‹ Back to What's On Performance: Babur in London

14 - 15 Jun 2012

A new opera by Edward Rushton and Jeet Thayil

Following the success of the award-winning production Into the Little Hill, internationally renowned company, The Opera Group, return to the Howard Assembly Room with their new opera, Babur in London.

Babur in London tells a haunting story of four young people in today’s society grappling with their beliefs, the consequences of their actions, and their feelings for each other.

In a London suburb four young men and women are preparing a terrorist act. As their mission draws closer, they are disturbed by the ghost of Babur, first Mughal Emperor - poet and warrior, who died 500 years ago. Challenging their convictions he calls them ‘children playing at battle, in love with death’, but what are his motives for interfering?

The piece combines the contemporary poetry of Jeet Thayil with original music by esteemed composer Edward Rushton, described by The Guardian as "a brilliant young composer." Directed by John Fulljames.

You can view the programme (which includes the full libretto) here.

Running time approx. 80 minutes. No interval.

There will be a post performance talk on Thursday 14 June entitled 'What is it like to be a Muslim in Britain today?'.

The Opera Group Production, Co-Produced with Anvil Arts, Basingstoke and Opera North. The Opera Group previously won The Evening Standard Award for Best Musical for Street Scene in 2008.

Suggested age suitability 14+

‘Corrosively lyrical, jaggedly theatrical’ The Times on composer Edward Rushton

This production is supported by the Opera North Future Fund

What the critics say

Outstanding young singers…John Fulljames arranges the action skilfully

Basellandschaftliche Zeitung, Switzerland - Full Review ›

Indisputably accomplished and superbly sung

The Independent - Full Review ›



Jeet Thayil - On writing Babur in London


When the idea of a collaboration with The Opera Group first came up, it occurred to me that the figure of Babur was uniquely suited to opera. And more importantly, I think it interested Edward. That’s the thing about opera—you may have a great idea, but if ... Read More

  • Nafisa Kishani Jayasinghe
  • Saira Annie Gill
  • Mo Amar Muchhala
  • Faiz Damian Thantrey
  • Babur Omar Ebrahim
Creative Team
  • Director John Fulljames
  • Music Director Tim Murray
  • Designer Sarah Beaton
  • Lighting Designer: Matt Haskins
  • Video Designer: Ian William Galloway

Click on the venue below to plan your visit.


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Important Information

Please note the time listed on your ticket/webpage is the start time for the performance. Leeds Grand Theatre is open from 1 hour beforehand for ticket collection etc. and doors to the Howard Assembly Room itself open approximately 30 minutes beforehand. Where there is a support act, this will also be stated on the website/ticket. We recommend arriving at least 15 minutes before show time as latecomers will only be admitted during a suitable break in the performance.

The Howard Assembly Room is located inside Leeds Grand Theatre

Leeds Grand Theatre is situated on New Briggate in the heart of Leeds City Centre.

The theatre is easily accessible by public transport. It is approximately 10 minutes walk from the main bus station and 15 minutes walk from the train station with many buses stopping in the immediate vicinity. For the most up to date information on local bus and train times, please check WYMetro. There is also a taxi rank outside the theatre although we recommend booking a taxi in advance, particularly on a Friday or Saturday evening.

Parking is available at various nearby car parks, including Edward Street/Templar Street and the St John's and Merrion Centre shopping malls. A limited amount of on street parking is available near the theatre is free after 6pm but this does tend to fill up very quickly.


What you say

Comment from Opera North


Opera North said ago

Thank you for taking the time to get in touch and commenting on the plot of Babur in London. We regret if any of the marketing material on Babur has caused you to think of the production as promoting cultural stereotypes or the product of lazy thinking. While we appreciate that the opera tackles a very controversial topic, we believe it primarily deals with 4 young people struggling with their beliefs in today’s society. It explores questions around ideology and cultural identity in order to provoke debate, thought and civic conversation. Our aim is to challenge, not reaffirm cultural stereotypes.

It’s a shame that you can’t see the production for yourself to make up your mind and further this important discussion. We value customer feedback and would love to hear more about your views. Please let us know if you would like more information about the opera.

Comment from Geoffrey Kinder


Geoffrey Kinder said ago

OH dear, yet another stereotype plot that encourages Islam = terrorist. I'm sure my many Muslim friends are sick of this kind of thing. I'l be in Aldeburgh on the 14th June - otherwise I'd turn up to protest.

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