Sir Graham Vick CBE 30th December 1953 – 17th July 2021

We are devastated to announce that Sir Graham Vick died of complications arising from COVID-19 on Saturday 17th July. He had been in hospital since June after testing positive for the virus just before he was due to start rehearsals for Rhinegold with Birmingham Opera Company.

Jonathan Groves says: ‘It had been my privilege to represent Graham for over forty years, since we were kids in our early twenties. He was a constant source of inspiration, and was like a brother to me. What a journey we travelled together, and how much more there was to come!!

Graham directed Wagner at the Royal Opera House, Chausson in Paris, Verdi at La Scala and Vienna, Mozart at the Salzburg Festival, Monteverdi in Bologna, Schoenberg and Shostakovich at the Metropolitan Opera, Prokofiev at the Mariinsky and Rossini at Pesaro. But, above all, he will be remembered for his work in Birmingham.

Graham created Birmingham Opera Company from the fledgling CBTO in 2000 in order to share the transformative power of top-quality opera with the many and not the few. Continuing his international work in the world’s leading opera houses, he always returned to his creative home, Birmingham. He threw open the doors to the peoples of the city who came to discover what Graham himself had discovered as a boy on a life-changing visit to the Liverpool Empire. In the derelict factories, parks and urban spaces of Birmingham, everyone was welcome, not just as spectator but participant with no selection process other than a commitment to turn up and take part. From 16 to 90 year olds, they volunteered in their hundreds, committing to arduous and inspiring rehearsals resulting in unique, ground-breaking productions that have taken Birmingham’s name across the globe as an innovator.

Every person whose life he has touched, through his passion for opera and belief that it could speak to everyone, will mourn his loss. He treated everyone the same from principal singers to community volunteers, stage management and crew, audiences and donors.

Sir Graham Vick CBE’s profile

Sir Graham Vick CBE (1953 – 2021)'s profile