Hull Urban Opera 2021


Our next concert takes place in the glorious acoustic of the old ticket office in Paragon Station.

Our “People’s Choice” Opera Highlights Concert allows you to programme next year’s full-scale production!

Artistic Director, Russell Plows and guest conductor Davide Levi, will take you through four great operatic contenders by Martinu, Ullmann and Milhaud and we’ll ask for your vote at the end. All four operas will be performed in English.

The concert features:
Poppy Shotts soprano
Joanna Gamble mezzo
Alex Grainger tenor
Neil Balfour bass-baritone
Jenny Martins piano
Alan Drever-Smith percussion

Conducted by Davide Levi
Presented by Russell Plows

You’ll hear highlights from:
The Kaiser of Atlantis by Viktor Ullmann
Julietta by Bohuslav Martinů
The Lost Sheep by Darius Milhaud *British Premiere
Medea by Darius Milhaud

General admission: £12
OAP & Unwaged: £7
*Pay-it-Forward tickets: £15
*a pay-it-forward ticket allows us to offer cheaper tickets to those less able to afford full price.

It Must Have Been a Tuesday


Inspired by the hit US phenomenon, The Moth, HUO presents It Must Have Been a Tuesday, three stirring & emotional trues stories written, spoken & sung by Poppy Shotts, Joanna Gamble and Alex Grainger covering subjects as diverse as embracing your Hull roots, connecting with estranged family and beating addiction.

In this hour-long cabaret event in the Humber Street Gallery Cafe, the performers are accompanied by Ellie Gaynard Evans on violin and the music is by Russell Plows. *Includes encores for voice and violin.  More info



“Very dark but also very clever”, “A little bit Punch & Judy & a little bit The Shining”,
“Well worth the 12 minutes it takes to watch” (alexandra Coghlan).

“CROCODILE is an innovative new national organisation which provides a safe space for local people to live out their fantasies and desires. Security is paramount since we offer rooms with online access to the public along with our private spaces. Be the real you at CROCODILE.”

For those who like their entertainment a little darker, HUO presents an innovative digital collaboration between exciting young opera team, composer Lente Verelst & librettist Lena Vercauteren, and Hull-based artist and animator, Anna Bean.

NB. Enter at your own risk. HUO cannot accept any responsibility for incidents arising from your engagement.


Voicework by
Poppy Shotts, soprano
Joanna Gamble, mezzo
Alex Grainger, tenor
Neil Balfour, bass-baritone

Concept by Russell Plows
Music by Lente Verelst
Libretto by Lena Vercauteren
Animation by Anna Bean
Web development by George Gooden

Directed by Russell Plows
Musical Direction by Hans Vercauteren
Mixed by Rich Aitken



Since there is little opera tradition in Hull, audiences are not bound to a notion of repertoire but stand ready to engage with a vital, living and infinitely mutable art-form. This allows us at HUO to tip our focus towards new work built for the city whilst dipping into great works of the past.

The company is run on socialist principles of fairness and equality which inform everything from casting, auditions and pay to repertoire and venues. We welcome approaches from artists from groups which are less well represented in opera and we continue to champion the work of female composers.

Practical promises

We promise the people of Hull, East Yorkshire and beyond, that we at HUO will always be cognisant that we spend public money and that our work will always be accessible in venue, disability access, price, subject matter and types of engagement.

Artistic promises

We promise to be friendly, welcoming and playful in our engagement with audiences and to share with them an exciting journey of discovery and experimentation inspired by our ongoing dialogue.

Our work, whether indoor, outdoor or in workshop form, may entertain, challenge and provoke but is always founded on a passionate belief in communication.

HUO exists to create work which ignites in the people of Hull a passionate relationship with the visceral power of opera.

The HUO Collective

Hull Urban Opera is an expanding collective and currently comprises:

Artistic Director Russell Plows
Outreach Director Charlotte Fong
Adminstrator George Gooden
Music Director Sonia Ben-Santamaria
Designer Joseph Bisat Marshall
Designer Liz Dees
Makeup Venice Marshall
Stage Management Luke Dankoff

Composer Lente Verelst
Librettist Lena Vercauteren
Repetiteur Caroline Blair

Soprano Poppy Shotts
Soprano Kimberley Raw
Mezzo Joanna Gamble
Tenor Alex Grainger
Baritone Edward Robinson
Bass-baritone Neil Balfour

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Hull Urban Opera