Sunday 18 April 2010

ENO New Season

So we have details of ENO's new season as well. As usual, the second half of the season is only sketched in, no fine detail provided. John Berry is pursuing his obsession with film directors and both Mike Figgis and Terry Gilliam are making their operatic debut. There is finally a feeling that ENO have got over their obsessive re-making of the core repertoire, this new season seems to include only 1 new production which replaces a viable existing one. In this case Rufus Norris is doing a new Don Giovanni and whilst I found the Calixto Bieto production unsatisfactory in some ways, it had its moments. The new production stars Ian Paterson, with Katherine Broderick, Rebecca Evans and Sarah Tynan as Giovanni's women. Worth a look.

First on my list is the new production of Handel's Radmisto, from Santa Fe. This is a gorgeous looking production, directed by David Alden, which was originally mounted for David Daniels. ENO are using Lawrence Zazzo, which is all to the good. Zazzo is joined by Christine Rice, Sophie Bevan and Ailish Tynan. Conducted by Lawrence Cummings. Running time is listed as 3 hours 10 minutes, so the opera is going to be quite heavily cut I suspect. Also, no word as to which version of the opera they are doing. When the piece was done by Opera North (with a cast including a young Emma Bell), they used a version which mixed things up.

Next on my list is Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia, which will be conducted by Paul Daniel and directed by Mike Figgis. It is good to see Daniel making appearances at his old house and terrific ENO are doing another bel canto piece, FINALLY. Goodness knows that Figgis will make of the opera, it certainly isn't a naturalistic opera. No word as to who will be singing the title role, which will have a very big effect on the desirability of the performance. Lucrezia needs a diva.

A revival next, as Amanda Roocroft is taking the title role in The Makropoulos Case. Christopher Alden's production isn't my favourite, but I love the opera and am a great admirer of Roocroft. Richard Armstrong conducts, hurrah!

Terry Gilliam is directing Berlioz's Damnation of Faust in 2012 conducted by Edward Gardner, with Christine Rice and Christopher Purves. Whatever it looks like, it is good to have Berlioz back on the Coliseum stage with such a strong cast.

In another co-production with the Met in New York, American director Des McAnuff is in charge of a new production of Gounod's Faust with Toby Spence, Melody Moore and Iain Paterson. This goes onto my list mainly because I want to seen Spence in the title role.

Other interesting items:
Christopher Alden's production of Midsummer Night's Dream.
Edward Gardner conducts Simon Boccanegra in a production by Russian enfant terrible Dmitri Tcherniakov.
Parsifal is coming back with Sir John Tomlinson.

But this is a season where the really unusual items are the two new pieces, Alexander Raskatov's A Dog's Heart (directed by Simon McBurney in collaboration with Complicite) and Nico Muhly's new opera (another Met collaboration). Apart from these, there is no really unusual repertoire. Nothing English from the 19th or 20th Centuries, apart from Britten's Midsummer Night's Dream, which was in repertoire relatively recently in Robert Carsen's production. No Strauss. Little in repertoire terms that makes you go wow, instead we have a series of high profile (or high risk) directors taking on main-stream operas. Why not some Tippett. The problem is that directors new to opera are unlikely to be keen on directing pieces of out of the way repertoire. Under John Berry ENO are creating a distinctive personality for themselves, but it is still a long way from what our National opera ought to be doing


  1. Anonymous6:53 pm

    'No Britten'? What about Midsummer Night's Dream?

  2. Oops, not paying attention to myself.


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