PhD Collaboration (2019-22)

Anna is writing a full-length opera with poet Niall Campbell for broadcast studio performance by the BBC Philharmonic and RNCM singers. She is supervised for her AHRC-funded PhD by Professor Emily Howard at RNCM and Niall is supervised by poet Michael Symmons Roberts at MMU. This is a unique collaboration and you can find out more here.

Niall Campbell and Anna Appleby

Glyndebourne (2019-22)

Anna is associated with Glyndebourne along with three other composers as part of Balancing the Score. Find out more here.


Anna was commissioned to write a short song cycle, setting words by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, for the Jerwood Young Artists' Recital Series. It was premiered by Stephanie Wake-Edwards and Matthew Fletcher in the Organ Room at Glyndebourne on the 11th and 14th August 2019. You can listen here.


Here is an excerpt from one of Anna's choruses for Pay the Piper, a collaborative piece commissioned for Glyndebourne Youth Opera. Anna composed the beginning and ending sections and linking passages that joined up sections composed by her colleagues Ninfea Cruttwell-Reade, Ailie Robertson and Cecilia Livingston. The libretto is by Hazel Gould. You can find out more about this innovative approach to storytelling here.

We Did Our Best (2019)

This Pop-Up Opera was commissioned by Tête à Tête Opera Festival for performances outdoors and in public around London during the festival, alongside two other Pop-Up operas by composers Catherine Kontz and Vahan Salorian. The libretto was written by Ruth Mariner. It concerns two penguin parents who sing to their egg about global warming.


Tête à Tête Website (August 2019)


Tell Me The Truth About Love (2018)

In 2017/18 Anna was commissioned by Streetwise Opera to create 25 minutes of 'linking passages' for their large-scale production Tell Me The Truth About Love at Sage Gateshead. Anna collaborated with writer Meriel Sheibani-Clare. The production received a 4-star review from the Guardian.

Read the 4-Star Guardian Review (2018)


Watch Anna and Streetwise Opera in US documentary 'Turning Point' here

Read Anna's blog for Streetwise Opera here 

Citizens of Nowhere (2016/17)

This chamber opera was composed for RNCM students and was premiered in Manchester in November 2016 with singers Ann Wilkes, Helen Lacey and Emma Wheeler. It received a second performance at RNCM in April 2017 at which point the composer commissioned choreographer Dane Hurst to create a ballet to accompany it. Citizens of Nowhere follows three islanders stranded on the mainland and explores themes of loss, community and citizenship.

The Cohan Collective. Image by Pari Naderi

The opera initially grew out of workshops that Hurst and Appleby had participated in at the Cohan Collective in 2016 so this is the end result of that collaboration. The opera-ballet had two preview performances at Rambert and at Ignition Dance Festival, before being premiered in full with conductor Simon Robertshaw at RADA Studios in August 2017 as part of Tête à Tête Opera Festival. The production was funded by Arts Council England's Grants for the Arts, Sheila Forbes CBE and crowdfunding.


Tête à Tête Review (August 2017)



Ignition Dance Festival Review (June 2017)

Emma Wheeler, Ann Wilkes and Helen Lacey. Image by Claire Shovelton 2017

The Attic (2016)

'Performing the Jewish Archives' was a collaboration between RNCM and the University of Leeds to reimagine a new context for music and words found in Terezin concentration camp in WWII. 

Kingdoms Come and Kingdoms Go (2017)

In 2016/17 Anna was Manchester Composer-in-Residence with Streetwise Opera. She led lyric-writing workshops with performers who had experienced homelessness, and created this opera chorus for them to premiere at HOME in April 2017.


Read Anna's blog about the collaboration here


Anna also appeared in the US documentary 'Turning Point' alongside Streetwise Opera. You can watch it here.

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Website © Anna Appleby 2020. Images © Merchant Sinfonia and Alex Gascoine by Ian Watson, choreographer Carolyn Bolton by Roberto Cinconze, Citizens of Nowhere (with choreographer Dane Hurst and dancers Liam Giacuzzo, Alice Laidler, Eleanor Stevenson and Zunnur Sazali) by Pari Naderi and Claire Shovelton, Anna Appleby, Lore Lixenberg and Gweneth Ann Rand by Claire Shovelton and designer Sarah Booth, The Sunday Boys by Guðbjörg Ágústsdóttir, conductor Tom Goff by Anna Appleby, Citizens of Nowhere (with Ann Wilkes, Emma Wheeler and Helen Lacey) by Claire Shovelton.