English National Opera announces the 2009-10 Season

Opera news

2 April 2009

Edward GardnerNew productions of Turandot, Tosca, The Elixir of Love, Handel's Messiah, Katya Kabanova, Duke Bluebeard's Castle, The Pearl Fishers, Idomeneo and Le Grand Macabre form the backbone of a fresh 09-10 season for ENO, announced at a press conference this morning.

Revivals of Rigoletto, The Turn of the Screw and Lucia di Lammermoor, plus a collaboration with Fiona Shaw and the Young Vic for Hans Werner Henze's Elegy for Young Lovers, complete the line-up.

The season opens on 17 September with Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre in a production by Catalan 'total theatre' company, La Fura dels Baus, recently seen in Brussels. ENO Music Director Edward Gardner conducts a cast that includes Susanna Andersson and Susan Bickley. This is followed on 21 September with a revival of Jonathan Miller's classic production of Verdi's Rigoletto, starring the great British baritone Anthony Michaels-Moore in the title role.

Puccini's Turandot returns to the Coliseum in a new production by Rupert Goold on 8 October. Kirsten Blanck and Amanda Echalaz make their ENO debuts as Turandot and Liù while Gwyn Hughes Jones sings Calaf. Two weeks later, on 22 October, David McVicar's phenomenally successful staging of Britten's The Turn of the Screw returns to ENO and reunites the stars of the original staging, Rebecca Evans and Ann Murray, with the legendary conductor Sir Charles Mackerras.

A combination of opera and dance on 6 November brings together Bartok's Duke Bluebeard's Castle and Stravinsky's Rite of Spring in a new double bill. Bartok's brooding one-acter is directed by Daniel Kramer and stars Clive Bayley as Bluebeard while Michael Keegan-Doolan directs his own Olivier Award-nominated company, Fabulous Beast, in Stravinsky's revolutionary ballet. Later that month, Deborah Warner once more takes a famous oratorio, this time Handel's Messiah, and stages it in the style of an opera. Lawrence Cummings conducts, with John Mark Ainsley in the cast.

Following the break for Christmas, David Alden's staging of Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor comes back on 4 February, again with Anna Christy and Barry Banks in the leads, while more bel canto arrives on 12 February with the first ENO presentation of Jonathan Miller's NYCO production of The Elixir of Love. Sarah Tynan and John Tessier lead the cast as Adina and Nemorino while Andrew Shore takes on the role of Dulcamara.

15 March brings a new staging of Janacek's Katya Kabanova, with Patricia Racette in the title role and Susan Bickley as Kabanicha, followed on 24 April by the latest ENO-Young Vic collaboration, Henze's Elegy for Young Lovers, directed by Fiona Shaw.

On 18 May, ENO brings the long-awaited new production of Tosca by legendary soprano Catherine Malfitano. Amanda Echalaz, Julian Gavin and Anthony Michaels-Moore will star, with Gardner once again in the pit.

A novelty on 1 June brings us a rare staging of Bizet's The Pearl Fishers. Penny Woolcock directs and Rory Macdonald conducts. Then on 18 June, what looks like the highlight of the year comes in a new production of Mozart's Idomeneo. Katie Mitchell directs a cast including Paul Nilon, Emma Bell and Sarah Tynan, with Edward Gardner conducting. The last production of the season reflects further the innovative side of ENO's work, a co-production with Punchdrunk of a newly commissioned world premiere directed by Felix Barrett. Few details have been released about the production which will take place away from the Coliseum in a 'found space' which ENO Artistic Director John Barry explained was yet to be found.

In all, then, an impressive number of new productions for ENO, mixing favourites of the Italian and English repertoires with classics of the twentieth century. What makes the season stand out, however, is the introduction of innovative theatrical strategies of juxtaposing opera and ballet, harnassing the 'total theatre' of La Fura dels Baus, staging Handel's ever-popular Messiah, not to mention the intriguing prospect of collaboration with Punchdrunk.

by Dominic McHugh and Hugo Shirley

Photo: Music Director Edward Gardner

For booking and further information, visit www.eno.org.

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