Who Am I? (2009)

Project Summary

This new work was performed by Glyndebourne’s Youth Opera 3 and 4 at the Tête à Tête Opera Festival, Riverside Studios, London, in August 2009, following performances at Glyndebourne earlier in the year. Who Am I? was an exciting collaboration between director Karen Gillingham, composer Hannah Conway, cellist/singer Matthew Sharp and the young singers from Glyndebourne. The company also had the special opportunity to work with choreographer Natasha Khamjani and designer Bernadette Roberts. The piece was inspired by Dvorak’s opera, Rusalka but the music was composed entirely by the young performers. Lyrics and narrative were devised from the participants’ own experiences and dramatic improvisations.


Once upon a time every child was a mermaid, transformed into human form by a witch 100,00 years ago and destined to remain forever young. Unaware of the spell that binds them to land and air, the children live happily in a boarding school until one night, summoned by a restless moon, they are invited to reclaim their heritage and return to the world of water. Their inevitable choices, however, bring horrific consequences and irreversible destruction.

So who is the mad woman with her feet in a bucket, singing to the moon night after night? Do mermaids really exist? Can the prince save the world from flooding? Will the Sun battle the Moon for all eternity? And would you step through a mirror in a wood at the bottom of a lake?

Creative Team

Director Karen Gillingham
Music Director Hannah Conway
Choreographer Natasha Khamjani
Visiting Artists Adam Swayne and Will Carslake