28 October - 5 December 2022

glass human

A chamber opera premiere in an intimate studio setting

Tour dates

After the performances at Glyndebourne, this production will be on stage at Milton Keynes, Canterbury, Norwich, Liverpool and Brighton.

About the opera

A newly commissioned chamber opera created by composer Samantha Fernando and sound artist and writer Melanie Wilson, explores the experience of loneliness.

Three isolated voices find their way towards each other, charting a journey from emotional and social fragmentation to connection and meaning. Rooted in three contemporary experiences of loneliness – a young woman finding her identity, a refugee searching for stability and an older man living with grief and cognitive decline – the work explores the forces that separate us from each other and the threads we follow to join back together again.

Starring three soloists and members of the Tour Orchestra, this new chamber opera will be performed in the intimate setting of Glyndebourne’s Jerwood Studio. Performances are timed so that you can see glass human ahead of the mainstage opera.

This performance runs for approximately 45 minutes with no interval

Please note that glass human contains strong language and themes of a sensitive nature. If you have been affected by content of this opera, the following organisations can offer support:
Mind  |  Samaritans  |  Age UK  |  Refugee Action

glass human


Music by Samantha Fernando
Libretto by Melanie Wilson
Sound score by Samantha Fernando and Melanie Wilson
Sung in English

Creative team

Ashley Beauchamp

Lucy Bailey

Joanna Parker

Lighting Designer
Charlotte Burton

Lead Engagement Artist
Freya Wynn-Jones

Glyndebourne Tour Orchestra players
Daisy Spiers Viola
Rosie Banks-Francis Cello
Sue Blair Harp
Cameron Sinclair Percussion
Iñigo Mikeleiz Accordion

Music Preparation
Ben-San Lau


Anna Cavaliero

Camille Maalawy

Denver Martin Smith

Contributors (audio experts)
Sarah Bannerjee, Kate Cable,
Professor Robin Bannerjee, Raghad
Haddad, Dr Gillian Sandstrom and
Dawn Walton

Members of the Norwich Theatre Singing Sessions group:
Beatrice Dale, Julie Golland, Jennifer Holroyd, Rick Law, Vanessa Owen, Christine Stone, Andy Tourle

Members of Canterbury Umbrella: Caroline Patricia Clark, Wayne Michael Rhodes, Chrissy Jean Swain and other members of Canterbury Umbrella
Marlowe community member: Graeme A Forbes

Residents of Milton Court Care Home

Members of Liverpool Empire Tuesday Movers Group

Members of Windmill Young Actors:
Iris Dury, Charlie Morton, Arthur Deedman, George Wilkins

Photographer: Richard Hubert Smith


Three lonely people live isolated lives in a tower block: Grace, a geology student at university away from home for the first time, hears an unsettling voice in her head; Oma, a Syrian refugee, waits for her leave to remain and Edward, bereaved, experiences the first effects of dementia, sending him back to his childhood in Boston Bay, Jamaica.

The lives of the trio, and their landscapes of thought and feeling entwine around each other, echoing in parallel.

A mysterious sound begins to be heard. It gets louder as the days pass, and isolation intensifies. One night the sound becomes so loud that the trio are forced to leave their flats to find its source. They are drawn outside to the earth, where a sinkhole opens around them, bearing them down into allegorical depths. In this sinkhole they face their deepest fears and wounds and in so doing, find connection with each other, and the possibility of meaning and an exit from isolation.

Melanie Wilson

glass human is supported by PRS Foundation’s The Open Fund

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