English National Opera, based at the London Coliseum, has announced its 2022/2023 season in London.
Nine productions will be performed during the season including seven new productions and two revivals of past work.
Prior to the new season, the London Coliseum hosts the Broadway production of My Fair Lady from 7 May to 27 August 2022, directed by Bartlett Sher and starring Amara Okereke as Eliza Doolittle, Harry Haddon-Paton, Dame Vanessa Redgrave, Maureen Beattie and Sharif Afifi.
Tosca directed by Christof Loy
Highlights include the first production of the season, Christof Loy’s production of Puccini’s Tosca (30 September – 4 November 2022), which will have its UK premiere at the ENO, starring Sinéad Campbell-Wallace (La Boheme) as Tosca, and conducted by Leo Hussain.
Other cast include Italianate tenor Adam Smith as Cavaradossi; rising star Noel Bouley as Scarpia; Lucia Lucas as Sacristan; current Lindemann Young Artist at The Metropolitan Opera, Msimelelo Mbali as Cesare Angelotti; new ENO Harewood Artist Ossian Huskinson as Sciarrone; and current ENO Harewood Artist John Findon as Spoletta.
Sets and costumes are by Christian Schmidt, which will move the opera from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries. Lighting is by Olaf Winter.
Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Yeomen of the Guard
ENO will also stage a brand new production of Gilbert & Sullivan’sThe Yeomen of the Guard (3 November – 2 December 2022) – the first they have ever staged, directed by Jo Davies (Opera North’s Kiss Me Kate).
Conducting is Chris Hopkins, Principal Conductor of English Sinfonia and Musical Director of Orchestra of the City.
In terms of cast, Anthony Gregory sings Colonel Fairfax, bass-baritone Neal Davies is Sergeant Meryll of the Yeomen, ENO Harewood Artist Alexandra Oomens is Elsie Maynard, Heather Lowe sings Phoebe Meryll, Baritone Steven Page is Sir Richard Cholmondeley, and Susan Bickley is Dame Carruthers. New ENO Harewood Artist Innocent Masuku is Leonard Meryll, and former ENO Chorus Fellow Isabelle Peters is Kate.
Sets and costumes are by Olivier Award-winning designer Anthony Ward, with lighting is by Oliver Fenwick and video design is by Andrezj Goulding. Choreography is by Kay Shepherd.
It’s a Wonderful Life – the Opera
Other UK premieres include a Christmas treat in Jake Heggie’s opera It’s a Wonderful Life (25 November – 10 December 2022), based on the much-loved 1946 film.
The family friendly opera is conducted by Nicole Paiement, and directed and choreographed by Aletta Collins, who makes her ENO directorial debut.
The cast includes ‘Opera’s coolest soprano’ (The New York Times) Danielle de Niese, making her ENO operatic debut as George Bailey’s guardian angel Clara. Frederick Ballentine sings George, Michael Mayes is Henry F Potter, Jennifer France sings Mary Hatch Bailey, Ronald Samm sings Uncle Billy, Gweneth Ann Rand sings Mother Bailey and Helen Bailey is sung by soprano Segomotso Shupinyaneng. Keri Fuge is joined by current ENO Harewood Artists Idunnu Münch, Zwakele Tshabalala, and Ossian Huskinson to make up the quartet of angels.
A blended tale of fantasy and drama loosely based on Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, It’s a Wonderful Life tells the story of George Bailey, a humble man of humble origins in a humble small town. Having sacrificed many of his own dreams to help others around him, George is driven to breakdown, only to be shown by his guardian angels how his life enriches his community in ways he could never imagine.
Jeanine Tesori’s Blue
Jeanine Tesori’s contemporary opera about police violence against African American communities also gets its UK premiere at the Coliseum this season. Blue (20 April – 4 May 2023) is conducted by former ENO Mackerras Fellow Mathew Kofi Waldren, and Tinuke Craig (The Colour Purple) will make her operatic directorial debut directing Blue. The conductor is Matthew Kofi Waldren, and set and costumes are by Alex Lowde.
Tesori is a multi-Tony Award-nominee and Pulitzer Prize finalist, working across Broadway, cinema and opera. The libretto is by Tazewell Thompson, a noted theatre and opera director, librettist and Director of Opera Studies at Manhattan School of Music. Blue won the Music Critics Association of North America Award in 2020 for Best New Opera.
Exploring the effects of police violence on African American families and communities, Blue is a complex story with deep resonance. An activist son clashes with his police officer father in this gripping and tragic story, which places the repercussions of police brutality against unarmed black men at the centre of its narrative.
Former ENO Harewood Artist Nadine Benjamin sings the Mother, with bass-baritone Michael Sumuel as the Father, new ENO Harewood Artist Zwakele Tshabalala is the Son, Ronald Samm is the Reverend, and the cast is completed by Chanae Curtis, April Koyejo-Audiger and Idunnu Münch as the Girlfriends, and Joshua Conyers, Rheinaldt Tshepo Moagi, and John-Colyn Gyeantey as the Policemen.
More new productions
Other new productions in the 2022 / 2023 season include the continuation of Richard Jones’s Ring Cycle, with the first in Wagner’s epic saga, The Rhinegold (18 February – 10 March 2023), conducted by the ENO Music Director Martyn Brabbins.
The cast includes John Relyea (Wotan), Leigh Melrose (Alberich), Frederick Ballentine (Loge), Madeleine Shaw (Fricka), Jennifer Davis (Freia), Christine Rice (Erda), John Findon (Mmime), James Creswell (Fafner), Simon Bailey (Fasolt), Blake Denson (Donner), Julian Hubbard (Froh), Eleanor Dennis, Idunnu Münch and Katie Stevenson (Rheinmaidens).
Costume and Set Designer is Stewart Laing, Movement Director is Sarah Fahie, Video Designer is Akhila Krishnan, Lighting Designer is Adam Silverman, and Translator is John Deathridge.
Korngold’s The Dead City (Die tote Stadt) (25 March – 8 April 2023) is staged by the ENO in the season, directed by the ENO’s Artistic Director Annilese Miskimmon, her second project for the company. The opera will star Allison Oakes and Rolf Romei in their ENO debuts.
Also, a new production of Gorecki’s Symphony of Sorrowful Songs (27 April – 6 May 2023) is staged, directed and designed by Isabella Bywater and conducted by Lidiya Yankovskaya. The opera stars Nicole Chevalier (soprano).
Revivals: Carmen and Akhnaten
Revivals include Calixto Bieito’s Carmen (1 February – 24 February 2023), conducted by Kerem Hasan. Ginger Costa-Jackson makes her ENO debut as Carmen, with Sean Panikkar reprising the role of Don Jose. Bullfighter Escamillo is Nmon Ford, Sophie Bevan MBE sings Micaëla, Keel Watson reprises his role as Zuniga, Benson Wilson is Morales. Other cast include Alexandra Oomens as Frasquita, Niamh O’Sullivan as Mercedes, Seán Boylan as Dancairo, and Innocent Masuku as Remendado.
The original director is Calixto Bieito, with sets by Alfons Flores, costumes by Merce Paloma and lighting by Bruno Poet. The revival director is Jamie Manton.
Also, Phelim McDermott’s acclaimed production of Akhnaten by Philip Glass (11 March – 5 April 2023) returns to ENO, conducted by Karen Kemensek and with Anthony Roth Costanzo returning to the eponymous role. Joining him is Chrystal E. Williams (Nefertiti), Haegee Lee (Queen Tye), BensonWilson (Horemhab), Keel Watson (Aye), Zachary James (Scribe), Paul Curievici (High Priest of Amon), Ella Taylor, Felicity Buckalnd, Sinéad O’Kelly and Lauren Young (Akhnaten & Nefertiti’s daughters).
Other new initiatives by ENO this season include working with disability-led charity Attitude Is Everything on a range of initiatives including disability equality training and work placements to support aspiring professionals who are Deaf, disabled or neurodivergent and/or have a physical or mental health condition; starting in August ENO Engage, their learning and participation department, will launch a new Creative Residency programme, inviting artists from disciplines outside opera to bring diverse perspectives to the artform; also ENO plans to rollout nationally their ‘Finish This…’creative music making programme for primary, secondary, and SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) school learners moves from 14 pilot schools to becoming available to schools across the country; ENO will also release a one-off 45 minute family comedy-musical-drama ‘Abracadopera’, designed to introduce young viewers to opera. It will be available to watch on Sky Kids, Sky Arts and streaming service NOW in June 2022; this summer, ENO Engage will partner with Sky Arts on their Access All Arts Programme, a nationwide arts week for primary schools from 6-10 June; and finally, ENO Engage will be launching a new membership scheme for secondary schools across the country, including access to free and discounted tickets, events, teacher training online and in-school workshops.
CEO of the ENO, Stuart Murphy told the press that: “The value of the ENO goes way beyond our pioneering artistic work. The ENO’s transformation in the past few years means that now over 50% of all ENO attendees are first time bookers. Our radical access schemes, proactive diversity recruitment, industry training and award-winning national engagement work – such as ENO Breathe – means the ENO is now truly the gateway opera company for the country, and therefore a fundamental part of the national arts ecology.”
Artistic Director of the ENO, Annilese Miskimmon said: “We are so pleased to present this unique and bold season of artistic plans and announcements, stretching from our home at the London Coliseum and across the country via our new engagement projects with national reach. As a truly 21st century opera company, it’s our mission to offer a combination of both beautiful escapism, and forward-thinking, ambitious work. We have designed this season to deliver just that – fresh, relevant stories which entertain, astound, and make you think.”
Public booking opens 24 May 2022.
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