English National Opera stages Verdi’s Luisa Miller for the first time in company history

16th January 2020 in Press

Opens Wednesday 12 February at the London Coliseum (6 performances)

Winner of the Newcomer Award at the International Opera Awards in 2018, Barbora Horáková brings her contemporary staging of Luisa Miller to the London Coliseum.

Luisa Miller is a complex web of love and intrigue. The opera follows the lovers Luisa and Rodolfo, who, from opposing sides of the class divide, are united in their search for happiness. But oppressive familial relationships and societal expectations threaten to tear the doomed pair apart, shattering their lives and turning romance to tragedy.

This new production is a modern psychological family drama, with themes around light and dark. Making her UK directorial debut, Barbora comments: ‘It’s a perfect and impactful drama created by two geniuses – Verdi and Schiller. Both impress us with the way they use strong psychological views of the characters and the inevitability with which the story reaches its tragic end.’

Recognised as a key transitional work in the refining of Verdi’s style in the 1850s, Luisa Miller reveals the composer’s innate gift for beautiful lyrical lines and sensitive orchestration. His fifteenth opera, this marks the beginning of Verdi’s ‘middle period’, which produced some of the composer’s most famous works: La traviata and Rigoletto.

One of opera’s favourite voices, Elizabeth Llewellyn, returns to ENO for the role of Luisa. Her soprano, ‘uncorks passages of glorious timbre’ (The Times). An expert in Italian repertoire, her ‘vocal blend is ideal: pure, supple and perfectly balanced’ (the Independent).

Baritone Olafur Sigurdarson takes the role of Miller in his ENO debut. Olafur has an established international career, having sung on stages across Europe, Japan, Australia, Mexico and the US. Praised for his performance as Scarpia in Tosca, he was recognised as Iceland’s Classical Singer of the Year in 2018.

David Junghoon Kim ‘an outstanding tenor’ (British Theatre Guide) sings Rodolfo, also making his ENO debut. David is a Royal Opera House Jette Parker alumnus and has previously won the Francisco Viñas, Voci Verdiane and Toulouse singing competitions.

The ‘formidably voiced’ (Evening Standard) James Creswell returns to the Coliseum as Count Walter. His bass is ‘magnificently rich, dark and wholly secure, with flawless emission’ (Opera Britannia).

Leading mezzo-soprano is Christine Rice in the role of Federica. Christine returns in her first role since Elvira in Don Giovanni (2016) – ‘Donna Elvira is all the more potent for the control Christine Rice exerts in one astonishing aria after another’ (the Observer).

Bass Soloman Howard is Wurm in his ENO debut. Soloman made his role debut recently at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, where he delivered ‘an intimidating performance of Wurm. His tremendous voice was matched by his towering stature’ (Schmopera).

Completing the cast, soprano and ENO Harewood Artist Nadine Benjamin returns to ENO as Laura after stellar performances in Porgy and Bess (2018) ‘gloriously sung’ (Evening Standard) and La bohème (2018).

Alexander Joel returns to take the conductor’s baton after success with ENO’s La bohème (2018) – ‘Altogether a wonderful evening under the baton of Alexander Joel’ (Mark Ronan).

The modern set is designed by Andrew Lieberman, with costumes by Eva-Maria Van Acker and choreography by James Rosental. Lighting design is by Michael Bauer and Martin Fitzpatrick, ENO’s Head of Music, has translated the libretto.

Luisa Miller opens on Wednesday 12 February 19:30 at the London Coliseum for 6 performances: Feb 12, 19, 21, 28 & Mar 6 at 19:30. Feb 15 at 18:30.

Tickets start from £10 (plus booking fee)*

*£2.25 booking fee applies to online and telephone bookings

Co-production with Oper Wuppertal.




Notes to Editors:

About English National Opera

English National Opera is the national opera company dedicated to one simple aim: making opera for everyone. We sing in English to be as accessible to the widest possible audience, as well as offering tickets for as little as ten pounds and we create opera that feels different, more theatrical and creatively daring. We’ve been doing this to an internationally recognised standard since being founded in 1931 as Sadler’s Wells Opera.

We are determined to open up the genre: nearly half of our audiences in 2018/19 were first-time bookers. Our learning and participation programme ENO Baylis last year touched the lives of more than 15,000 school children and community groups, and our talent development programme nurtures the careers of singers (the ENO Harewood Artist programme) and conductors (the Charles Mackerras Fellowship). We also give free tickets to Under 18s in our balcony for opening nights, Friday and Saturday performances.

Last year, the percentage of audience members under 44 increased by 13% year-on-year and the proportion of our audience with a black or minority ethnic background increased from 4% to 10%. In January of this year, we announced that we would be recruiting four new members of our Chorus from a BAME background, as well as four BAME Director Observerships.

Our ongoing support and development of British talent meant 80% of the cast in the 2017-18 season were British or British trained. That’s important to us and is fundamental to our ethos of giving new talent their break.

ENO is about opera for everyone.


Luisa Miller

Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)
Libretto by Salvadore Cammarano (1801-1852) after Friedrich Schiller’s Intrigue and Love (Kabale und Liebe)

Director, Barbora Horáková
Conductor, Alexander Joel


Luisa Elizabeth Llewellyn
Miller Olafur Sigurdarson
Rodolfo David Junghoon Kim
Count Walter James Creswell
Federica Christine Rice
Wurm Soloman Howard
Laura Nadine Benjamin*

* current ENO Harewood Artists