wed 18/10/2017

ENO's Marvellous Miller in pictures | reviews, news & interviews

ENO's Marvellous Miller in pictures

ENO's Marvellous Miller in pictures

Celebration of Sir Jonathan's award-winning productions with familiar stars

Jonathan Miller with his most iconic creation, The Mikado, as played by Mark RichardsonAll images by Tristram Kenton

It should have been unmodified rapture: a gathering of English National Opera team members old and new celebrating the doyen of the company's best-selling productions. And, as has always happened with the artistic side of the company, this loving homage to Sir Jonathan Miller sounds like a triumph. Critics weren't invited to the gala - statement, not sour grapes; this was a charity event, after all - and the final rehearsal was closed, though not apparently at the wish of anyone performing. The circumstances, though, tell us a lot about a company divided.

Now, perhaps, is not the time for well-founded griping. One major blip does need to go on record, as it already has elsewhere: there's just been the flummoxing statement that admin hadn't signed a venue contract for ENO's Blackpool performances, scheduled for next year, of one of Miller's two keynote successes, The Mikado (the other, of course, is the "mafia" Rigoletto, represented at the gala by former jester Alan Opie). That leaves the long-suffering chorus, already reduced to a nine-month contract, with even less to do this season. Despite attempts to stoke team spirit by the new Artistic Director Daniel Kramer, there seems no end in sight to the ongoing unhappinesses at the Coliseum - its logo now much larger than ENO's on the humiliating Burger-King-style uniforms for front of house staff and the advertising outside the Coli.

Andrew Shore as Dr Bartolo in Marvellous Miller

Yet, to paraphrase an insider's observation, some members of the current mixed management may have thought it was a bunch of old codgers doing their thing, whereas it turned out to be the perfect snapshot of the true company spirit currently under threat. You can see that in every image. Excerpts from the indestructible Miller Barber of Seville featured its lynchpin Dr Bartolo, Andrew Shore (pictured above), who still has them rolling in the aisles every time.

Scene from Elixir of Love in Marvellous Miller

His Dr Dulcamara in the 50s-diner Elixir of Love is pictured above on the left with Roland Wood, members of the chorus, and Sarah Tynan's classy Adina.

Three Little Maids in ENO Marvellous Miller evening

Biggest coup, perhaps, was to reunite three little maids of yore for the Mikado sequence - Fiona Canfield, Wagnerian diva Susan Bullock and another adored ENO regular, Jean Rigby.

Jonathan Miller in Mikado sequence

And the equally indomitable Richard Suart was there to wield his little list. There he is pictured above on the right with Miller, also flanked by Mark Richardson and Fiona Canfield.

Curtain call for Miller Mikado

Finally, the threatened cloud has passed away and all ends happily.

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