The Minotaur - ROH - projection design by 59

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Composer Harrison Birtwistle

Libretto David Harsent

Director Stephen Langridge

Designer Alison Chitty

Lighting Paul Pyant

Choreography Philippe Giraudeau

Video Design Mark Grimmer

Associate Video Designer Lysander Ashton

Animation Joseph Pierce for 59 Productions

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The Minotaur

Royal Opera House


Fifty Nine Productions has created the video design for the World Premiere of Harrison Birtwistle's new opera The Minotaur at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Directed by Stephen Langridge and designed by Alison Chitty, the opera runs until May 3rd.

Visit the Royal Opera House website or scroll down for reviews of the opening night.


"The production is an outstanding achievement for all concerned."

*****The Guardian

"Labyrinthine magic...Elegantly simple...this production deserves wide currency."

*****Sunday Telegraph

"It is not often that in attending a premiere one believes oneself to be in the presence of great art. But after two hours of Harrison BIrtwistle's latest opera, this appears to be the case, and director Stephen Langridge's production (designed by Alison Chitty) is a terrible beauty to behold."

****** Time Out

"Blood-drenched and sorrowful, majestic and raw, Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s The Minotaur, commissioned by the Royal Opera House and given its world premiere last night, plunders the extremes of human nature in music of coruscating, storming beauty."

**** Evening Standard

"When we hear Tomlinson's chunky but vulnerable bass sing of beautiful things, we understand the Minotaur's suffering, his longing and his bitterness - and recognise part of ourselves."

**** Financial Times

"This opera is a grand spectacle. The drama is both wonderful and dreadful...This is the most powerful and original opera yet to have emerged this century."

**** Scotsman

"[A] dark, threatening, and strikingly assured work.

When [the Minotaur] dreams, he enters a dialogue with his sepulchrally amplified mirror-image: again, the whole drama is transported onto another plane."

The Independent

"Sometimes music speaks not only to your mind and heart, but grabs at your very viscera in the most primal way imaginable. Such was the experience of last night's world premiere of Harrison Birtwistle's The Minotaur at the Royal Opera.

Demanding and disturbing, the overture, played against the backdrop of dark and menacing waves, warned us of darkness to come. This was no idle threat, either. Rape, massacre and the consumption of the Minotaur's half-dead sacrificial victims, the Innocents, by the greedy Keres, vulture-like harpies: all were to follow....

Do not miss this chilling masterpiece."

The Spectator

"Harrison Birtwistle's baleful operatic treatment of a Greek myth assaults the senses with its violence and terrible beauty...the performances of Reuter, Rice and Tomlinson faultless. It's an awful, awful evening. But The Minotaur is an imperative.

Independent on Sunday

"An inspired new opera...Stephen Langridge's production, beautifully designed by Alison Chitty, is spare and elegent."

Sunday Times

"Masterful...The production by the young director Stephen Langridge establishes him as a talent to be reckoned with. He does not flinch from the violence, with the Minotaur's rape and destruction of his first victim being especially gruesome, but he also brings out the subtleties of the Ariadne-Theseus relationship. Alison Chitty's designs, enhanced by projections of the sea, capture the desolateness of the Cretan shore and, with the crowd held back by a simple wooden fence, further the bloodlust atmosphere of the bullfight scenes."

International Herald Tribune

"I emerged from the Royal Opera House on to rain-filled streets on opening night, stunned and purged by the experience....Birtwistle forges a pure, extreme beauty."

New Statesman

"Birtwistle's and Harsent's Minotaur is a fine creation that deserves to take its place in the repertoire, as it surely will, amongst the best music-theatrical creations of our time... The greatest strengths of the opera, to my mind, lie in its creators' determination always to challenge, always to remain resolute in the construction of a story in which every element has its place and its meaning in the broader unfolding. The ambiguous and powerful characters of the work, so unique for opera, are a testament in the final analysis to the form's vigour and stamina, and to its adaptability to almost any aesthetic and style, as much as they are to their creators' skill, and dramatic convictions."


"A disturbing metaphor for the beast within us all, The Minotaur has a labyrinth well worth exploring"

**** Bloomberg