Birmingham brewery and taproom Dig Brew Co has teamed up with local opera company Infinite Opera to offer a wicked concoction for Hallowe’en.
Besse, the first-ever beer-themed opera to be staged in a brewery, is returning to the award-winning craft brewery on River Street in Digbeth by popular demand with celebrated American baritone Jared Ice making his Birmingham debut.
The Frankfurt-based singer is a triple winner of the international Kammeroper Schloss Rheinsberg singing competition that included his professional debut as Scarpia in Puccini’s Tosca. He is also co-producer of the award-winning opera podcast Sex, Drugs and Opera, which gives a humorous insight into the opera industry.
Created by librettist and soprano Roxanne Korda, and composer and conductor Daniel Blanco Albert, both Royal Birmingham Conservatoire graduates, Besse tells the story of a female brewer during the time of the Black Death when brewing was changing from a domestic industry in the hands of women to a commercial business controlled by men, and when an increasingly paranoid public were starting witch hunts.
Performed on a purpose-built stage around Dig Brew’s brewing equipment, the production will be part of an opera, pizza and craft beer extravaganza being held on Friday, November 1 for Hallowe’en and as a major Digbeth First Friday arts event.
Roxanne Korda, who will also sing the title role, said: “As a local non-profit company devoted to making opera accessible to everyone, we are looking forward to bringing a Hallowe’en night of dramatic entertainment to Digbeth and giving local artists and musicians a unique platform to display their talent. We are also thrilled to have Jared Ice join us an award-winning guest artist.”
Full-price tickets costing £15 include the choice of a craft beer from a wide range that includes a fruity pale ale Maleficarum and a sour Berliner Weisse Hathor’s Revenge, specially brewed for the opera, or a slice of Neapolitan-style artisan sourdough pizza from the brewery’s new Dough Pizzeria.
Daniel Blanco Albert, who will conduct from behind the bar, said: “This is a great opportunity to come and enjoy beer made into music – sometimes merrily crispy, sometimes soured with the frozen cold dagger of drama, and sometimes bitterly sweet. These are definitely two hours of refreshingly hoppy music for all.”
Oliver Webb, a graduate of the Slade School of Fine Art and founder of Dig Brew, which won a national competition run by festival organiser We are Beer this year to find the country’s best up and coming craft beer brewers, said: “We are delighted to welcome back Digbeth’s own opera company after previous productions of Besse performed in three parts in our brewery over separate nights attracted sell-out audiences.”
Oliver added: “We pride ourselves on producing top-quality craft beer and being able to use beer as a unifying force within our local community, helping us to grow Digbeth as a nationally recognised artistic and cultural centre.”
Tickets for Besse – The Beer Opera Hallowe’en Special – on Friday, November 1 are available priced from £12 to £15 by clicking on www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/besse-the-beer-opera-halloween-special-tickets-73264509119. The show starts at 8pm.
Dig Brew brews and distributes a constantly changing range of seasonal lagers, stouts, sours and pale ales to pubs, bars and off licences nationally from its converted industrial premises.
Open to the public on Thursdays and Fridays (from 4pm) and Saturdays (from 12pm), Dig Brew also runs Dough Pizzeria on the premises, as well as a bar, and organises a regular programme of food, drink, music and art-based events.
Dig Brew Co can be reached through social media at www.instagram.com/digbrewco.