A spellbinding tale of intrigue and attempted murder, loosely inspired by an incredible but true story Nico Muhly’s Two Boys, directed by Bartlett Sher is the fifth co-production between ENO and the Metropolitan Opera (the Met)
Date published: Thu 19 May 2011
ENO presents the world premiere of Nico Muhly’s opera Two Boys, directed by Tony Award-winning Bartlett Sher and with a libretto by Craig Lucas on Friday 24 June at the London Coliseum. British conductor Rumon Gamba conducts a strong cast led by Nicky Spence and Susan Bickley. A co-production with the Metropolitan Opera, which commissioned this version of the work, Two Boys was originally commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera/Lincoln Center Theater Opera/Music Theater Commissions Program, a collaboration that fosters the creation of new works. Two Boys is the first piece to be produced from that program.
The co-production of Two Boys continues the ongoing relationship between ENO and the Met, which began in 2005 with Anthony Minghella’s acclaimed staging of Puccini’s Madam Butterfly, followed by a mesmerizing production of Philip Glass’s Satyagraha, and the powerful Doctor Atomic by John Adams. This season’s co-production of Gounod’s Faust, directed by Des McAnuff, opens at the Met in November, and Two Boys premieres during the company’s 2013-14 season with casting to be announced at a later date.
Two Boys is a contemporary crime story, loosely inspired by real-life events in an English industrial city. As Detective Inspector Anne Strawson investigates what appears to be a straightforward stabbing, she enters the secret world of a teenager and his life on the internet. Along the way, she discovers a bizarre series of chatroom meetings, mysterious identities and cybersex that lead her toward a surprising conclusion.
Nico Muhly received a Masters of Music from the Juilliard School and worked extensively with Philip Glass as editor, keyboard player and conductor on many of his projects. His work includes orchestral pieces premiered by the American Symphony, Chicago Symphony and the Juilliard and Boston University Tanglewood Institute Orchestras, and the scores for the film Choking Man and the Academy Award-nominated 2009 film The Reader. In 2005 Clare College Choir broadcast his evensong canticles live on BBC Radio 3, and New York’s St. Thomas Church commissioned and performed his Bright Mass with Cannons. He has collaborated with Bjork and Antony and the Johnsons, to much acclaim.
Making his ENO debut, award-winning director Bartlett Sher staged the Met’s hit production of Rossini’s II Barbiere di Siviglia in 2006, the fantastical production of Offenbach’s les Contes d’Hoffmann in 2009, and this season’s sold-out, highly-acclaimed production of Rossini’s Le Comte Ory. Sher is currently the Resident Director of Lincoln Center Theater (LCT). He received the 2008 Tony Award and other honours for his direction of South Pacific at LCT and will bring the production to the Barbican in London this August.
Librettist Craig Lucas's plays include Reckless, Prelude to A Kiss, and The Dying Gaul, all of which he adapted for the screen. He also directed the film version of The Dying Gaul and wrote the screenplays for Longtime Companion, Birds of America and The Secret Lives of Dentists. His book for Adam Guettel's musical The Light in the Piazza (staged by Sher), was nominated for a Tony Award.
The creative team includes Bartlett Sher’s award-winning long-time collaborators, set designer Michael Yeargan, costume designer Catherine Zuber and lighting designer Donald Holder, as well as the celebrated London-based video designers Fifty Nine Productions, whose video and projection work has recently been seen at ENO in Doctor Atomic and Satyagraha.
Rumon Gamba, Principal Conductor and Music Director of the Symfoniorkestern Norrlandsoperan, made his opera debut with ENO’s 2008 production of Candide and returns to the Company to conduct Two Boys. Between 2002 and 2010 he was Chief Conductor and Music Director of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. Susan Bickley, recently nominated for an RPS Award, plays Deputy Inspector Anne Strawson after a celebrated turn as Kabanicha in David Alden’s Katya Kabanova. Hailed as ‘The Voice of Scotland’, ENO Young Singer Nicky Spence sings the role of the Brian. Nicky is known for his diverse repertoire ranging from Handel and Mozart to Donizetti, Britten and Jonathan Dove; enabling him to collaborate with some of the finest orchestras on major platforms. He was this year’s winner of The National Bruce Millar Opera Prize. Mary Bevan sings the role of Rebecca, with Heather Shipp as Fiona, Valerie Reid as Anne’s Mother, Jonathan McGovern as Jake Robert Gleadow as Peter and Anna-Clare Monk as Cynthia.
Two Boys opens at the London Coliseum on 24 June 2011 for 7 performances – 24, 27, 29 June & 1, 4, 6, 8 July at 7.30pm.
A co-production with the Metropolitan Opera, New York
Commissioned by The Metropolitan Opera/Lincoln Center Theater Opera/Music Theater Commissions Program
Nico Muhly’s Seeing is Believing will be released 6 June on Decca Classics. Influenced by the great minimalists, latest electronic fusions and early English choral music at the same time, the ‘prodigious composer on the loose’ (The Times) has written Seeing is Believing for the Aurora Orchestra, a new young British ensemble who recorded Muhly’s music with contemporary specialist Nicholas Collon and soloist Thomas Gould.
The Big Debate: Are we making monsters? A live debate with Nico Muhly, Will Self and Chris Cook on the issues surrounding the internet and live online will be at the London Coliseum at 7.30pm on Monday 23 May. More details at www.eno.org. Tickets are free, and available by calling 0871 472 0800 Join the debate at www.insideopera.com.
Operastars: Childcare activities for ages 7-12, 1 July at 7pm
Join the conversation live: Pre-performance discussion, 27 June, at 5.30pm – 6.30pm: http://www.eno.org/explore
Notes to Editors:
ENO is creating the future of opera by:
- Staging contemporary highly theatrical world class work
- Making opera for everyone
- Working with creative talent from across the arts
- Developing and supporting British talent
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