Cruel Britannia

Three Opera Nibbles commissioned by Back To Ours.
Performed on March 29,30 2019 at Princes Quay, Whitefriargate and across central Hull.
“Colonialism” also performed at Glastonbury 2019.


Commissioned by Back To Ours, Cruel Britannia was a wry look at Britain’s past and present in the form of street-opera. The three events gave existing arias by Arne, Purcell and Mozart a new twist by recasting them with outlandish new characters including a mean, self-obsessed rich mother, a hunter proudly displaying his captive yeti and a tired and emotional Britannia on a shopping-trolley chariot.

Neil Balfour at Glasto with Hull Urban Opera


The 1%
Zerrin Karsli – The Mother
Esme Kingdom/Olivia Hewitt-Jones – The Daughter

Neil Balfour – The Yeti
Ben Newton – The Hunter
Sue Clarke – The Trainer

Britannia – Britannia
Chris Newton – The Slave

Directed by Russell Plows
Musical Direction by Ben Newton
Costumes by Liz Dees
Props by Charles Huckvale
Makeup by Venice Marshall

Some audience reaction
“Amazing – beautiful voices”
“Fantastic – short and sweet!”
“I take my hat off to them”
“It opens it up to the people”
“My first bit of opera, I might chance seeing another now”

This production was made possible with the generous support of Back To Ours.

Hull Urban Opera