The season celebrates the rise of the feminine, following last season’s
focus on the notion of the patriarch and toxic masculinity. Following
aspects of powerful women and the men they inspire, the season explores how
opera can move beyond its traditional status as a place for doomed and
punished women. For the first time more than half of the new productions
are directed by women.
Also for the first time, a single story will form the basis for four of the
new productions. The autumn of 2019 will see four different versions of the
Orpheus myth as envisioned by very different composers and very different
theatrical styles, showing how a single theme of loss, mourning and music
can be turned by opera into a kaleidoscope of ideas and responses. Designer
Lizzie Clachan provides the linking thread, with her magical, transforming
set providing the basis for all four productions.
Artistic Director of ENO Daniel Kramer said:
“I am delighted to present ENO’s 2019/20 artistic season, the second
that Music Director Martyn Brabbins and I have curated together. The
ten operas we are going to present on our main stage will touch on
something very relevant today: the rise of the feminine in the world
around us and within ourselves. What is a healthy balance of feminine
and masculine energy in our society, our systems and, above all else,
within ourselves? If last season questioned what aspects of ourselves
and our society we might choose to lay to rest, this season asks what
aspects we choose to carry forward together.
Our very exciting Orpheus project shows that a single idea can be
imparted in a vast array of different forms. It is difficult to imagine
a quartet of directors more different in background than myself, Netia,
Wayne and Emma, but we will all be looking at this one tale of Orpheus
and his quest to reclaim that which he lost. It’s one of the most
universal stories there is and I hope audiences will come to see each
one of the four to find something new in each opera, seeing and hearing
how these master composers, reflecting our own lives, all share in the
human struggle to hold onto that which we hold dear – love.
It is so important that ENO continues to push the boundaries of what is
possible on the operatic stage and at the same time keep bringing in
new audiences who may not have considered us before. Whether you’re a
theatre-lover or a Philip Glass fan, a dance addict or maybe just want
a rollicking night out, there’s going to be something for everybody.”
ENO Music Director Martyn Brabbins said:
“Our musical forces are as impressive as they ever have been: it is
excellent to see the Chorus be nominated for another Olivier Award only
three years after winning their last one with the Orchestra. It is
extremely important to me that we continue to nurture the talents we
have: our Mackerras Fellow Valentina Peleggi will be conducting her
first full run with Carmen this season as well as performances
of Orpheus in the Underworld
alongside my predecessor Sian Edwards. Our brilliant Harewood Artists
will sing in no fewer than 23 roles this season, and I am delighted
that Nardus Williams and Idunnu M¸nch will join the programme, singing
Orpheus in the Underworld, Carmen and Rusalka.
I myself will be doing something both familiar, revisiting my friend
The Mask of Orpheus
, which is one of ENO’s great gifts to the world, and stretching my
legs a bit with a Puccini. As ever, the company remains extraordinarily
diverse in what it can offer.”
Chief Executive Stuart Murphy said: “
Hopefully people can see that ENO has its mojo back, once again
curating seasons that are as eclectic as they are risk taking, against
a backdrop of financial stability and behind-the-scenes focus. This
forthcoming season feels just what ENO should be doing, so huge thanks
to Daniel, Martyn and their artistic and musical teams for all their
hard work and flair in putting it together.
Embracing new audiences is key to our future, so we are delighted that
our initial short-run experiment to give free tickets to Under 18’s in
the balcony on Saturdays was met with such enthusiasm, allowing us to
give away over 1000 tickets to young people. In 19/20 we will make this
initiative a permanent fixture throughout the Coliseum part of our ENO
season, and will dramatically increase access by extending Free Tickets
for Under 18’s to the balcony for every Friday performance and every
Opening Night. We will also reduce our lowest price ticket to ten
pounds, with lots of “Tickets for a Tenner” available for every
performance, and have kept our top price ticket frozen at £125 where it
has stayed for the past four years.
We will be offering more choice at ENO, so will have one “Surtitle
Free” night per opera, as well as an “Early Night” performance per
opera that will never finish later than 10pm. This is in addition to
our first ever “Relaxed Performance”, so that people with learning
disabilities and physical impairments can come and see a production, as
well as more signed performances than last season.
My first year at ENO has been busy but extremely rewarding. It’s a
hugely inspiring place to work, and I want to thank everyone in the
organisation for pulling together behind our singular vision to change
lives through opera”
New productions at the London Coliseum
Orpheus and Eurydice
The Orpheus series and the 2019/20 Season begins with Wayne McGregor’s
dance-infused account of Gluck’s great 18th– century
masterpiece, in Hector Berlioz’s version. The bridging point between the
baroque and the new vivid dramatic works of the classical period, Gluck’s
extraordinary melodies helped secure the Orpheus myth as one of the
cornerstones of opera for centuries to come.
Double Olivier Award-winner Wayne McGregor CBE makes his ENO directorial
debut following one of the most outstanding careers in contemporary
international dance, working with collaborators from The White Stripes to
The Royal Ballet, where he is Resident Choreographer. His previous work
includes choreographing Salome for ENO in 2005. His cutting-edge
multi-disciplinary work has stood testament to his ceaseless curiosity and
innovation, with this production an exploration of grief and loss in the
human body. 16 dancers from Company Wayne McGregor join the three singers.
Legend of British opera Dame Sarah Connolly returns to ENO for the first
time since 2016’s Lulu to sing her first Orpheus in London, while
ENO favourite Sarah Tynan sings Eurydice. ENO Harewood Artist Soraya Mafi
sings Love, continuing her career as one of Britain’s most exciting young
sopranos. Harry Bicket, Artistic Director of the English Concert and Music
Director of Santa Fe Opera, conducts, returning to where he began his
career on the ENO music staff. Noted for his classical and baroque work, he
brings a fine period sensibility to this piece. Lizzie Clachan, one of UK
theatre’s most acclaimed designers, provides the transformative setsfor all
four Orpheus productions. Costume design is by fashion designer Louise
Gray, and lighting design is by Jon Clark.
Orpheus in the Underworld
Former Globe Theatre Artistic Director Emma Rice makes her ENO directorial
debut with a raucous, joyful production of Offenbach’s great operetta,
often considered the first of its kind. Known for her wildly popular
direction of Kneehigh Theatre, Rice is one of the most distinctive
theatrical practitioners at work today, combining wit, humanity and romance
with a childlike wonder. She is the Artistic Director of the new company
A multi-talented ensemble cast portray the figures of Greek mythology as
they are mercilessly satirised in this comic take on the tragic myth. Ed
Lyon and Claudia Boyle sing Orpheus and Eurydice, joined by one of the UK’s
most distinguished baritones Sir Willard White as Jupiter. Established ENO
stars Alan Oke and Mary Bevan sing John Styx and Diana, while one of the
first openly transgender opera singers, female baritone Lucia Lucas, sings
Public Opinion. Harewood Artists Idunnu M¸nch and Alex Otterburn sing Pluto
and Venus. Sian Edwards, former ENO Music Director, returns to conduct,
while Mackerras Fellow Valentina Peleggi conducts three performances.
Multi-award winning designer Lez Brotherston, famed for his work on Matthew
Bourne’s Swan Lake, provides the costumes. The new English
adaptation of the French original text is by Rice and Tom Morris, who
collaborated to adapt Kneehigh hits like Nights at the Circus and A Matter of Life and Death.
The Mask of Orpheus
‘The finest British opera of the last half-century’ (The Guardian)
receives only its second major staging, having premiered at ENO in 1986.
Harrison Birtwistle’s masterpiece is performed to mark his 85th
birthday, with its unique orchestra led by ENO Music Director Martyn
Brabbins. Noted for his definitive recording of the piece with the BBC
Symphony Orchestra, this forms something of a signature piece for this
contemporary music specialist.
Joining him in their third collaboration after War Requiem and Jack the Ripper: The Women of Whitechapel is ENO Artistic Director
Daniel Kramer. Kramer returns to the composer who launched his career with
ENO a decade ago: his Punch and Judy in 2008 won the South Bank
Show Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera, and this production
promises to continue that ‘total theatre’ approach to Birtwistle’s work.
The rich, complex structure and enormously varied music of joy and grief
will be accompanied by the costume designs of ‘England’s most eccentric
dresser’ (Vogue) Daniel Lismore. After many exhibitions
internationally of his work, this is his first opera.
Peter Hoare sings Orpheus the Man while Daniel Norman sings Orpheus the
Myth; Marta Fontanals-Simmons makes her ENO debut as Eurydice the Woman
while ENO audience favourite Susan Bickley sings Eurydice the Myth. The
cast of contemporary music specialists also includes James Cleverton and
ENO’s record as the ‘House of Glass’ receives a new addition with its first
performance of Philip Glass’s OrphÈe. Based on Jean Cocteau’s
cinematic retelling of the Orpheus myth, Netia Jones, ‘the most imaginative
director of opera working in Britain today’ (The Observer) will
provide one of the most extraordinary multi-media experiences available on
the opera stage. Some of Glass’s most melodic music helps tell this
timeless setting of the Orpheus myth as a dreamlike meditation on art and
the artist. A show that fuses cinema and opera, projected extracts of
Cocteau’s film and a set in constant motion will accompany the live action.
This is in the ENO tradition of staging Glass’s operas as all-encompassing
theatrical extravaganzas in the vein of Akhnaten and Satyagraha.
Sarah Tynan sings Eurydice in her second take on the role in the season.
Jennifer France, ‘living jewel in opera’s crown’ (WhatsOnStage)
and winner of the 2018 Emerging Talent Award from the Critics Circle, makes
her ENO debut as the Princess. Nicholas Lester sings his first leading role
with the company as OrphÈe, while former ENO Harewood Artists Nicky Spence
and Anthony Gregory sing Heurtebise and CÈgeste. Contemporary specialist
Geoffrey Paterson conducts in his ENO debut.
Czech director Barbora Hor·kov· Joly makes her UK directorial debut with a
new production of Verdi’s great familial tragedy. Winner of the 2018
International Opera Award for Best Newcomer, her contemporary staging will
focus on the psychological aspects of the piece, with an examination of how
parental expectations can pass on pain across generations. This marks the
first time the company has staged this central work of Verdi’s middle
In the title role former ENO Harewood Artist Elizabeth Llewellyn returns to
the London Coliseum stage, where she debuted as Mimi in La bohËme
in 2010. She has since sung leading roles across Europe. Leading
mezzo-soprano Christine Rice sings Federica in her first role with ENO
since 2016’s Elvira in Don Giovanni. Olafur Sigurdarson makes his
ENO debut as Miller while James Creswell sings Count Walter. Harewood
Artist Nadine Benjamin, acclaimed for her roles in the previous season’s Porgy and Bess and La bohËme, sings Laura. Alexander Joel
also returns from a successful run of La bohËme in the 2018/19
season to conduct.
The Marriage of Figaro
One of London’s most daring directors, Joe Hill-Gibbins makes his ENO main
stage debut with an electrically charged new production of Mozart’s great
comedy. Acclaimed for his uncompromising and surprising takes on classics
like Richard II at the Almeida Theatre, he returns to opera after
a much-praised 2017 production of Turnage’s Greek at the Edinburgh
Festival. Previously for ENO he directed Powder Her Face in 2014.
Multi-award winning former Harewood Artist Sophie Bevan sings her first
Countess in an anticipated role debut, while winner of the 2017 Young
Singer International Opera Award Louise Alder sings Susanna in her ENO
debut. Johnathan McCullough sings the Count and Harewood Artist Boûidar
Smiljani? marks his third role with the company as Figaro. Hanna Hipp sings
Cherubino and Susan Bickley sings Marcellina, while ENO legend Andrew Shore
brings his finest buffo to sing Bartolo. Chief Conductor of the Munich
Symphony Orchestra Kevin John Edusei makes his ENO debut in the pit. After
successful Mozartian conducting at the Komische Oper Berlin, this marks his
UK operatic debut. He has previosuly performed at the Proms conducting the
all-BAME Chineke! Orchestra.
Dvo?·k’s greatest opera receives its first new ENO staging in 20 years in
German director Tatjana G¸rbaca’s company debut. Touching on themes of
alienation and the separation between worlds, this profoundly humanistic
fairy tale gives us a water nymph in many ways more human than the people
she aspires to be among.
Corinne Winters makes her role debut as Rusalka. Having shot to fame with
her ‘tour de force’ (Bachtrack) Violetta in ENO’s La traviata in 2013, she has since garnered an impressive
international following. She is joined by David Butt Philip as the Prince.
Jointly nominated for an Olivier Award for his performance in 2018’s War Requiem, his is one of the fastest-rising careers of any tenor
in the UK. Endlessly versatile mezzo-soprano Patricia Bardon sings
Jeûibaba. Noted for her performances in Partenope and The Gospel According to the Other Mary for ENO, she will also sing
the role at Glyndebourne in summer 2019. Claire Rutter sings the Foreign
Princess and David Soar sings the Water Spirit. Dutch conductor Antony
Hermus, Principal Guest Conductor of the North Netherlands Orchestra, makes
his ENO debut.
Three much-loved productions return for revivals in the 2019/20 season.
in Jonathan Miller’s classic seaside town farce, returns having run for
more than thirty years at the London Coliseum. The Marx Brothers-inspired
Gilbert and Sullivan tomfoolery continues to delight audiences young and
old. Harewood Artist Elgan Ll?r Thomas, ‘the latest discovery in a golden
age of British tenors’ (Bachtrack) sings Nanki-Poo in his first
main stage lead role for the company after twice singing Johnny Inkslinger
in Paul Bunyan. Fellow Harewood Artist Soraya Mafi sings Yum-Yum,
following her 2017 Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance. Richard Suart
once again sings Ko-Ko and Andrew Shore sings Pooh-Bah, with Sir John
Tomlinson appearing as the Mikado in his fiftieth production with the
company. Ben McAteer and Yvonne Howard, beloved in 2018’s Iolanthe
, also star. The opening night will be a Gala performance in aid of the new
Sir John Tomlinson Fellowship.
Calixto Bieito’s sensual production of Carmen set
in the dying days of Franco’s Spain has been admired across Europe and now
returns to ENO, with Justina Gringyt? reprising her title role from 2015:
(‘superb’ – The Guardian). Sean Panikkar makes his ENO debut as
Don Jose, as does new Harewood Artist Nardus Williams as MicaÎla, while in
the supporting cast are many ENO returning faces including Ashley Riches,
Samantha Price, Matthew Durkan, Keel Watson, Elgan L?r Thomas and Alex
Otterburn. Mackerras Fellow Valentina Peleggi conducts her first full set
of Coliseum performances.
sees the return of Anthony Minghella’s ‘breathtakingly beautiful’ ( WhatsOnStage) 2006 staging, winner of that year’s Olivier Award
for Best New Opera Production. Now in its seventh revival, the
extraordinary puppetry of Blind Summit and the sumptuous visuals promise
once again to entrance audiences along with Puccini’s heartbreaking score.
Natalya Romaniw sings the lead role after ‘touching the heights’ ( The Guardian) with her MimÏ in La bohËme in 2018. Dimitri
Pittas sings Pinkerton and Roderick Williams sings Sharpless following his
Olivier nomination for War Requiem with ENO. Music Director Martyn