Alexander Litvinenko: British opera to tell story of Russia dissident's poisoning

30 April 2019, 10:39 | Updated: 30 April 2019, 12:01

A British opera will tell the story of the assassination of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko.

The former FSB spy and UK citizen was poisoned with radioactive polonium-210 in a London restaurant in 2006.

He died more than three weeks later.

The Life And Death Of Alexander Litvinenko will premiere at Grange Park Opera in Leatherhead, Surrey, in July 2020.

The story will be told in a series of flashbacks and flash-forwards, covering the events in Russia that lead Litvinenko to seek exile in the UK.

Film footage from the time will be projected on to screens throughout the performance.

British-Australian tenor Adrian Dwyer will play the title role.

The cast of characters includes Litvinenko's wife Marina, the late Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky and the head of the FSB, Russia's secret service.

Music will be provided by former City fund manager and composer Anthony Bolton, while the libretto - the text of the opera - will be provided by Kit Hesketh-Harvey.

Grange Park Opera's founder Wasfi Fani told the Financial Times that the former spy's wife Marina has given permission for the treatment of her late husband's story.

The death of Litvinenko sparked outrage from the British government.

UK authorities expelled Russian diplomats after prosecutors accused two Russian men of his murder.

A public inquiry later blamed the Russian state for Litvinenko's death, with the former spy having been a prominent critic of Vladimir Putin.

Litvinenko's death is also being tackled in a theatrical production, A Very Expensive Poison, at London's Old Vic in 2019.

Previews will be taking place in August.

Memories of Litvinenko's story were resurfaced last year after the Salisbury nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

British prosecutors named two Russian military intelligence officers as being responsible for the attack.