In tribute: Sir Graham Vick – 1953 to 2021

We are extremely sad to report the death of RNCM alumnus and International Chair of Opera, Sir Graham Vick, on Saturday 17 July at the age of 67.

Graduating from the Royal Manchester College of Music (now RNCM) in the 1970s, Graham was widely recognised as one of the world’s most celebrated opera directors.

In 1983 his production of Verdi’s Falstaff opened the newly refurbished Royal Opera House, and in 1987 he founded the Birmingham Opera Company, recognised as one of the most pioneering companies for the development of opera as a 21st century art form. During his illustrious career, Graham also held the position of Director of Productions at Scottish Opera (1984 – 1987) and Glyndebourne (1994 – 2000).

For services to music, he received a CBE in 2009 and was knighted in the 2021 New Year’s Honours list. In 2017 he was appointed RNCM International Chair of Opera, a position he said he was ‘honoured to be offered’:

Forty-five years ago in a room over a shop across the road from the Royal Manchester College of Music, drama teacher Elaine Bevis led me to understand what my life would be. She guided me not only to this realisation, but to the values that continue to underpin my work. I am honoured to be offered the opportunity to nurture these values in a new and, I hope, diverse generation of artists.’

Graham will be greatly missed by all at the RNCM, particularly those within the School of Vocal Studies and Opera who benefitted from his knowledge and expertise over the past few years.

Professor Lynne Dawson, Head of Vocal Studies and Opera, said: ‘It is with immense sadness that we have all learned of the tragic passing of Sir Graham, a regular visitor here for the past several years, and not only hugely respected and admired by all staff and students, but a very dear friend to some and over very many years. He leaves a huge and worldwide legacy to the profession; such an enormous talent to lose. We offer our most sincere condolences to his partner and loved ones.’ 





19 July 2021