wed 01/02/2023

ENO

An open letter from Dame Sarah Connolly and colleagues to Arts Council England

The decision of Arts Council England to withdraw funding from the English National Opera and force it to move out of London is not only another hammer blow to the opera industry but it has huge ramifications for the extensive number of British...

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It’s a Wonderful Life, English National Opera review - Capra’s sharp-edged sentiment smothered in endless schmaltz

Looking for a sparkly operatic musical, well sung and played, slick and saturated in a range of mainstream styles that stop short in the year the movie masterpiece It’s a Wonderful Life was released, 1946? Then Jake Heggie’s 2016 confection may be...

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First Person: conductor Leo Hussain on why we still need English National Opera in London

I still remember vividly my first encounter with ENO. I was taken, as a nine-year-old boy, on a school trip to see a performance of Peter Grimes. And I was hooked. I pestered my parents to take me back several times to that same production. I can...

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The Yeomen of the Guard, English National Opera review - half-good shot at an unusual G&S misalliance

Sullivan’s Overture to The Yeomen of the Guard isn’t quite the equal of Wagner’s Prelude to Die Meistersinger – what is? – but its brass-rich brilliance and wholesome ceremonials wouldn’t have been possible without that great example. Cue...

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Tosca, English National Opera review - a tale of two eras

Rome, 14/15 June 1800: the specifics of the original Sardou melodrama are preserved in Puccini’s thriller mixing love, lust, religion and tyranny. Many productions move forward in time, and sometimes change the place, with ease: after all, feudalist...

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The Handmaid's Tale, English National Opera review - a red-hot classic for our times

However familiar you are with The Handmaid’s Tale in Margaret Atwood’s novel or its TV adaptation, you might still be knocked sideways by the impact it makes as an opera. Poul Ruders’s music plunges us viscerally into its emotional world,...

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The Cunning Little Vixen, English National Opera review - half-realised men and beasts

Nature in the form of Storm Eunice stopped this Cunning Little Vixen in her tracks on Friday evening. ENO shrugged off the cancellation and rescheduled for Sunday afternoon. And here we were, getting the essential message that humans must reach an...

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The Valkyrie, English National Opera review - fitfully flickering flames

That the ever-decreasing circles of Richard Jones’s first Wagner Ring instalment for English National Opera ended in a no-show for the fire that should have made former Valkyrie supreme Brünnhilde proof against all but a fearless hero – Westminster...

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HMS Pinafore, English National Opera review - shipshape classic comedy craft

Yes, it was bound to be HMS Laugh-a-minute, given Cal “One Man, Two Guvnors” McCrystal’s ENO comedy riffs on an already funny early G&S classic, but what does this tight little craft have to say to Little England today?That a British sailor’s “...

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'Rest now, you God': remembering bass-baritone Norman Bailey (1933-2021)

Few singers really change your life. Norman Bailey did that for me [writes David Nice of theartsdesk]. The occasion wasn't my first experience of a Wagner opera, but it was the first time I'd been to a performance of his great human comedy Die...

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Messiah highlights, English National Opera, BBC Two review – short-cut sorrow and redemption

Well, it wasn’t quite Messiah, but it was a source of joy. In ENO’s end-of-lockdown staging, BBC Two’s transmission of Handel’s resurrection song delivered a scant 54 minutes of music from the Coliseum on Easter Saturday. In contrast, two ancient...

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Mozart's Requiem, English National Opera, BBC Two review - strong and direct act of remembrance

It must have felt very strange to Mark Wigglesworth that he returned to the London Coliseum under such unanticipated circumstances. ENO’s shortest-lived but also (many of us think) best Music Director campaigned from the start for direct...

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