Originally written to celebrate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, this special concert performance of Benjamin Britten’s Gloriana will be staged this year in celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Concerning her namesake and the last Tudor monarch Elizabeth I, the opera depicts a Queen at her strongest, yet perhaps at her most human, as her affections for favoured courtier Robert Devereaux (the Earl of Essex), are tested by a series of plots.
Gloriana is one of Benjamin Britten’s greatest large-scale operas, and will mark the first time the ENO has performed this piece since 1984. Conducted by the ENO’s Music Director Martyn Brabbins, the the award-winning ENO Orchestra and Chorus perform this grand work at a time of national celebration.
Artistic Director of the ENO Annilese Miskimmon says: ‘What a way to round off this celebratory year; a magnificent work by one of Britain’s most celebrated composers in concert, fantastic cast of British and international talent, and the phenomenal ENO Orchestra and Chorus. With tickets starting from £10, and Under 21s coming free, I can’t think of a better time to experience this masterpiece.’
Conductor and Music Director of the ENO Martyn Brabbins comments: ‘Gloriana resounds with all the hallmarks of Britten’s operatic genius. There are glorious celebratory scenes, contrasting with the tender lyricism of the lute song. Britten manages to encapsulate both the public and the private world of Elizabeth I in music of infinite variety and richness, creating an irresistible operatic tapestry. It is with great joy that the English National Opera are performing Gloriana in this Platinum Jubilee year.’
Heading a stellar cast is Christine Rice, one of Britain’s leading mezzo-sopranos. Singing Elizabeth I, Rice brings her ‘electrifyingly vivid’ (The Telegraph) expertise to the role.
Elizabeth’s favourite, Robert Devereaux, is sung by tenor Robert Murray, filling the stage with his ‘passion and textual understanding’ (The Times) of Britten. ‘Exceptional, generous and expressive’ (the Observer), mezzo-soprano Paula Murrihy sings Robert’s wife Frances, Countess of Essex. Murrihy returns to the ENO following Benvenuto Cellini’s Ascanio in 2014.
Baritone Duncan Rock is Charles Blount, reuniting with the ENO Orchestra following 2019’s co-production of Hansel and Gretel with Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. Rock is a former ENO Harewood Artist, his previous roles with the company including Donald in 2012’s Billy Budd, and Papageno in The Magic Flute (2012).
‘Magnetic’ (Classical Source) former Harewood Artist soprano Sophie Bevan MBE is Penelope, Lady Rich, bringing her ‘refreshing kind of virtuosity’ (the Guardian) back to the London Coliseum following her origination of the role of Hermione in The Winter’s Tale (2017).
Charles Rice is Sir Robert Cecil, returning to the ENO following Marcello in La bohème (2021). David Soar is Sir Walter Raleigh, and former ENO Harewood Artist Alex Otterburn is Henry Cuffe, his second company role this season. They are joined by current ENO Harewood Artist Alexandra Oomens as a Lady-in-Waiting, and former Harewood Claire Barnett-Jones as a Housewife. Current Harewood Artist Innocent Masuku sings the Spirit of the Masque.
The English National Opera’s Gloriana is at the London Coliseum on Thursday 8 December 2022 at 19.00.
Tickets are priced between £10 and £55
Under 35s can get tickets for £15 in the Stalls and Dress Circle and £10 in the Upper Circle.
Under 21s come free.
£2.25 booking fee applies to online and telephone bookings.
Members and supporter’s tickets are on sale from Monday 30 May at 12.00.
General release tickets are on sale from Wednesday 1 June at 12.00.
Benjamin Britten (1913-1976)
Libretto by William Plomer, after Lytton Strachey’s ‘Elizabeth and Essex’.
Conductor, Martyn Brabbins
Thursday 8 December (1 performance)