Published on 19/11/19


Tickets on sale for Music Theatre Wales’ UK Premiere and tour of Award-Winning Denis & Katya

Published on 19/11/19

Denis & Katya, a game-changing new opera from award-winning duo Philip Venables and Ted Huffman, will receive its UK premiere performances next spring and tickets are now on sale. The UK premiere will be performed in Newport on 27 February before touring to Mold, Aberystwyth, London and Cardiff throughout March.

Philip Venables and Tedd Huffman Photo by Dominic M. Mercier for Opera Philadelphia.

Responding to the real-life tragedy of two teenage runaways, the co-production between the UK’s leading contemporary opera company Music Theatre Wales, Opera Philadelphia and Opéra Orchestre National Montpellier received glowing reviews from US critics when it opened in Philadelphia this autumn. Denis & Katya also received the Fedora Generali Award for Opera – a major prize awarded to innovative work created through international collaboration.

The compelling documentary opera follows the accounts of the true story of two 15-year-old Russian teenagers Denis Muravyov and Katya Viasova. Their story hit the headlines in November 2016 after they lived their final hours through the eyes of social media, engaging with their on-line viewers as they filmed while in the midst of a standoff with Russian Special Forces. The opera by composer Philip Venables and writer-director Ted Huffman, the duo behind the award-winning 4.48 Psychosis, examines the real life tragedy of the Russian runaways and explores how stories are shaped and shared in our age of 24/7 digital connection.

The creative team visited the teenagers’ hometown in Russia, interviewing local people who were affected by the tragedy, including a school friend, neighbour and teacher, who are represented in the opera. The innovative production splices text, video, music and theatre and is scored for just four cellists and two singers who deliver accounts from several different perspectives.

Hailed in the American press as a work that sets a new direction for the future of opera, Denis & Katya combines a tragic true story of forbidden love with a poignant reflection on how people live their lives online.

Denis & Katya will receive its UK premiere at The Riverfront in Newport on February 27. The production will then tour to Theatr Clwyd Mold on 2 March, Aberystwyth Arts Centre on 3 March, Southbank Centre London on 13 & 14 March followed by a performance in Cardiff at Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama on 27 March.

All performances will feature cellists from London Sinfonietta, Music Theatre Wales’ associate company, and the cast for the UK performances is Australian mezzo soprano Emily Edmonds and English baritone Johnny Herford, with video design by Pierre Martin and sound design realised by Sound Intermedia.

Music Theatre Wales Artistic Director Michael McCarthy said

“As soon as I saw 4.48 Psychosis by Philip and Ted it was clear that they were truly original opera creators, so I was thrilled when they presented MTW with their idea for this new piece. Denis and Katya is about the way we live our lives in the here and now, through our screens and via social media, exploring the implications of these actions and our own participation in potentially tragic stories. Making this work hand-in-hand with Opera Philadelphia has already been hugely rewarding and I can’t wait to share it with audiences across Wales and in London.”

For more tour information click here


UK National and Wales for Music Theatre Wales:
Penny James, Freelance Publicist
07854 114 782

Tour Dates:

  • Thursday 27 February, (UK Premiere) The Riverfront, Newport
  • Monday 2 March, Theatr Clwyd, Mold
  • Tuesday 3 March, Aberystwyth Arts Centre
  • Friday 13 March, Purcell Room, Southbank Centre, London
  • Saturday 14 March, Purcell Room, Southbank Centre, London
  • Friday 27 March, Richard Burton Theatre, Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, Cardiff

Music Theatre Wales

Based in Cardiff, Music Theatre Wales is the UK’s leading contemporary opera company. By commissioning outstanding composers and writers, developing the opera creators of the future and presenting works by the world’s most important contemporary composers – including Pascal Dusapin, Philip Glass, Salvatore Sciarrino, Peter Eötvös, Harrison Birtwistle, Peter Maxwell Davies, Stuart MacRae - the company brings vibrant new opera to audiences across Wales, the UK and internationally.

Opera Philadelphia

Opera Philadelphia, the only American finalist for the 2016 International Opera Award for Best Opera Company, is “the very model of a modern opera company” (Washington Post). Committed to embracing innovation and developing opera for the 21st century, the company has commissioned and co-commissioned a number of important new operas, including Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell’s Silent Night, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Music; Jennifer Higdon and Gene Scheer’s Cold Mountain, winner of the 2016 International Opera Award for Best World Premiere; Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek’s Breaking the Waves, winner of the Music Critics Association of North America (MCANA)’s 2017 Best New Opera Award; Daniel Bernard Roumain and Marc Bamuthi Joseph’s We Shall Not Be Moved, named one of the New York Times’s “Best Classical Music Performances of 2017”; David Hertzberg’s The Wake World, winner of MCANA’s 2018 Best New Opera Award; and Philip Venables and Ted Huffman’s Denis & Katya, recognized with the 2019 Fedora-Generali Prize for Opera, further ensuring Opera Philadelphia’s status as “a hotbed of operatic innovation” (New York Times) that represents “one of North America’s premiere generators of valid new operas” (Opera News).

London Sinfonietta

The London Sinfonietta’s mission is to place the best contemporary classical music at the heart of today’s culture; engaging and challenging the public through inspiring performances of the highest standard, and taking risks to develop new work and talent. Founded in 1968, the ensemble's commitment to new music has seen it commission 400 works, and premiere many hundreds more. Resident at Southbank Centre and Artistic Associates at Kings Place, with a busy touring schedule across the UK and abroad, its core sixteen Principal Players represent some of the best solo and ensemble musicians in the world.