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 conceived as a contemporary staged oratorio which tells the story of the extraordinary life of Sufi poet, Rumi – and focusing 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. An exceptional multi-disciplinary cast and mixed ensemble will bring each dramatic 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 autumn 2024. We are currently recruiting for a cast of six ensemble singers by open call - click here for more information.

Creative team

Composed by Rolf Hind

Text for music by Dante Micheaux

With additional text from Jelaluddin Mohammed Rumi

Dramaturgy and direction Frederic Wake-Walker

Music Director Aaron Holloway-Nahum

Movement Director Rosabel Huguet

Designer Sasha Balmazi-Owen


The Narrator – Elaine Mitchener

Rumi – James Hall

Shams – Yannis François

Kerra (Rumi’s wife) / The Shaman of the birds – Loré Lixenberg

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


  • Barbican logo
  • Cockayne logo
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