Enter the weird and wonderful world of Maurice Sendak's much-loved books for children and see his iconic drawings brought to life in two wildly imaginative family operas by Oliver Knussen. Discover your wild side and let your imagination take over as live digital projections, rolling-eyed monsters and talking cats and dogs interact with singers and orchestra to create an unforgettable spectacle.
Watch our Wild Things trailer and listen to our monstrously wild podcast where we speak to director and designer, Netia Jones, costume designers, monsters, Jenny the Dog, and Max himself.
Enter our competition to win prizes and play our fun monster games.
This takes place during Barbican Weekender – two days of free digital activity for all ages and the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s Total Immersion celebrating Oliver Knussen at 60.
Where the Wild Things Are (45mins)
Higglety Pigglety Pop! (1hr)
Ryan Wigglesworth conductor
Netia Jones director/designer
Libretti and original drawings by Maurice Sendak
Where the Wild Things Are
Claire Booth Max
Susan Bickley Mama / Voice of Tzippy
Christopher Lemmings Moishe
Graeme Broadbent Emil
Jonathan Gunthorpe Aaron
Graeme Danby Bernard
Charlotte McDougall Tzippy
Higglety Pigglety Pop!
Lucy Schaufer Jennie
Susanna Andersson The Potted Plant / Baby
Claire Booth Rhoda / Voice of Baby's Mother
Christopher Lemmings Cat-Milkman / High Voice of Ash Tree
Graeme Danby Pig-in-Sandwich-Boards
Grame Broadbent Lion / Low Voice of Ash Tree
Multimedia Staged Concert
Age guidance 7+
Pre-concert talk Frobisher Auditorium 1, 17:30, featuring Claire Booth, Ryan Wigglesworth, and Netia Jones
Oliver Knussen changed the parameters of British opera with his two picture-book stage works Where the Wild Things Are
and Higglety Pigglety Pop!
These colourful and opulent creations were inspired by the drawings of Maurice Sendak, whose deeply-felt stories for children have enchanted generations. Knussen’s scores, beautifully complex and yet always touching and involving, are performed by the Britten Sinfonia and a cast of talented, versatile singers.
Specially commissioned multimedia stagings by Netia Jones will see singers, orchestra and projections come together in a joyous celebration of these fun, spontaneous and utterly unreal operatic gems.
‘It’s as though he’s taken it and musically pictured … one step beyond what I’ve done… He’s carried it into another generation … He has moved it into his time, but with an authenticity and truthfulness that I feel.
’ Maurice Sendak
on Oliver Knussen
'Netia Jones is the most imaginative director of opera working in Britain today'
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Part of Families at the Barbican
Part of All classical music events - 2012–2013 season
Part of Barbican Productions 2012–2013
Part of Total Immersion 2012 - 2013: Oliver Knussen at 60
Part of Barbican Weekender: ticketed events
A co-production between the Aldeburgh Festival, Barbican and Los Angeles Philharmonic Association in association with Lightmap. This production was conceived by Transition.