The Canticles

2002 - The Canticles
By Benjamin Britten
In co-production with Tête à Tête Opera Festival

World premiere staging at Westminster Abbey (May 2002)

About this production

Streetwise Opera’s inaugural production starred participants from our workshop programmes in four London homeless centres alongside professional opera singers. The project blended Streetwise Opera’s unique experience of working with the homeless with Tête à Tête’s extraordinarily high standard of musical and dramatic presentation.

‘It’s dangerous to use the word ‘unique’ about anything at Westminster Abbey. This great place has seen most things in life. But we do believe that Streetwise Opera’s performance of Britten’s Canticles, with a cast of homeless people, is a particularly special event. The Dean and Chapter has been fascinated by this project since it was first raised with us and we look forward to the performances with pleasure and enthusiasm.’
The Very Reverend Dr Wesley Carr Dean of Westminster


Dan Norman – Tenor
Simon Baker – Countertenor
James Bowman – Countertenor (Voice of God) .
Ian Partridge (Voice of God)
Tom Guthrie – Baritone
Alice Trentham – Harp
Evgeny Chebykin – French Horn
Tim Blowfield – Dancer
Dominic Harlan – Pianist, Music Director
Bill Bankes-Jones – Director
Matthew Peacock – Producer
JJ - Project Co-ordinator
Carrie Southall – Designer
Tom Albu – Production Manager
Mark Doubleday – Lighting Designer
Marius Ronning – Stage manager
Lucy Khan – Wardrobe
Terry Doyle – Production Assistant
Una Murphy, Nicole Proia, Claire Parry-Jones, Nina Brazier, Jemma Gardner – Assistant Directors


‘Truly awe-inspiring. Cynics detecting political correctness in overdrive would have felt satisfied if the results were makeshift and amateurish, but the opposite was true. Musically the performances were superb.’

The TImes

‘Beyond moving… The arts have this magical power to bring us closer together through our own creativity and through our responses to that of others. This event proved it beyond a shadow of a doubt. I doubt whether the performers or anyone else present will ever forget this inspired and inspiring occasion.’


‘Every performer and director – for there were many – should be proud: a witty, brave, imaginative evening.’

The Independent

‘Proof that it is worth investing in the arts because they can improve people’s lives, at ground level, where it’s needed.’

The Guardian