News – Judith Weir’s Miss Fortune

The UK premiere of a new opera by Judith Weir takes a roller-coaster ride through life in the company of fate. Based on an old Italian folk tale, the opera tells the story of Tina, a young woman whose wealthy family suddenly meets hard times. She decides to make her own way in the world, working in grueling occupations. Each time her luck seems to turn for the better, she is thrown by another misfortune. Later, however, she makes the acquaintance of Fate, and after this, her life changes for the better.

Weir has updated the action to the 21st century, adapting the story into a topical parable about the ups and downs of life. Her great interest in folklore and folk music from Scotland, Iceland, India and China has decisively influenced her style. Not many operas combine great music with breakdancing and a burning kebab van, but Miss Fortune does all this and more under the direction of Chen Shi-Zheng (his spectacular staging of Monkey: Journey to the West was presented at the Royal Opera House in 2008).

This new, approachable and engaging opera had its premiere at the Bregenz Festival in summer 2011 and now comes to the Royal Opera stage with the same acclaimed cast – Emma Bell sings the title role while Jacques Imbrailo plays her eventual love, Simon. Paul Daniel conducts this effective and atmospheric score in a beautiful and inventive production whose story is funny, touching, moral and contemporary. Miss Fortune continues the series of high-profile recent works that include Anna Nicole, The Tempest and The Minotaur. With the added impact of the world-class Royal Opera Chorus, Judith Weir’s Miss Fortune is a highlight of this Royal Opera Season.

Dates: March 12, 16, 20, 23, and 28


Tina (Miss Fortune): Emma Bell
Lord Fortune: Alan Ewing
Lady Fortune: Kathryn Harries
Fate: Andrew Watts
Hassan: Noah Stewart
Donna: Anne-Marie Owens
Simon: Jacques Imbrailo
Royal Opera Chorus
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Conductor: Paul Daniel


Composer: Judith Weir
Director: Chen Shi-Zheng
Set design: Tom Pye
Costume design: Han Feng
Video design: Leigh Sachwitz
Movement: Ran Arthur Braun