Acclaimed visual artist William Kentridge’s spectacular production of Lulu comes to London

25th October 2016 in Press


Alban Berg (1885-1935)
Director, William Kentridge
Conductor, Mark Wigglesworth

Acclaimed visual artist William Kentridge’s spectacular production of Lulu comes to London

Opens Wednesday 9 November at 7.00pm at the London Coliseum (5 performances)

In one of autumn’s most anticipated arts events, eminent South African artist William Kentridge makes his ENO directorial debut with this ‘provocative and visually stunning’ (New York Observer) production of Berg’s modernist 20th century masterpiece.

Kentridge locates his production to the period of the opera’s creation in the late 1920s and 1930s, using his own ink drawings to form part of the set and production design. This production has previously been seen in Amsterdam and New York where it was critically acclaimed.

A married woman, a mistress, a murderess and a prostitute who ends up as one of Jack the Ripper’s victims, Lulu is an enigmatic figure. A symbol of sexual desire and its ideal fulfilment, her trajectory from Viennese middle class respectability to her brutal end in a London garret is both harrowing and revealing.

Kentridge’s creative team comprises his co-director Luc de Wit, designer Sabine Theunissen, costume designer Greta Goiris, lighting designer Urs Schönebaum and video designer Catherine Meyburgh. Former ENO Music Director Mark Wigglesworth conducts.

Brenda Rae makes her ENO and role debut as  Berg’s femme fatale, Lulu. She has been a resident artist at Oper Frankfurt since 2008 and has performed with numerous opera companies including Santa Fe Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, Opéra National de Bordeaux, Théâtre de Champs-Elysées and Glyndebourne.

Acclaimed British mezzo soprano Sarah Connolly returns to ENO as Countess Geschwitz. She last sung with the Company in the title role of David McVicar’s production of Medea, a role that she sang ‘with total technical assurance and radiating baneful charisma’ (Daily Telegraph). Other appearances for ENO include La clemenza di tito (for which she won an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera )Der Rosenkavalier, Agrippina, The Coronation of Poppea, The Rape of Lucretia, Xerxes and I Capuleti e I Montecchi.

Irish-Canadian tenor Michael Colvin makes his role debut as The Painter. He last appeared with ENO as Bob Boles in the revival of David Alden’s five star production of Peter Grimes. He has also performed in Madam Butterfly and The Turn of the Screw for the Company.

Eminent bass Willard White is Schigolch. Willard last appeared with ENO as Pope Clement VII in Terry Gilliam’s Benvenuto Cellini in June 2014. Other notable roles for ENO include the title role in Stein Wenge’s production of The Flying Dutchman, Kutuzov in War and Peace and Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

American bass-baritone James Morris takes on the roles of Dr Schön and Jack the Ripper. He last appeared with ENO as The Doctor in Carrie Cracknell’s acclaimed production of Wozzeck in 2013, a role in which he exuded “an air of vocal gravitas and cynical manipulation” (Financial Times).

ENO Harewood Artist Nicky Spence makes his role debut as Dr Schön’s son Alwa. Nicky last appeared with ENO as Steva Buryja in the revival of David Alden’s five star production of Jenůfa in June 2016. Other roles with the Company include David in Richard Jones’s Olivier Award-winning production of The Mastersingers of Nuremberg, Francesco in Terry Gilliam’s production of Benvenuto Cellini and Brian in the world premiere of Nico Muhly’s Two Boys in 2011, a role he also reprised at the Metropolitan Opera in 2013.

The cast also includes David Soar (Animal Tamer/Athlete), Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts (Prince/Manservant/Marquis), Clare Presland (Schoolboy/Dresser/Waiter), Graeme Danby (Theatre Director/Bank Director), Sarah Labiner (15 year old girl), Rebecca de Pont Davies (her mother), Sarah Champion (Female Artist), Geoffrey Dolton (Journalist), Joanna Dudley (Solo Performer) and Andrea Fabi (Solo Performer).

Lulu opens on Wednesday 9 November 2016 at 7.00pm for 5 performances – 9, 14, 17 November at 7.00pm, 12, 19 November at 6pm.

500 tickets for £20 or less are available for each performance. Tickets start from £12.

Pre-performance talk:  Wednesday 17 November £5/£2.50 concs.

A co-production with the Metropolitan Opera, New York, Dutch National Opera and Teatro dell’Opera di Roma.



Notes to Editors:


English National Opera is founded on the belief that opera of the highest quality should be accessible to everyone. We are a national company of international standard. We forge ground-breaking collaborations across art forms, and our world-class productions inspire, surprise, and captivate. We sing in English. We believe that singing in our own language connects the performers and the audience to the drama onstage, and enhances the experience for all. We bring our productions to the widest possible audience, whether at the London Coliseum, nationally or internationally. We make our work accessible by offering a large proportion of tickets at affordable prices, and by distributing it widely on screen and via digital media. We nurture talent across the entire company, whether on-stage, backstage, or in the pit. We provide a platform for young singers to develop global careers.

We tell the world’s most timeless stories, unforgettably.

English National Opera are grateful to the KT Wong Foundation for their generous support of this new production.

KT Wong Foundation logoThe KT Wong Foundation, an independent organization established in 2007 by Lady Wong Davies, is dedicated to developing cultural exchange between China and the rest of the world through collaborative projects. The Foundation acts as a catalyst and producer for innovative creative ventures that bring together artists and cultural projects in a wide number of disciplines. The Foundation aims to foster a mutual understanding between China and the rest of the world by presenting the best of the East and West to each other