The last opera in Stockhausen's Licht cycle to remain unperformed, Mittwoch received its belated world premiere on Wednesday. It would have been the composer's 84th birthday. Had he still been around, he would have performed the part he wrote for himself - compere of the notorious Helikopter-Streichquartett. That role was assigned instead to the cheesily effective ("Let's hear it for Stockhausen!") DJ Nihal, who rattled the chin-stroking fraternity by treating the whole thing as a Radio 1 Big Weekend with beards.
But with a comparatively modest budget (£1m, or so I understand; the ROH eats through nearly £2m a week), a disused factory and a huge corps of local volunteers, Vick has pulled an impressive performance into shape. He has respected Stockhausen's frequently bonkers stage directions - as far as reality permits anyway. But more importantly he has respected the spirit of the work, that unique mix of mysticism, logic and German humour that made earlier fans of the composer wonder if he had lost his marbles.
I knew it was going to work as soon as I saw this parked outside the entrance:
Here's one of its occupants:
......and provide dangerous photo opps for the local MP:
Vick didn't impose a narrative, though you could create one if you wanted to.
We raced back into the other part of the factory for the time-sensitive string quartet. The apprehensive-looking bloke in the yellow vest is the viola player of the Elysian Quartet, before he went up:
More photos here