Chess, the epic love story set amid the tensions of a world championship chess match, will be the fourth production by Michael Linnit and Michael Grade in collaboration with ENO. Chess will have a strictly limited five week run at the London Coliseum from Thursday 26 April 2018 – Saturday 2 June, with a press night on Tuesday 1 May 2018.
This new production, featuring English National Opera’s award-winning Orchestra and Chorus, will be directed by Laurence Connor, whose recent credits include School of Rock and Miss Saigon on Broadway and in the West End, Les Misérables on Broadway, and the international Jesus Christ Superstar arena tour. Choreography is by Stephen Mear.
Chess, written in 1984 by songwriters Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, and Tim Rice (Jesus Christ Superstar, The Lion King, Evita), tells a story of love and political intrigue, set against the background of the Cold War in the late 1970s/early 1980s, in which superpowers attempt to manipulate an international chess championship for political ends. Two of the world’s greatest chess masters, one American, one Russian, are in danger of becoming the pawns of their governments as their battle for the world title gets under way. Simultaneously their lives are thrown into further confusion by a Hungarian refugee, a remarkable woman who becomes the centre of their emotional triangle. This mirrors the heightened passions of the political struggles that threaten to destroy lives and loves.
This collaboration between the GradeLinnit Company and ENO has previously produced highly acclaimed runs of Carousel with Alfie Boe and Katherine Jenkins, Sunset Boulevard starring Glenn Close, and Sweeney Todd starring Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel.
Over 190,000 people have attended one of these musical theatre performances at ENO’s home, the London Coliseum. A significant number of these audiences have already returned to see an opera with us, and Chess will offer another opportunity to introduce new audiences to our beautiful theatre and to the work of our company.
During Summer 2018 ENO will also be presenting Effigies of Wickedness with the Gate Theatre, Notting Hill, The Turn of the Screw with Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and two further ENO Studio Live productions which will be announced in November. Our Orchestra will also play for two productions (Roméo et Juliette and Un Ballo in Maschera) with Grange Park Opera.