Rhinegold Photo credit: Donald Cooper

Katy Wright

Deputy Editor, Classical Music

English National Opera announces 2017/18 season

10:00, 27th April 2017

English National Opera’s (ENO) 2017/18 season comprises four new productions and five revivals at the London Coliseum, and a number of projects in other venues.

Daniel Kramer will direct his first opera as ENO artistic director – a ‘sweepingly romantic’ new production of La traviata – and Martyn Brabbins will begin his first full season as ENO music director, conducting the world premiere of Nico Muhly’s latest opera, Marnie, and The Marriage of Figaro.

A new production of Verdi’s Aida will open the season, conducted by Keri-Lynn Wilson and directed by Phelim McDermott. Latonia Moore and Morenike Fadayomi will share the title role, Gwyn Hughes Jones will sing Radamès, and Michelle DeYoung and Dana Beth Miller will share the role of Amneris. ENO will give a free public performance at the V&A drawing on the themes and issues of the production as part of the Opera: Passion, Power and Politics exhibition.

Marnie is Nico Muhly’s second world premiere for ENO, following 2011’s Two Boys. Based on Winston Graham’s psychological thriller of the same name, the production will be directed by Michael Mayer, and will feature Sasha Cooke, Daniel Okulitch and Lesley Garrett.

According to Muhly, the opera ‘follows one woman on a journey from constant deceit into emotional honesty.  She is plagued by two men in very different ways, and the Chorus plays a major role in creating an unsettling atmosphere of gossip, innuendo and pressure.’

Cal McCrystal will direct a new production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe, starring ENO Harewood artist Samantha Price in the title role alongside Andrew Shore and Yvonne Howard, and Kramer’s production of La traviata, which will be conducted by Leo McFall, will feature Claudia Boyle as Violetta, Lukhanyo Moyake as Alfredo and Alan Opie as Germont.

The season will feature five revivals. Jonathan Miller’s The Barber of Seville will feature Morgan Pearse as Figaro, Eleazar Rodriguez as the Count, Sarah Tynan as Rosina and Alan Opie as Dr Bartolo; Rebecca Evans will sing the title role in Richard Jones’s Rodelinda, which will feature Tim Mead as Bertarido and will be conducted by Christian Curnyn; Karen Kamensek will conduct Phelim McDermott’s Satyagraha, with Toby Spence singing the role of M.K. Gandhi; Robert Carsen’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream will feature Soraya Mafi, David Webb, Clare Presland and Christopher Ainslie; and Fiona Shaw’s The Marriage of Figaro will see Rhian Lois take the role of Susanna, with Thomas Oliemans as Figaro, Ashley Riches as the Count, Lucy Crowe as the Countess and Katie Coventry as Cherubino.

During the summer months, ENO will stage productions at other venues around London. In June 2018, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and ENO will present a new production of The Turn of the Screw, directed by Timothy Sheader and conducted by ENO Mackerras fellow Toby Purser. Following its launch in summer 2017, ENO Studio Live will return, and the company’s orchestra will play for a number of productions presented by Grange Park Opera at West Horsley Place.

Over 93% of cast and conductors in the 2017/18 season are British born, trained or resident, and more than 15 principal roles across the 17/18 season will be taken by current or former ENO Harewood Artists. The 2017/18 cohort of Harewood artists comprises Katie Coventry, Eleanor Dennis, Matthew Durkan, Rhian Lois, Soraya Mafi, Samantha Price, Andri Björn Róbertsson, Božidar Smiljanic and David Webb.

In announcing the new season, ENO also revealed some of its plans for beyond 2017/18. It will increase the number of fully-staged productions at the London Coliseum from nine in 2017/18 to ten by 2019/20, and is currently conducting a full review of its talent development programmes.

In November and December 2018, ENO will mark the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI with a performance of Britten’s War Requiem. Directed by Daniel Kramer and conducted by Martyn Brabbins, the performance will feature soprano Emma Bell, tenor David Butt Philip and baritone Roderick Williams.

The company is also developing a collaboration with the Gate Theatre, Notting Hill to be staged there in 2018, and has formed a new partnership with the Unicorn Theatre to create work aimed at teenage audiences, with the first production scheduled for 2019.

The final production of the 2018/19 season will see Daniel Kramer and Martyn Brabbins work together on the world premiere of Iain Bell’s fourth opera, Jack the Ripper. Billed as a ‘sympathetic exploration of womanhood in London’s East End’, the cast will include Rupert Charlesworth, Josephine Barstow, Lesley Garrett, Susan Bullock, Janis Kelly and Marie McLaughlin.

‘One of the things I’m very pleased about this coming season is that we are bringing in some new, younger-generation British conductors to ENO,’ said music director Martyn Brabbins. ‘I had a wonderful conducting teacher myself, and I am passionate about developing and giving opportunities to the next generation of brilliant young conductors.’

‘With Daniel and Martyn leading the way artistically, we are able to plan further ahead than we have before and to increase the quantity of wonderful opera that we share with our audiences,’ said Cressida Pollock, CEO of ENO. ‘The 17/18 season will highlight the work of our incredible Chorus, Orchestra, creative and technical teams, celebrating the high standard of artistry and music-making that audiences have come to expect from ENO.’


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