Renowned opera director Sir Graham Vick dies

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Renowned opera director Sir Graham Vick has died “of complications arising from Covid-19”, it has been announced.

Sir Graham, who was born in Birkenhead on Merseyside, founded the Birmingham Opera Company in 1987 and worked with major venues, including Milan’s La Scala and London’s Royal Opera House.

His work led to him receiving a knighthood in the 2021 New Year Honours.

In a statement, Birmingham Opera Company said: “We are devastated to announce that today 17 July 2021 Sir Graham Vick, artistic director, Birmingham Opera Company, died of complications arising from Covid 19.

“We would ask all to respect the privacy of his partner and loved ones at this time.”

Sir Graham won many international awards including the Premio Abbiati in Italy and The South Bank Show Award.

He was a Chevalier de L’Ordres des Arts et des Lettres, Honorary Professor of Music at the University of Birmingham, international chair of opera at Royal Northern College of Music and was visiting professor of opera studies at Oxford University.

He was awarded the CBE for services to opera in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in June 2009 and knighted earlier this year.

In his early twenties at Scottish Opera Sir Graham founded a small touring company to take opera to remote communities in the Highlands and Islands. In the 1980s he worked with a group of 300 unemployed young people on Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story in an abandoned mill in Yorkshire.

In 1987 he came to Birmingham and founded Birmingham Opera Company with help from Birmingham City Council and Arts Council England.