Famed UK opera chief Graham Vick dies of Covid, at 67

Famed UK opera chief Graham Vick dies of Covid, at 67


norman lebrecht

July 18, 2021

The opera world has been shocked by the death of Sir Graham Vick, one of its most enterprising directors.

Founder and artistic director of Birmingham Opera Company, Graham was formerly director of productions at Glyndebourne and a much sought after director across Europe and the US.

His recent version of Lady Macbeth of Mtsenk was inspirational.

We connected strongly over a Lebrecht Interview. You can listen to it here.

I shall miss him terribly.

Tributes to Graham here.


  • V Lind says:

    Very sad.

  • Tom Phillips says:

    A great loss.

  • Anthony Michaels-Moore says:

    This is such awful news. I knew Graham for almost 40yrs, from his days at Scottish Opera, and worked with him in many different Houses. His intelligence, imagination, curiosity and wit made him a wonderful director and a great colleague. He will be sorely missed, both professionally and personally. R.I.P.

    • Una says:

      Sorry, Anthony, to contact you this way, but I was so pleased to get news of you through our mutual teacher, Neil Howlett. I was just about to write to you via Neil but then Neil got sick and died. But Graham’s death is awful news about Graham Vick and dying of Covid complications. I too worked with him in Scottish Opera, and recently sat in on a fine interview that the Wagner Society did not long ago – perhaps April? You can get me through my website. Keep well, and hope to see you sometime along the line. Meantime, may Graham rest in peace. Amen.

  • Ilio says:

    So sad. I recall a wonderful production of Die Meistersinger at Covent Garden in the 90’s.

    • Robin Worth says:

      Yes, with Tomlinson and Lott. Must have been one of his first and greatest successes. The world of opera should have had more years of Vick’s work.

      But what happened between him and Glyndebourne? The Mozart/da Ponte trilogy did not fire, and the Don G. was rather bizarre. Did he ever go back?

      • Philip Lawford says:

        Graham did go back to Glyndebourne, around 4 years ago, with a wonderful production of Hipermestra (Cavalli), together with William Christie. The opening scene immediately post-interval, in which musicians were the first to emerge from the devastated city, was – with hindsight – extraordinarily prescient.
        I believe that any hatchet-burying that was still necessary was more than accomplished through this project.

  • Stephen Diviani says:

    Very sad news. I saw so many fine productions by Mr Vick, including innovative stagings for the BOC, for which I will always be grateful.

  • RW2013 says:

    Let his moving production of Death in Venice at the DOB be a fitting memorial.

  • Guus Mostart says:

    I first met Graham in 1977 when we were both staff producers on Die Schweigsame Frau at Glyndebourne, directed by John Cox. Graham was fun to be with and a loyal colleague. He will be greatly missed.


    RIP, dear Graham. He directed me when a student at the RAM in 1977 in Snegourochka, and we were friends ever since. Wonderful Meistersinger at ROH and Pelleas at Glyndebourne and so many others. Heart-breaking.

  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    Dreadful news his approach to opera productions will be sorely missed.

  • ken says:

    Get vaccinated

  • Jan Kaznowski says:

    RIP. I caught his Mittwoch aus Licht (Stockhausen) in B’ham 9 years ago and was stunned by the spectacle.

    Was anybody else here in attendance ?

    • Alan says:

      Yes. A remarkable achievement

    • Michael Turner (conductor) says:

      I was there. One of the most incredible musical experiences of my life which I owe to his vision.

    • Robert Slotover says:

      Mittwoch was a World Premiere. Astounding how Graham took that on; the most extreme and intentionally ludicrous scenario in all opera. He gave it life. He was a genius.

  • Jonathan Cole says:

    I was. It was stunning in its intelligence and vibrancy and always drew our attention back to the extraordinary music. Something I’ll never forget and am grateful to have attended.

  • Peter Sidhom says:

    I can’t find words to express my grief at this news. Graham was a genius and an absolute joy to work with, constantly pushing the boundaries and encouraging people to explore things within themselves they didn’t know were there. At the very start of my career he trusted me with major roles and gave me the confidence to find myself as a singing actor, for which I will be forever grateful. Every time we met he greeted me with a loving hug, and I’m devastated to realise that won’t happen again. Ron, if you’re reading this, you’re very much in my thoughts and Sarah and I send you our love.