La Fura dels Baus opens ENO’s new Season with Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre
Date published: Thu 20 Aug 2009
Conductor Baldur Brönnimann; Directors Alex Ollé and Valentina Carrasco; Set Designer Alfons Flores; Costume Designer Lluc Castells; Video Designer Franc Aleu; Lighting Designer Peter van Praet. Translation Geoffrey Skelton
The directors of world renowned Catalan ‘total theatre’ company, La Fura dels Baus, bring their highly unusual settings and black humour to the direction of Hungarian composer Ligeti’s ‘anti anti-opera’ in a new production of Le Grand Macabre which opens ENO’s 2009/10 Season on 17 September at the London Coliseum. Baldur Brönnimann, a highly acclaimed new music specialist who conducted ENO’s award-winning Lost Highway at the Young Vic, conducts.
Ligeti’s only opera was originally written in the second half of the 1970s and ENO, which gave the work’s UK premiere in 1982, now presents the British stage premiere of the composer’s 1996 revision. Loosely based on a play by the Belgian author Michel de Ghelderode, the opera focuses on mortality, death and the fear of bodily disintegration. Written in response to ‘anti opera’, it recognises both the traditional forms of opera and the criticism of the genre. The score contains references to classical composers as well as the urban sounds of the bleak, litter-strewn skyscraper city in which the opera is set.
Celebrating in 2009 thirty years as a collective, La Fura dels Baus are known for their relentless pursuit of new ground and blurring the boundaries between the audience and stage. Since the early 1990s the group has undertaken opera, major events and music recordings. Their electrifying work has been seen worldwide, most memorably at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics for which they were responsible for the opening ceremony.
The cast includes Susanna Andersson (Venus/Gepopo); Susan Bickley (Mescalina); Andrew Watts (Prince Go-Go); Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke (Piet the Pot); Pavlo Hunka (Nekrotzar); Frode Olsen (Astradamors).
Filmaker Paul Bush is making a film from the percussionists’ viewpoint at ENO Baylis’ Summer School and will produce a visual rendering of extracts of the percussion score intercut with the set. He will be working with a team of up to four young filmmakers and this will be live at eno.org/video from 7 September and forms part of ENO’s growing body of unique digital content commissioned for online including film, podcasts, and other interactive media.
Press night is Thursday 17 September at 7.30pm
Co-producers Theatre de La Monnaie, Brussels; Gran Teatro del Liceu, Barcelona and Teatro dell’Opera di Roma
Box Office 0871 911 0200 or online www.eno.org