English National Opera was sad to learn of the death last week of renowned Australian soprano Eilene Hannan.
Eilene is perhaps best known for her performance as Natasha in the production of War and Peace which opened the Sydney Opera House in 1973. She reprised the role at the Metropolitan Opera New York with ENO as part of our US tour in 1984.
A leading light at ENO for many years, Eilene excelled as an actress as well as a singer. Among her myriad outstanding appearances at ENO’s London Coliseum, Eilene’s sensitive and dramatic performances as Melisande in Debussy’s Pelleas and Melisande (directed by Harry Kupfer, conductor Mark Elder, 1981), Dvořák'sRusalka, (directed by David Pountney and conducted by Mark Elder, 1986) and as The Governess in our 1991 revival of Jonathan Miller’s production of Britten’s The Turn of the Screw will be particularly remembered.
ENO Head of Casting John McMurray said: “Eilene typified many of the qualities most important to the work of ENO – a fierce devotion to the dramatic truth of the characters she played and a collegial spirit. Her portrayal of the title role in the legendary production of Rusalka brought a vulnerability and intensity that remains etched in the minds of those who saw it.”
Our thoughts are with Eilene’s family and friends. She will be missed.