English National Opera’s recently appointed artistic director Annilese Miskimmon has announced the company’s 2021/22 season which will include four new productions, including her own directorial debut with a new production of Ruders’ The Handmaid’s Tale and comedian Les Dennis performing in HMS Pinafore.
Director Cal McCrystal returns to direct the first production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore in the company’s history; Richard Jones directs Wagner’s The Valkyrie, the first production in a new Ring Cycle to be staged at the London Coliseum across the next five years, co-produced with the Metropolitan Opera and Jamie Manton makes a main stage directorial debut with a new production of Janaček’s The Cunning Little Vixen.
Along with revivals of Phelim McDermott’s Satyagraha, with Sean Panikkar returning to the ENO in the role of Gandhi, conducted by Carolyn Kuan; Jonathan Miller’s La boheme, conducted by Ben Glassberg, and Phelim McDermott’s Cosi fan tutte, conducted by Kerem Hasan in an ENO debut. The Cosi will feature three ENO Harewood Artists in principal roles, ENO will be giving a total of 67 performances.
The Company says that 90 per cent of the cast this season is British, British-based or British-trained, continuing the ENO’s commitment to support and nurture homegrown talent. The ENO continues to develop new talent through the renowned ENO Harewood Artists programme and ENO Mackerras Fellowship.
The Company is to expand its under 18s come free ticket offer to now include under 21s at all performances and at all levels of the house. The ENO will also be extending discounts available to those under 35. Ticket prices for everyone will start at £10. Two more relaxed performances are planned on the main stage for this season.
Other ongoing work will ENO’s s long-COVID project, ENO Breathe, in partnership with Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust, supporting patients managing long-term symptoms of breathlessness and anxiety post-illness.
The Company is also launching Finish This… a new creative music making programme for primary and secondary aged learners. Using specially commissioned operatic works as a starting point, learners will respond to and resolve unfinished music, created with the ENO Chorus and Orchestra.
Annilese Miskimmon said, “To join the ENO at such a turbulent time for the industry has been a privilege as I have been blown away by the energy and commitment of the company and the fabulous freelance talent we work with. We have worked hard in lockdown to continue to bring new artistic work innovative and pioneering ways. The overwhelming determination of all to create ambitious and brilliant opera no matter what the challenges will make this a very special season for the ENO.
“We have painstakingly planned this new season to give audiences a wealth of choice. The ENO’s belief that opera can provide an emotionally invaluable experience in good times and bad is demonstrated by our season which sees a return of old favourites and bold new productions. The season is one in which all can encounter the joy, the drama and the emotion of the most beautiful of art forms.”
ENO Music Director Martyn Brabbins said, “It has been a pleasure to work with Annilese on curating this long-awaited season. Whilst the seats in our home the London Coliseum have remained empty, the innovation shown across the company – from drive-ins to concert work – has enabled us to share our work in new and ambitious ways. It is with this zeal that we return to performing to live audiences. It is a huge privilege to work with such exciting talent to bring our new season of operas to life. This will be a homecoming for the company, and we look forward to welcoming old and new faces alike to our stage, pit and house.”
ENO CEO Stuart Murphy said, “After three years at the company, I continue to be inspired by the relentless innovation at the heart of the ENO. We have kept audiences’ needs front and centre during lockdown, from our social prescribing intervention for long-COVID ENO Breathe, to drive-in La boheme, TV coverage of Mozart’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah to ‘Nessun Dorma’ on Comic Relief, enabling millions to experience the ENO’s work. We were founded to bring world class opera to everyone, and I’m very proud that the ENO reaffirmed its place as the national opera house for everyone.”
ENO performances at the London Coliseum
Philip Glass − Satyagraha
Vocal Text by Constance de Jong (adapted from the ‘Bhagavad Gita’)
Book by Philip Glass and Constance De Jong
14 October − 28 October 2021 Oct 14, 16, 20, 23, 27, 28 at 19.00 Oct 17 at 15.00
Conductor: Carolyn Kuan, Director: Phelim McDermott, Revival Director: Peter Relton, Set Designer/Associate Director: Julian Crouch, Costume Designer: Kevin Pollard, Lighting Designer: Paule Constable, Revival Lighting Designer: Kevin Sleep, Video Designer: Leo Warner and Mark Grimmer, Revival Movement Director and puppetry: Rob Thirtle.
Cast includes: Sean Panikkar (M.K. Gandhi), Musa Ngqungwana (Lord Krishna), William Thomas (Parsi Rustomji), Felicity Buckland (Kasturbai), James Cleverton (Mr Kallenbach), Sarah Pring (Mrs Alexander), Ross Ramgobin (Prince Arjuna), Gabriella Cassidy (Miss Schlesen).
Co-produced with the Metropolitan Opera, New York. In collaboration with Improbable.
Arthur Sullivan – HMS Pinafore
Libretto by W.S. Gilbert
29 October − 11 December 2021 Oct 29 at 19.00 Oct 30, Nov 6, 12, 17, 18, 27, 30 & Dec 3, 6, 9, 11 at 19.30 Oct 30 & Nov 6, 7, 14, 27 at 15.00 Nov 20 at 14.00
Signed performance: Nov 17 at 19.30 Relaxed performance: Dec 3 at 13.30
Conductor: Chris Hopkins, Director: Cal McCrystal, Set Designer/Costume Designer: takis, Lighting Designer: Tim Mitchell, Choreographer: Lizzi Gee.
Cast includes: Les Dennis (Sir Joseph), John Savournin (Captain Corcoran), Elgan Llŷr Thomas (Ralph Rackstraw), Henry Waddington (Dick Deadeye), Marcus Farnsworth (Boatswain), Alexandra Oomens (Josephine), Bethan Langford (Hebe), Hilary Summers (Buttercup).
Richard Wagner −The Valkyrie
Libretto by Richard Wagner
19 November − 10 December 2021 Nov 19, 22, 25 & Dec 1, 7, 10 at 17.00 Nov 28 & Dec 4 at 14.30
Conductor: Martyn Brabbins/Anthony Negus (7 Dec), Director: Richard Jones, Set Designer/Costume Designer: Stewart Laing, Lighting Designer: Adam Silverman, Video Designer: Akhila Krishnan, Movement Director: Sarah Fahie, Translator: John Deathridge.
Cast includes: Matthew Rose (Wotan), Rachel Nicholls (Brünnhilde), Nicky Spence (Siegmund), Emma Bell (Sieglinde), Brindley Sherratt (Hunding), Susan Bickley (Fricka), Claire Barnett-Jones (Rossweisse), Fleur Barron (Schwertleite), Nadine Benjamin (Gerhilde), Jennifer Davis
(Helmwige), Sarah-Jane Lewis (Waltraute), Idunnu Münch (Siegrune), Katie Stevenson (Grimgerde), Mari Wyn Williams (Ortlinde).
Co-produced with the Metropolitan Opera, New York.
Giacomo Puccini − La boheme
Libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa
31 January − 27 February 2022 Jan 31 & Feb 2, 4, 10, 12, 19, 23, 25, 27 at 19.30 Feb 5, 12, 19, 27 at 14.30
Conductor: Ben Glassberg, Director: Jonathan Miller, Revival Director: Crispin Lord, Set and Costume Designer: Isabella Bywater, Lighting Designer: Jean Kalman. Revival Lighting Designer: Kevin Sleep, Translator: Amanda Holden
Cast includes: Sin ad Campell-Wallace/Nadine Benjamin (Matinees 12, 18, 27 Feb) (Mim ), David Junghoon Kim (Rodolfo), Charles Rice (Marcello), Louise Alder (Musetta), William Thomas (Colline), Benson Wilson/Alex Otterburn (Schaunard), Simon Butteriss (Beno t/Alcindoro).
A co-production with Cincinnati Opera.
Leoš Janaček − The Cunning Little Vixen
Libretto by Leoš Janaček
18 February −1 March 2022 Feb 18, 22, 24, 26 & Mar 1 at 19.30 Feb 20 at 15.00 Relaxed performance: Feb 26 at 14.30
Conductor: Martyn Brabbins, Director: Jamie Manton, Set Designer/Costume Designer: Tom Scutt, Lighting Designer: Lucy Carter, Movement Director: Jenny Ogilvie, Translator: Robert T. Jones & Yveta Synek Graff.
Cast includes: Sally Matthews (Vixen), Pumeza Matshikiza (Fox), Madeleine Shaw (Forester’s Wife/Owl), Alan Oke (Schoolmaster/Owl), Lester Lynch (Forester), Claire Barnett-Jones (Dog), Clive Bayley (Priest (Parson)/Badger), John Findon (Innkeeper (P sek)/Cock), Sarah-Jane Lewis (Innkeeper’s Wife/Hen), Alexandra Oomens (Pep k/Woodpecker), Ffion Edwards (Frant k/Jay).
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart − Cosi fan tutte
Libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte
10 − 22 March 2022 Mar 10, 14, 16, 18, 22 at 19.00 Mar 12 at 18.00 Mar 20 at 15.00
Signed performance: Mar 16 at 19.00
Conductor: Kerem Hasan, Director: Phelim McDermott, Set Designer: Tom Pye, Costume Designer: Laura Hopkins, Lighting Designer: Paule Constable, Revival Lighting Designer: Kevin Sleep. Translator: Jeremy Sams.
Cast includes: Nardus Williams (Fiordiligi), Hanna Hipp (Dorabella), Amitai Pati (Ferrando), Benson Wilson (Guglielmo), Soraya Mafi (Despina), Neal Davies (Don Alfonso).
Co-produced with the Metropolitan Opera, New York. In collaboration with Improbable. #ENOCosi
Poul Ruders − The Handmaid’s Tale
Libretto by Paul Bentley (based on the novel by Margaret Atwood) New production
4 − 14 April 2022 Apr 4, 6, 8, 12, 14 at 19.30 Apr 10 at 15.00
Conductor: Joana Carneiro, Director: Annilese Miskimmon, Set Designer/Costume Designer: Annemarie Woods, Lighting Designer: Paule Constable, Video Designer: Akhila Krishnan, Movement Director: Imogen Knight.
Cast includes: Kate Lindsey (Offred), John Findon (Luke), Susan Bickley (Offred’s Mother), Emma Bell (Aunt Lydia), Pumeza Matshikiza (Moira), Rhian Lois (Janine/Offwaren), Raehann Bryce-Davis (Serena Joy), Madeleine Shaw (Rita), Solomon Howard (The Commander), Frederick Ballentine (Nick), Elin Pritchard (Ofglen), Alan Oke (The Doctor).