Music Theatre Wales and Scottish Opera have won the prestigious South Bank Show Sky Arts Award for their co-production of Scottish Stuart MacRae and Louise Welsh's gripping one-act opera Ghost Patrol.
The opera received its World Premiere at the 2012 Edinburgh International Festival as part of a critically acclaimed double-bill which then transferred to Glasgow and toured extensively through England and Wales last autumn.
The piece beat off strong competition in the Opera section from the Royal Opera House's production of Les Troyens and Oliver Knussen's Where the Wild Things Are at the Barbican.
Ghost Patrol ("stirs the imagination.. grabs the heart." - Financial Times) brings together MacRae with acclaimed Scottish crime novelist Louise Welsh to examine how the harsh reality of civilian life collides with the corrosive effects of war. The piece is set in a modern day bar where two soldiers and a woman trying to escape their past come together, uncovering a terrible secret and unleashing inevitable tragedy.
The production was directed by Matthew Richardson and designed by Samal Blak with lighting by Ace McCarron. Music Theatre Wales' Music Director and Joint Artistic Director Michael Rafferty was the conductor. James McOran-Campbell sang the role of Alasdair, Nicholas Sharratt played Sam and Jane Harrington sang the role of Vicki.
The awards were announced at a ceremony at London's Dorchester Hotel on Tuesday, March 12, fronted by Melvyn Bragg. The Opera Award was presented by singer Amanda Echalez.
Accepting the award, Stuart MacRae said:
"It is an exciting time for new opera in the UK, with so many companies and artists getting involved in renewing and developing this living, breathing, richly collaborative art; and it's a privilege to be able to play a small part in this, presenting new, contemporary work to the public with such wonderful colleagues. I am deeply grateful to the South Bank Sky Arts Awards for recognising Ghost Patrol, and for giving us encouragement to keep making work that engages with our contemporary world."
The South Bank Show Sky Arts Awards are amongst the world's most coveted arts awards, celebrating the best of British culture and achievement across visual art, theatre, opera, dance, comedy, classical music, pop, TV drama, literature and film.
Winners in other categories of this year's awards included the James Bond film Skyfall and Hilary Mantel's novel Bring Up the Bodies.
The awards will be broadcast in a special South Bank Sky Arts Awards special on Sky Arts 1 HD on Thursday, March 14 at 9:30pm, presented by Melvyn Bragg.