Sky in a Small Cage

Mahogany Opera's new commission from Rolf Hind and Dante Micheaux

Sky in a Small Cage, our latest commission from Rolf Hind, is a new opera which presents a poetic reflection on the life and works of Sufi poet, Rumi, evoking both intense anguish and profound joy. It focuses on his relationship with his master, muse and beloved, Shams who was (it is suspected) murdered at the hands of Rumi’s brothers. The story will be told with words written specifically by award-winning poet, Dante Micheaux together with translations of Rumi’s own poetry. A multi-disciplinary cast directed by Frederic Wake-Walker will bring each tableau to life using song, musical interludes and dance. 

Drum sound rises on the air, its throb, my heart. A voice inside the beat says, ‘I know you’re tired, but come. This is the Way.’ Rumi

Lone flames burning near each other sometimes meet; come together without fear to share the air – beloved’s feat when two the same endear. Dante Micheaux

We are developing the piece in partnership with the Barbican and Copenhagen Opera Festival ahead of premiere performances in August and September 2024.

World Premiere

25 August 2024 – 20:00

Danish Academy Concert Hall, Copenhagen, as part of the Copenhagen Opera Festival

UK Premiere

08 September 2024 – 19:30

Barbican Concert Hall, London

Creative team

Composed by Rolf Hind

Text for music by Dante Micheaux

With additional text from Jalal al-Din Rumi

Dramaturgy and direction Frederic Wake-Walker

Music Director Aaron Holloway-Nahum

Designer Sasha Balmazi-Owen

Movement Director Rosabel Huguet


The Narrator – Elaine Mitchener

I and You (becoming Rumi) – James Hall

Bird of the Sun – Shams e Parande – Yannis François

Shaman of the Birds/Kerra, Rumi’s wife – Loré Lixenberg

Ensemble - Siddhii Lagrutta (soprano), Karima El Demerdasch (alto), Anika Venkatesh (alto), Rylan Gleave (tenor), Ty Bouque (baritone), Harald Hieronymus Hein (bass)

Onstage musicians - Athelas Sinfonietta (Copenhagen) and Riot Ensemble (London)


  • Barbican logo
  • Cockayne logo

Commission supported with generous funding from the Nicholas Berwin Charitable Trust

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