The Importance of Being Earnest

Saturday 28 April 2012 at 7.00pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham +44 (0)121-780 3333

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group
Thomas Adès conductor
Barbara Hannigan Cecily Cardew
Peter Tantsits John Worthing
Joshua Bloom Algernon Moncrieff
Katalin Karolyi Gwendolen Fairfax
Hilary Summers Miss Prism
Alan Ewing Lady Bracknell
Benjamin Bevan Lane / Merriman

Gerald Barry: The Importance of Being Earnest (sung in English with English surtitles) 90′

21st Annniversary Symphony Hall“A Handbag?!” Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest is surely the single wittiest play in the English language. Thomas Adès conducts Birmingham’s world-renowned BCMG and a stellar cast in this definitive concert performance of Irish composer Gerald Barry’s brilliant new opera. “My favourite living composer finds the hilarious musical equivalent for Oscar Wilde’s perfect absurdist paradoxes inhis riotously outrageous and funny new opera.” Thomas Adès

“The opera is hysterically funny. The score is highly sophisticated and indescribably zany… The world now has something rare: a new genuinely comic opera…”Los Angeles Times, 8 April 2011

Click here to find out more about composer Gerald Barry and his music.

Stephen Fry, Fiona Shaw, Thomas Adès and Gerald Barry discuss Barry’s new opera ahead of the upcoming European premiere performances.

The performance will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on May 19th 2012

Article by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post

“Turning Oscar Wilde’s “Earnest” Into an Opera”

Click here for full article

Article by Ivan Hewett, Telegraph:

“Gerald Barry talks about his new opera The Importance of Being Earnest”

Click here for full article


Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

Click here for full review

…     “Orchestrally, Barry’s score is fascinating, fizzingly through-composed, winkingly allusive at times (including Janacek and Wagner, and the first two acts ending with references to the “Auld Lang Syne” with which the opera, in Barry’s own car-crashing arrangement, begins), and rich in imaginative touches, such as a duet for wind-machines, a seemingly endlessly prolonged brass trill, and two elegantly choreographed plate-smashing cameos.


Thomas Ades conducted with generous commitment, enthusiastically reciprocated by all concerned onstage, and most of a pleasingly sizeable audience.”



Review by Hilary Maddocks, Observer (at Barbican)

Click here for full review

Review by Andrew Clements, Guardian (at Barbican)

Click here for full review

Review by Rupert Christiansen, Telegraph (at Barbican)

Click here for full review