Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)
Arrigo Boito after William Shakespeare
Director, David Alden
Conductor, Edward Gardner OBE
Reuniting the team behind Peter Grimes, ENO’s 2014/15 season opens with a new production of Otello
Opening Saturday 13 September 2014, 7.30pm at London Coliseum (10 performances)
ENO celebrates the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth with a new production of Verdi’s Otello, reuniting the team behind five-star smash hit Peter Grimes – director David Alden, conductor and ENO Music Director Edward Gardner and Australian heldentenor Stuart Skelton.
Set on the Cypriot coast, Shakespeare’s tragedy of deceit, love and jealousy, in which Moorish army general Otello and his new wife Desdemona are destroyed by the manipulative Iago, is vividly conveyed through some of Verdi’s most powerful and tender music
Marking his 30th year at ENO and 25 years since the premiere of his last Verdi opera with the company, A Masked Ball in 1989, David Alden’s production combines beautiful Byzantine-influenced imagery with nineteenth-century costumes designed by Jon Morrell (Top Hat, 2013 Olivier Award for Best Costume Design) and outstanding performances by a world-class cast, chorus and orchestra, led by Edward Gardner.
From his first production for ENO of Tchaikovsky’s Mazeppa in 1984, David’s work has consistently won praise from audience and critics alike, winning two Olivier Awards (for Tristan and Isolde and Jenůfa)and nominated for a further three (Ariodante, Peter Grimes and Billy Budd). David will be returning to ENO in June 2015 to direct a new production of The Queen of Spades, also conducted by Edward Gardner.
In his final season with the company as Music Director, Edward Gardner conducts Verdi’s greatest Shakespearean opera. Edward recently conducted Terry Gilliam’s five-star production of Benvenuto Cellini, which the Observer described as ‘steered at high speed and with white-knuckled authority’. Edward has collaborated with David Alden on numerous occasions, including 2013 production of Billy Budd and 2006 production of Jenůfa.
Winner of Male Singer of the Year at 2014 International Opera Awards, Stuart Skelton makes his debut in the title role. Stuart’s recent performance as Peter Grimes at ENO in January 2014 was described as ‘astonishing’ (The Sunday Times), while The Mail on Sunday said, ‘Stuart Skelton has surely never been bettered as the hulking Grimes’. In February 2014, Stuart’s performance of Peter Grimes was broadcast live to over 300 cinemas in UK and Ireland and was seen by over 17,000 people – the largest ever cinema audience for an opera by a British composer. Stuart will appear at the BBC Proms on 18 August in a performance of Rachmaninov’s The Bells, with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Crouch End Festival Chorus conducted by Edward Gardner.
Completing the creative team is Lighting Designer Adam Silverman and Movement Director Maxine Braham who both worked alongside Alden and Gardner on their production of Peter Grimes.
Irish American baritone Brian Mulligan makes his role debut as Iago, while American rising star soprano Leah Crocetto makes her UK operatic debut as Desdemona, Otello’s unjustly accused wife. A former San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow, Leah was a finalist in the 2011 Cardiff Singer of the World competition and has sung the role of Desdemona to great acclaim in Bordeaux, Venice and Frankfurt.
Playing the role of Cassio is British tenor Allan Clayton, who was nominated as a Young Singer of the Year in the inaugural International Opera Awards. ENO Harewood Artist Barnaby Rea plays the role of Lodovico.
Other British castings include Cumbrian tenor Peter Van Hulle in the role of Roderigo, baritone Charles Johnston as Montano and ENO favourite Pamela Helen Stephen playing the role of Emilia.
Otello opens at the London Coliseum on 13 September 2014 for 10 performances – 13, 16, 19, 25 September and 9, 14, 17 October at 7.30pm and 27 September and 4, 11 October at 6.30pm.
Pre-performance talk: Thursday 25 September, 5.15-6pm, £5/£2.50 concs.
An Opera Undressed performance of Otello will take place 16 September 2014 at 7.30pm
A co-production with The Royal Swedish Opera and Teatro Real, Madrid
ENO’s 2014/15 season spans more than 400 years of opera, from 1607 to 2015, and will be staged in four venues: ENO’s home at the London Coliseum, Bristol Old Vic, the Barbican and the Young Vic. The season features four productions by British composers, including two world premieres by living British composers and ENO’s first opera for children and families. From terrorism, invasion and despair through to miracles, enlightenment and joy, two millennia of history, four centuries of composition and ENO’s 16 dramatic productions together reveal the unique ability of opera to convey what it is to be human.
Notes to Editors:
English National Opera (ENO) is the UK’s leading producer of world-class opera, sung in English. Working with the very best talent from across the arts and creative industries, we create distinctive, highly theatrical productions and stage more new work and contemporary opera than any other UK opera company. We champion British and British-trained talent by placing it at the heart of our performances and providing unique development programmes for singers, musicians, composers and conductors. Our productions are seen by audiences across the world thanks to partnerships with its most celebrated opera houses and cinema transmissions by ENO Screen. Through all our activities we aim to make our work enjoyable, accessible and affordable for as many people as possible.
Opera Undressed is an audience development scheme that aims to introduce newcomers to English National Opera by demystifying the opera-going experience in a fun and informal setting.
During our 2014/15 season, ENO is hosting eight Opera Undressed nights. For just £25, audience members will:
- Get one of the best seats in the house
- Attend a pre-performance chat about the production
- Get an outline of the opera in advance
- Attend post-show drinks with cast and company members
- Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the London Coliseum, with bars serving beer and cocktails
An Opera Undressed performance of Otello will take place on 16 September 2014 at 7.30pm.
See www.eno.org/undressed for more information.
For further press information please contact:
Christopher Calvert Annie Lydford
Press Manager Assistant Press Officer
020 7845 9245 020 7845 9439