Michael Nyman uses Facebook to lash out at Royal Opera House


Composer Michael Nyman is using Facebook to lash out against Britain’s Royal Opera House for apparently rejecting his overtures for a new piece. Nyman wrote on his Facebook page that the opera company is refusing to produce any of his future operatic works.

The British composer wrote in a post earlier this month that he learned the Royal Opera “will never commission an opera” from him. “Maybe I should withdraw my tax from supporting such public institutions in ‘my’ country!”

He later added: “They are continuing to pay for new work, but not my work.”


Nyman wrote on Facebook that the Royal Opera “offered me the possibility of writing an opera to be premiered, haha, in 2018.” He added that the company ultimately withdrew the offer.

The Royal Opera House issued a response in the British press. “Having given serious thought to [Nyman’s] suggestion, and listened again to his operatic music in depth, we have decided that for us his musical language is not what we want to pursue in our next commissions,” the company said.

“This is not a dismissal of Michael Nyman as a composer in general, nor a statement about the quality of his music, as such things can, of course, not be discussed objectively. In the end, it is a question of taste.”

Nyman’s highly distinctive musical style has divided audiences for years, though he remains one of the most prominent composers working today. His music often combines minimalism with lush orchestral sounds, sometimes borrowing styles from the Baroque period.

Nyman, 68, has written numerous orchestral and instrumental works as well as several operas. He has also worked in the movies and has composed the scores for “The Piano,” “Gattaca,” “The End of the Affair” as well as for several movies by Peter Greenaway.

In June, Long Beach Opera will stage Nyman’s 1986 work “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat,” which is based on the Oliver Sacks case study.



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