Composition Commission issued to Laurence Osborn

Mahogany Opera Group, London, United Kingdom


The Mother is a new chamber opera by British composer Laurence Osborn.It is based on the play Matka, written in 1924 by one of Poland’s most celebrated artists, Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz (or Witkacy), 1885-1939. A writer, poet, painter, photographer and philosopher, Witkacy was a visionary ahead of his times. His cutting-edge judgement and catastrophic prophecies continue to resonate with younger generations.

The Mother places Witkacy’s radical views on theatre within an opera context for the first time. Drawing on his anarchic and surrealist subversion of theatrical norms, the piece explodes the operatic form, allowing it to have its own existential crisis. At its heart lies a family drama about whether a mother and son can learn to love one another when they have been driven mad by each other. Laurence Osborn’s music accentuates Witkacy’s vision with a score full of bizarre tunes, folk influences and sizzling pop references.

This major new commission, supported by the EvS Music Foundation, brings together British and Polish artists, including the Polish Cultural Institute, the Adam Mickiewicz Institute and the Polish Institute of Music and Dance. The Mother will have its world premiere at Poznan in Poland before giving fifteen further performances in Poland, Hungary and the UK.


June 16, 17 and 18, 2017

Teatr Polski, Poznan, Poland (as part of the MALTA Festival)


June 30, 2017

Armel Opera Festival, Budapest, Hungary


Autumn 2017

Theatre Wielki (with Warsaw National Opera), Warsaw, Poland

Witkacy Theatre, Zakopane, Poland (as part of The Music on the Heights Festival)


Summer 2018

Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House, London UK


Further information