carnation, Barry’s The Triumph of Beauty and Deceit
and Battistelli’s The Embalmer
2003 Holt’s Who Put Bella In The Wych Elm?, for which he won the 2004 British Composer Award for his stage work, and Langer‘s The Girl of Sand
2004 Birtwistle’s chamber opera, The Io Passion and Nyman’s Man and Boy: Dada, an imaginary episode in the life of the artist, Kurt Schwitters.
The Times

The Io Passion

‘... intellectually riveting, musically groundbreaking... beautifully crafted, highly evocative.’

The Daily Telegraph

Man and Boy: Dada

'These were moments of everyday emotional truth of a sort one rarely sees on the operatic stage... a subtle and touching piece of music-theatre.’