Fiona Shaw’s acclaimed production of The Marriage of Figaro returns to ENO, with Lucy Crowe in her role debut as the Countess

1st March 2018 in Press

The Marriage of Figaro
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 -1791)
Lorenzo da Ponte

Conductor, Martyn Brabbins
Director, Fiona Shaw
Revival Director, Peter Relton

Fiona Shaw’s acclaimed production of The Marriage of Figaro returns to ENO, with Lucy Crowe in her role debut as the Countess

Opens Thursday 29 March at 7pm at the London Coliseum (6 performances)

Lucy Crowe, one of the UK’s leading lyric sopranos, takes on the role of the Countess in Mozart’s masterpiece, The Marriage of Figaro. The second revival of Fiona Shaw’s acclaimed production is conducted by ENO’s Music Director Martyn Brabbins, and features a stellar cast, including Ashley Riches and ENO Harewood Artists Rhian Lois and Katie Coventry in their role debuts as Count Almaviva, Susanna and Cherubino respectively.

The Marriage of Figaro whisks us through a day’s events in which Figaro, the Count’s valet, tries to wed Susanna, the Countess’s maid, before their philandering master can bed her first. This riveting comedy is played out within the confines of a maze-like household in which the servants are perfectly capable of thwarting their masters at every turn.

One of the most celebrated actors of her generation, multiple Olivier Award-winner Fiona Shaw is famed for her work on stage and screen. She recently directed Medea at Wexford Festival Opera, and starred in John Jencks’ screen adaptation of Stephen Fry’s The Hippopotamus, as well as the celebrated BBC anthology series Inside Number 9. She made her operatic directorial debut with ENO’s production of Vaughan Williams’s Riders to the Sea in 2008, followed by her 2010 staging of Henze’s Elegy for Young Lovers for ENO at the Young Vic, which ‘combined exemplary clarity and richness of atmosphere’ (The Daily Telegraph).

Peter Relton takes the reins as revival director, having previously worked with ENO on the revivals of Aida, Satyagraha and The Barber of Seville.

Returning to the production are Olivier Award-winning theatre and opera designer Peter McKintosh, acclaimed movement director Kim Brandstrup, video designer Stephen Williams and costume designer Ruth Myers. Jean Kalman’s lighting designs will again be revived by Mike Gunning.

Dutch baritone Thomas Oliemans makes his ENO debut as Figaro. A regular guest at Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam, previous roles there include Papageno in Simon McBurney’s production of Die Zauberflöte (which earned him the Prix d’Amis), Schaunard in La Bohème, Fritz Kothner in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and, most recently, Peter in Hänsel und Gretel.

British bass-baritone Ashley Riches makes his role debut as the Count. A BBC New Generation Artist, previous roles include the Pirate King in Mike Leigh’s production of The Pirates of Penzance at ENO, Moralès in Carmen with the Royal Opera House and the title role in Mozart’s Don Giovanni for Opera Holland Park.

ENO Harewood Artist Rhian Lois, originally from Wales, makes her role debut as the ever-resourceful Susanna. A graduate of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Royal College of Music and National Opera Studio, Rhian’s previous appearances at ENO include Adele (Die Fledermaus), Nerine (Medea) and Musetta (La bohème). She recently sung the role of Barbarina in Welsh National Opera’s production of Le nozze di Figaro.

British soprano Lucy Crowe, making her role debut as Countess Almaviva, has performed with many of the world’s finest conductors and orchestras including the Philadelphia Orchestra under Nézet-Séguin; the Accademia Santa Cecilia Orchestra under Pappano; the CBSO under Haim, Oramo, Nelsons and Gardner; the OAE under Mackerras and Egarr; and the Monteverdi Choir/English Baroque Soloists under Gardiner. Her previous roles with ENO include Pamina (The Magic Flute), Doña Isabel (The Indian Queen), Rosina (The Barber of Seville) and Poppaea (Agrippina).

Scottish mezzo-soprano and ENO Harewood Artist Katie Coventry will make her role debut as Cherubino, having made her professional debut with ENO last year as Edith in The Pirates of Penzance.

Scottish soprano Janis Kelly, singing the role of Marcellina, has performed with ENO for over 30 years. She received worldwide acclaim for her portrayal of the title role in Rufus Wainwright’s Prima Donna, which she performed at the Manchester International Festival (World Premiere), Sadler’s Wells, Toronto, Portland, in concert at the Royal Opera House and Teatro Real, Madrid. Her roles with ENO have included Romilda (Xerxes), Countess Almaviva (The Marriage of Figaro), Despina (Così fan tutte), Pat Nixon (Nixon in China) and Mrs Naidoo (Satyagraha).

British bass-baritone Keel Watson, singing the role of Dr Bartolo, studied singing and trombone at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Previous opera engagements include Caronte (Orfeo) for English National Opera, Caterpillar (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland) with Opera Holland Park at the Royal Opera House and Iago (Otello) for Birmingham Opera Company.

British tenor Colin Judson, singing the role of Don Basilio, studied at the GSMD and subsequently became an ensemble member of Oper Köln. His previous ENO engagements include High Priest of Amon (Akhnaten), Chekalinsky (Queen of Spades), Don Basilio, Armed Man (The Magic Flute and Timorous/Lord Lechery/Messenger (Pilgrim’s Progress).

Scottish tenor Alasdair Elliott, singing the role of Don Curzio, recently sang Mr Strutt in the world premiere of Nico Muhly’s Marnie at ENO. He is well known for his interest in contemporary music, performing in the world premieres of Legende at the Concertgebouw and Buller’s The Bacchae for ENO, and creating Shvonder (A Dog’s Heart) for ENO.

British soprano Alison Rose makes her ENO debut as Barbarina. She is the winner of the Maggie Teyte Prize 2015 and the Leonard Ingrams Award 2017. Previous opera engagements include Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro at Garsington Festival Opera and Vixen in The Cunning Little Vixen at Grimeborn Festival / Arcola Theatre.

British bass-bartione Paul Sheehan graduated in music from Exeter University and was a choral scholar in Exeter Cathedral Choir before going on to train at the GSMD and studying with Robert Dean. He sings the role of Antonio. Previous ENO engagements include Shepherd (Thebans), Policeman (La bohème), Messenger (La traviata) and Usher (Rigoletto).

Martyn Brabbins takes the conductor’s baton, conducting his first ENO revival as Music Director with the company. The translation is by Jeremy Sams.

The Marriage of Figaro opens at the London Coliseum on Thursday 29 March for 6 performances – Mar 29 & Apr 4, 6, 10, 12 at 7pm and Apr 14 at 6pm.

Running time: 3 hours 20 minutes

Pre-performance talk, 4 April 5.45-6.30pm, £5/£2.50 concs.

500 tickets are available for every performance at £20 or less


Notes to Editors:

English National Opera (ENO) is the UK’s leading producer of world-class opera, sung in English. Working with the very best talent from across the arts and creative industries, we create distinctive, highly theatrical productions and stage more new work and contemporary opera than any other UK opera company. We champion British and British-trained talent by placing it at the heart of our performances and providing unique development programmes for singers, musicians, composers and conductors. Our productions are seen by audiences across the world thanks to partnerships with its most celebrated opera houses and cinema transmissions by ENO Screen. Through all our activities we aim to make our work enjoyable, accessible and affordable for as many people as possible.


Figaro – Thomas Oliemans

Susanna – Rhian Lois

Count Almaviva – Ashley Riches

Countess Almaviva – Lucy Crowe

Cherubino – Katie Coventry

Marcellina– Janis Kelly

Dr Bartolo – Keel Watson

Don Basilio – Colin Judson

Don Curzio – Alasdair Elliott

Barbarina – Alison Rose

Antonio – Paul Sheehan

Conductor – Martyn Brabbins