An important ENO commission, Thebans unites prize-winning British composer Julian Anderson and his librettist, the distinguished playwright Frank McGuinness. This compelling re-telling of Sophocles’ timeless Theban tragedies focuses on the fate of Oedipus and his daughter Antigone. Murder and incest, political ambition, love and loyalty, hatred and revenge drive everyone on a collision course which can only lead to catastrophe.
Anderson, ‘a composer to cherish’ (The Times), is recognised for his fresh melodic gifts, vivid orchestration and rhythmic drive, all of which he brings to Thebans, his first opera. Among his recent orchestral showpieces is The Discovery of Heaven (2013 South Bank Sky Arts Award), while Harmony was premiered at the opening night of the 2013 Proms season. A playwright of international repute, McGuinness is also acclaimed for his vivid translations of Ibsen, Strindberg and Sophocles. His Oedipus, based on the Theban tragedy, was staged by the National Theatre in 2008.
De Nederlandse Opera Artistic Director Pierre Audi makes his much-anticipated ENO debut with this world premiere production of Thebans. Music Director Edward Gardner leads the ENO Chorus and Orchestra and an outstanding cast of ENO regulars, including Roland Wood as the tormented Oedipus, Susan Bickley as his wife/mother Jocasta, ENO Harewood Artist Julia Sporsén as the doomed Antigone, and Peter Hoare as Creon.
A co-production with Theater Bonn
New production supported by The Boltini Trust, PRS for Music Foundation and ENO’s Contemporary Opera Group
Thebans is sung and surtitled in English | Running time: 2hrs (including 1 interval)
Signed performance Thu 8 May. Pre Performance Talk: Thu 8 May with Emily Pillinger, Classicist King’s College London.
Thebans cast and creative team
Conductor Edward Gardner
Director Pierre Audi
Set Designer Tom Pye
Costume Designer Christof Hetzer
Lighting Designer Jean Kalman
Video Designer Lysander Ashton
Oedipus Roland Wood
Creon Peter Hoare
Antigone Julia Sporsén
Tiresias Matthew Best
Jocasta Susan Bickley
Messenger Christopher Ainslie
Haemon Anthony Gregory
Polynices Jonathan McGovern