George Frederic Handel (1685 – 1759)
Nicola Francesco Haym (1678-1729)
Conductor, Christian Curnyn
Director, Richard Jones
Revival Director, Donna Stirrup
Richard Jones’s acclaimed production of Rodelinda returns to ENO, conducted by Christian Curnyn
Opens Thursday 26 October at 7pm at the London Coliseum (6 performances)
Hailed as ‘inspired’ (The Evening Standard) and ‘outstanding’ (The Observer) at its premiere, Olivier Award-winning director Richard Jones’s ingenious production of Handel’s Rodelinda returns to the London Coliseum in October. Among the returning faces are soprano Rebecca Evans in the title role and baroque specialist Christian Curnyn as conductor, along with ENO favourite Susan Bickley.
One of Handel’s great operatic masterpieces, Nicola Francesco Haym’s libretto follows the travails of the queen Rodelinda and her fidelity to her husband Bertarido, presumed dead but returned to his kingdom in disguise. Jones’s production sets Handel’s bitter political drama in Fascist Italy, infusing it with the aesthetic of the surveillance state and authoritarian menace.
Returning to the title role which she sang to ‘just about perfection’ (The Daily Telegraph) in the original run, Welsh soprano Rebecca Evans further adds to her reputation as one the country’s great Handelians. Notable roles with the company include Romilda in 2002’s Xerxes and the Governess in David McVicar’s 2009 production of The Turn of the Screw.
Countertenor Tim Mead who sings the role of her husband Bertarido, was last seen at ENO as a ‘radiant’ (Gramophone), ‘ethereal voiced’ (Sunday Times) Voice of Apollo in 2013’s Death in Venice. His performance in Rodelinda follows a run of acclaimed international Handel roles including Goffredo in 2014’s Glyndebourne Rinaldo, Arsamene in Theater ander Wien’s 2015 Xerxes and earlier in 2017 Athamas for the Handel and Haydn Society’s Semele in Boston.
Rising Spanish tenor Juan Sancho makes his ENO debut as the villainous Grimoaldo, who attempts to usurp Bertarido’s throne. An accomplished international interpreter of Handel, his solo concert at the June 2017 Halle Handel Festival was ‘greeted with great enthusiasm’ (Bachtrack).
ENO favourite Susan Bickley returns to sing the rightful king’s sister, Eduige. Seen earlier this year at ENO in the premiere of Ryan Wigglesworth’s The Winter’s Tale, Sue also created roles in two recent ENO commissions; the Mother in Tansy Davies’s award-winning Between Worlds and Jocasta in the world premiere of Julian Anderson’s Thebans in 2014.
Neal Davies, who also performed in the world premiere of The Winter’s Tale, sings Garibaldo. A regular singer with English National Opera, Davies’s performance in Xerxes (2014) was described as ‘so ballsy … that one wished the composer had given [him] more opportunities to strut [his] stuff’ (The Daily Telegraph). Countertenor Christopher Lowrey completes the singing cast, making his ENO debut as Unulfo. Actor Matt Casey reprises his silent role as Flavio from the original run.
Conductor Christian Curnyn is well known as one of the UK’s foremost baroque interpreters: ’Find anything exciting happening in period opera in the UK and Curnyn will be involved’ (The Spectator). He founded the Early Opera Company in 1994 in order to champion the relevance of baroque opera, and has won great acclaim for his recordings and performances in the area since, including his ‘terrific ensemble playing’ (The Independent) for the five-star Partenope at ENO in March 2017.
Richard Jones has a long creative relationship with ENO. He won the 2015 Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera for his much-lauded The Mastersingers of Nuremburg, The Girl of the Golden West and Rodelinda. The revival is directed by Donna Stirrup, a frequent ENO staff director who also directed last season’s revival of Tosca.
Rodelinda opens on Thursday 26 October at 7pm at the London Coliseum for 6 performances: 01, 03, 09 and 15 November at 7pm and 11 November at 6pm.
500 tickets for £20 or less are available for each performance. Tickets start from £12.
A co-production with the Bolshoi Theatre of Russia
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.
Rodelinda – Rebecca Evans
Bertarido – Tim Mead
Grimoaldo – Juan Sancho
Eduige – Susan Bickley
Garibaldo – Neal Davies
Unulfo – Christopher Lowrey
Flavio – Matt Casey
Conductor – Christian Curnyn