English National Opera announces 2014/15 season, new partnerships in education and music theatre and transformative plans for a sustainable future
• ENO ends 2013/14 year on a surplus following strong box office sales and builds on this success with robust plans for a sustainable future
• An ambitious new 2014/15 season includes 11 new productions – three outside the London Coliseum, including Bristol – and 170 performances
• Two world premieres by British composers – Tansy Davies is inspired by 9/11 and Joanna Lee creates ENO’s first opera for children
• Peter Sellars returns to ENO as Director-in-Residence, with two connecting pieces giving a voice to women in stories usually told by men: the world staged premiere of John Adams’s The Gospel According to the Other Mary and the UK’s first fully-staged production of Purcell’s The Indian Queen
• Mike Leigh’s operatic directorial debut with Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance
• Edward Gardner leads ENO’s outstanding orchestra and chorus, conducting Wagner’s The Mastersingers of Nuremberg, directed by Richard Jones
• Shakespeare’s 450th anniversary celebrated with a new production of Otello. Ed Gardner conducts, David Alden directs and Stuart Skelton debuts in the title role
• ENO and Bristol Old Vic begin a new partnership, with director Tom Morris and ENO Harewood Artists collaborating to present Monteverdi’s Orfeo in the UK’s oldest continuously operating theatre
• ENO joins forces with Michael Grade & Michael Linnit to produce music theatre
• ENO and UCL launch a new research partnership exploring the future of live performance
• ENO plans a new purpose-built international production centre
• ENO will open the London Coliseum all day to visitors with a new hospitality offer
Ambitious plans for a sustainable future
English National Opera (ENO) today, 29 April 2014, announced an ambitious new season of work, significant new commercial partnerships and transformative projects for the London Coliseum and wider company.
The announcement follows an excellent finish to the 2013/14 financial year, with ENO returning a surplus due to stronger than anticipated box office sales and buoyant co-production partnerships.
ENO’s 2014/15 season spans more than 400 years of opera, from 1607 to 2015, and will be staged in four venues: ENO’s home at the London Coliseum, Bristol Old Vic, the Barbican and the Young Vic.
Five productions from the new season – Otello, The Way Back Home, La traviata, The Pirates of Penzance and Carmen – will also be screened to audiences throughout the UK and Ireland, and around the world, as part of ENO Screen, ENO’s recent groundbreaking entry into cinema in partnership with AltiveMedia.
John Berry, ENO Artistic Director, said:
“Reaching out to even more people, with affordable ticket prices and work ranging from large scale ensemble works such as Wagner’s The Mastersingers of Nuremberg to Mike Leigh’s production of The Pirates of Penzance, shows the breadth and diversity of our 2014/15 season.
“Our wider initiatives are designed to foster close commercial partnerships, produce more work more efficiently, and attract new audiences – all deliverable at a lower cost to the public purse. This plan will create a sustainable future for ENO, without compromising on the quality of our work, and will keep us at the forefront of the international opera world.”
One of those initiatives is a new, long-term partnership with renowned theatrical impresarios Michael Grade and Michael Linnit, through which world-class musical theatre will be produced and staged by ENO.
A unique research partnership has been created between ENO and University College London (UCL) and will begin with PhD research into the future of live performance.
ENO is also making plans for a new international production centre. This purpose-built home for all the company’s rehearsal, production and administrative functions (currently housed in various locations throughout London) will make significant operational savings and will bring the company together to develop and enhance its internationally-renowned producing capability.
And the London Coliseum will be opened to the public all day, through a new partnership with a respected restaurateur – who will develop and fund, in close collaboration with ENO, a foyer coffee shop and redesigned restaurant and bar areas. These enhancements are being planned as part of a wider refurbishment of the building’s public areas, which will improve the experience for audiences and other visitors to the London Coliseum.
ENO’s extended season, plus closer curation of the year-long London Coliseum programme, will also enhance customer experience throughout the year.
These transformational projects and commercial partnerships will together help to create a sustainable future for ENO, enabling the company to reach out to new audiences, to provide even better public value and to continue to be a major creative and influential force in the world of opera and the wider creative arts.
The 2014/15 season
From terrorism, invasion and despair through to miracles, enlightenment and joy, two millennia of history, four centuries of composition and ENO’s 16 dramatic productions together reveal the unique ability of opera to convey what it is to be human.
British talent features heavily across the season. Four productions are by British composers, including two world premieres by living British composers – Tansy Davies’s 9/11 inspired Between Worlds and Joanna Lee’s opera for children and families, The Way Back Home. Six British conductors take up the ENO baton, led by acclaimed ENO Music Director Edward Gardner conducting three new productions – Verdi’s Otello, Wagner’s The Mastersingers of Nuremberg and Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades. The work of eight British directors is featured, including the opera directorial debut of Mike Leigh with Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance.
Young British singing talent is also significant. Ten ENO Harewood Artists take 18 named roles across the season and singers from this programme assume all the major roles in Monteverdi’s Orfeo at Bristol Old Vic. Rhian Lois will play Atalanta (Handel’s Xerxes), Young Woman (Between Worlds) and Frasquita (Bizet’s Carmen); Mary Bevan is Susanna in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro and Barnaby Rea sings Lodovico (Otello), Colline (Puccini’s La bohème) and Caronte (Orfeo). In total, 27 principal roles will be played by past or present members of ENO vocal training schemes and 85 per cent of the talent on stage in 2014/15 will be British or British trained (more than 90 per cent including the chorus).
The season also features some of the world’s finest directors from opera, theatre and film. These include Peter Sellars, who returns to ENO for the first time since Nixon In China to become Director-in-Residence, leading two new works chosen for their profound connection and commitment to the English language, despite being written more than 300 years apart. John Adams’s The Gospel According to the Other Mary and Purcell’s The Indian Queen (which features mesmerising sets by the US graffiti artist Gronk) both give a strong voice to women, against a backdrop of violence and unrest, in tales traditionally told by men. During his five-month residency Sellars will also take part in a series of community projects, inspired by the themes and ideas in the two productions.
Richard Jones also directs two productions – Puccini’s The Girl of the Golden West and The Mastersingers of Nuremberg – as does David Alden, who returns to ENO for Otello and The Queen of Spades. Fiona Shaw returns, as does Katie Mitchell who directs ENO’s first opera for children, The Way Back Home, based on the popular children’s book by Oliver Jeffers, and Deborah Warner, with her moving and uplifting account of one of the century’s most significant human events, the attacks on the World Trade Centre, in Between Worlds. While Tom Morris collaborates with a cast of ENO Harewood Artists, accompanied by the ENO orchestra, to stage Orfeo – one of the world’s oldest pieces of music theatre, in Bristol Old Vic - the UK’s oldest continuously working theatre.
Several major conductors make their ENO and UK debuts, including Keri-Lynn Wilson who conducts The Girl of the Golden West, Joana Carneiro (Music Director of the Berkeley Symphony) with The Gospel According to the Other Mary, and Baroque rising star Christopher Bucknall conducting Orfeo.
Internationally acclaimed talent includes incomparable Heldentenor Stuart Skelton as Otello; Alice Coote as Xerxes; Dame Felicity Palmer as The Countess in The Queen of Spades; Susan Bullock as Minnie in The Girl of the Golden West; Iain Paterson, Gwyn Hughes-Jones and Wendy Bryn-Harmer (in a UK debut) in The Mastersingers of Nuremberg and Grammy Award-winning Jonathan Lemalu in The Pirates of Penzance.
Music theatre – a ground-breaking new partnership
ENO has formed a new, long-term partnership with Michael Grade and Michael Linnit to develop new productions of the finest musicals. This new partnership will harness the world-class producing and technical teams at ENO and the unparalleled commercial experience of Grade and Linnit. These high quality productions will attract even broader audiences to the London Coliseum – which has a long and proud history of staging great musical entertainment – and help to develop audiences for both opera and music theatre.
Details of the first productions from this new partnership will be announced in due course.
Michael Grade and Michael Linnit said:
"We are delighted with this unique and exciting partnership, which creates an opportunity to embrace the new climate where audiences seem to enjoy the blurring of boundaries between opera, theatre and musicals and clearly they love a first class show. Bringing the considerable creative flair of ENO to bear on modern musicals will bring new audiences to the Coliseum, new revenues to ENO, and a new look at some of the greatest pieces of musical theatre ever written."
ENO’s 2014/15 season continues its unparalleled international co-producing record. 14 of the season’s 16 productions are co-produced with the world’s finest opera houses and festivals, including Teatro Real Madrid, Sante Fe Opera, Theater Bonn, Perm State Opera, Royal Opera Stockholm, Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg and Saarland State Theater of Saarbrücken.
ENO’s leadership in this field makes it one of the UK’s biggest exporters of cultural product, with the company’s work seen in 35 cities globally. These international partnerships and investments also mean that audiences in England are able to see many more high quality new productions than would otherwise be possible.
UCL partnership – researching and developing the future of performing arts
ENO’s new partnership with UCL, one of the world’s leading higher education institutes, will enable the university’s post-graduates to immerse themselves in an international performing arts institution, undertaking intensive research into the future of live performance, stage design and technology and audience experience. The research will provide invaluable insight for the sector on the future of the performing arts industry, from UCL’s multi-disciplinary expertise in fine art, computer science and architecture.
ENO and UCL are also exploring further development of the partnership.
Professor Michael Arthur, Provost of UCL said:
"UCL is delighted to begin a new partnership with ENO. This is developing on connections between the cross-disciplinary approach that is distinctive in UCL research and education and ENO 's commitment to world class collaborations with opera, across the arts and beyond.
“As a first step in our partnership, we are creating collaborative doctoral studentship projects around the theme of ‘The Future of Live Performance’ and we are actively exploring possibilities for an exciting wider collaboration in due course."
A new production centre for ENO – increased efficiency and closer collaboration
ENO is creating a new production centre that will bring together the company’s rehearsal, workshop, wardrobe, transport and administrative functions under one purpose-built roof. Currently, ENO uses spaces throughout London, including its own Lilian Baylis House and other rented facilities such as Three Mills Studios and LSO St Luke’s. By consolidating its creative process in this way, the company can work together under one roof throughout the year, while also significantly reducing its operating costs.
ENO has begun conversations with a number of developers to identify a suitable location and detailed plans for the company’s needs, in terms of space, functionality, budget and timeline are being drawn up. An update on the project’s progress is expected in July.
Opening the London Coliseum – improving customer experience and welcoming new visitors
ENO is in final discussions with a major restaurateur and hospitality investor who will develop and fund, in close collaboration with ENO, a London Coliseum foyer coffee shop and redesigned restaurant and bar areas. These enhancements are being planned as part of a wider refurbishment of the building’s public areas, which will see this historic London landmark open to the public all day, improving the experience for existing audiences and providing a warm welcome for new visitors.
ENO’s extended season, curation of the year-long London Coliseum programme and closer relationships with visiting companies will also enhance customer experience throughout the year when visiting this historic performing arts venue.
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.
ENO House Composers
ENO is also developing its pilot House Composers programme, announced last year, with four aspiring opera composers – Richard Causton, Alastair Putt, Edmund Finnis and Helen Grime. Each is being supported to pursue their own creative ideas and to unlock the secrets of the opera creation process, around a tangible piece of new writing which will be workshopped and performed as part of the programme. The ideas for new operas currently being explored include the effect of incarceration on the mind, science fiction and myth, and minimalism.
ENO Harewood Artists
The ENO Harewood Artists for 2014/15 are: Mary Bevan, Katherine Broderick, Eleanor Dennis, Anthony Gregory, Ben Johnson, Rhian Lois, Samantha Price, Barnaby Rea, Nicky Spence, George von Bergen, Catherine Young.
Find out more about University College London (UCL).