One of Heather Betts' major inspirations is classical music, it provides a continual backdrop and force behind her whole working process. Her paintings are developed in series, many have been inspired by operas or dramatic musical compositions, there is a performative aspect to the paintings as the figures come to life through the narratives and personae, as well as the artist’s own experience.
Her fascination with the basic human instincts is the basis of her paintings. Her belief that throughout time, what drives us doesn’t change much and that we can therefore relate to Hamlet or Socrates as we can our own friends or family.
Summer 2017 saw an exhibition in London of Betts' work based on Hamlet, the exhibition was a joint venture between Maestro Arts, and Shapero Modern, Mayfair. It coincided with the premiere of a new production of Hamlet, commissioned by Glyndebourne, composed by Brett Dean, Betts' partner. Dean frequently credits Betts' paintings as a source of inspiration for his compositions.
Throughout the 2017 season Glyndebourne presented an exhibition of oils by Heather Betts, focussed on Hamlet. With works on paper being exhibited in the Stalls Gallery to coincide with the Tour.