Daedalus Opera

A project by: Philip Grange

pledged of £15,000 target

This project did not reach its target.

Completion Date: Fri 15 Dec 2017
Help fund the creation of a new operatic work by Philip Grange and Simon Armitage

The project

We are seeking funding to pay for the renowned poet Simon Armitage to write the libretto for a brand new opera, which is being composed by myself, Professor Philip Grange from the Music Department at The University of Manchester.

I am currently Professor of Composition at Manchester and my compositions have been performed throughout the world, including at festivals at Aldeburgh, the New England Conservatoire in the USA, TWCAT in Taiwan and the BBC Proms.

The opera has arisen out of a partnership with colleagues in the Language Department at the University. In 2016 they applied for an Open World Research grant and needed a distinctive edge to make their application stand out. I suggested an opera which would use English and Ancient Greek to tell the mythical story of Daedalus, as a means to communicate timeless themes through a classical story, and open up a particular area of research to an entirely new audience. This led to the success of the bid, and I have now been commissioned to write this new work.

We need an extraordinary libretto to compliment the music for this piece. Simon Armitage, who is well known for his poetry and other literary works, and was the Millennium Poet back in the year 2000, has agreed to write the words for the opera. To make this project a reality, and create what will be a high-profile, as well as an engaging and wide-reaching production, we need donations to help us reach our funding target.

why this is important

The popularity of song and music makes it an excellent means of reaching a wide audience. By working in partnership with the Language Departments at The University of Manchester, this project will put classical myth, and some Ancient Greek language, into a form people can understand.

I think some of ideas behind the story of Daedalus are very relevant today. We've lived through a time of rapid advances in science, many of which have been very advantageous to us. Sometimes however, scientists have created things without a full understanding of their potential consequences, causing issues which have a great impact on our lives. I feel the story of Daedalus deals with this in a timeless way, but one which resonates with contemporary life.

Where will the money go?

The Open World Research grant, which started this project, covers only my time to write the music for the opera. We need an additional £15,000 to pay for Simon Armitage to write the libretto for the opera.

There has been interest from some significant festivals to produce the opera for its début performances. While it is still too early to confirm where the first production will take place, raising the minimum amount of £7,000 now would help to persuade other potential funding sources to invest in the project, and bring the opera to life.

Can you help us succeed?

Please pledge your support if you can, every donation, at every level, brings us a step closer to our target.

If you can also share this page, that helps us reach more people who could support us. Please help us spread the word about this fascinating project, tell your friends and colleagues, and ask them to support us too.


Thanks to the following for permission to reproduce images and video in the project video:

'Tiers of Time' film, copyright Psappha - www.psappha.com

'Pent' from the Minotaur Suite (1971) engraving by Michael Ayrton, reproduced with permission of The Estate of Michael Ayrton and The Fry Art Gallery, Saffron Walden, Essex

'Icarus Falls' (1959) painting by Michael Ayrton, reproduced with permission of The Estate of Michael Ayrton and The Tadema Gallery, Shoreditch, London