Second Movement was founded in 2004 by director Oliver Mears, conductor Nicholas Chalmers and producer Abigail Toland. The company specialises in risk taking and rarely performed repertoire with a focus on contemporary opera. Current and recent projects include Your Story, Your Voice, Your Stage, a co-creative project in collaboration with the charity Tourettes Action and as co-producer for 12:42, a documentary film exploring creative processes, isolation and digital connections (National Opera Studio, 2020).
Second Movement produces and curates rough for opera, a regular performance platform for new opera and work in development. Since October 2011 rough for opera has hosted new work from more than 50 young, emerging and established composers. rough for opera has its own website with information about all past performances, composers and performers at roughforopera.tumblr.com.
Previous production highlights include the UK premiere of Martinů’s The Knife’s Tears (2007, revived 2010 Brno and Prague,) “stunning” The Independent on Sunday, the first UK staged production of Shostakovich’s Rothschild’s Violin by Fleischmann, completed by Shostakovich, Fade by young US composer Stefan Weisman (2008, Second Movement commission) and The Medium by Menotti (2006, revived Northern Ireland 2011) “excellent” The Spectator. In 2012 Second Movement commissioned and produced Zátopek! by Emily Howard (music) and Selma Dimitrijevic (libretto) as part of the PRS for Music Foundation’s New Music 20×12 for the Cultural Olympiad, with support from Jerwood Charitable Foundation. Performed in Liverpool and London’s Southbank in partnership with Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Zátopek! was broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s Hear and Now and is available on NMC Recordings. “a tremendous opera” The Review Show, BBC2, 4* The Guardian. In 2018 Second Movement worked in partnership with the National Opera Studio for their 40th anniversary commissioning project 12:40 – Twelve Arias for Twelve Young Artists. Performances of the arias took place at Hoxton Hall in June 2018.