English National Opera: The Force of Destiny at the London Coliseum

War, destiny, politics, passion, family and fate: classical music blogger Sonny Williamson reviews the English National Opera’s production of The Force of Destiny at the London Coliseum.

If you want to experience the full depth of emotion and art that opera has to offer, treat yourself to a night at the Coliseum and let the English National Opera sweep you away with their revival of Verdi’s The Force of Destiny.

In this first new staging in 20 years of one of Verdi’s lesser known masterworks, director Calixto Bieito and ENO music director, Mark Wigglesworth, present a world-star cast in a production that is guaranteed to enflame your senses, indulge your emotions and leave you wanting more.

“…guaranteed to enflame your senses, indulge your emotions and leave you wanting more.”

Set in the 1930’s during the Spanish Civil War, the tale revolves around a dead man’s curse, fleeing lovers and a vengeful brother, all surrounded by the horrors of war and the plight of the impoverished masses. The production design is frankly stunning, with imposing, stark building facades cleverly used to evoke a variety of scenes, moods and architectures, all while gorgeously shot slow-motion film is projected onto their angular forms as the action unfolds. The effect is an intense, almost cinematic experience that genuinely enhances the music, acting, costumes and libretto of this deeply moving work.

Mark Wigglesworth on The Force of Destiny / ENO

The music is as rich, emotional, evocative and indulgent as Verdi’s best work and you may even recognise a tune here and there from various other mediums (the soundtrack to a popular beer commercial, for instance). Leads tenor Gwyn Hughes Jones, baritone Anthony Michaels-Moore and the superlative soprano Tamara Wilson infuse the material with every inch of their significant talent and take the audience with them every tragic step of the way. The chorus, too, also get a rare chance to shine in brilliantly conceived scenes of dark satire, horror and suffering that are every bit as moving as the soaring arias.

“It’s simply one of the best productions…”

It’s simply one of the best productions I have had the pleasure of attending at the ENO and I urge you to go and experience it for yourself. It’s a real operatic treat for London and must not be missed.

The Force of Destiny by Verdi / English National Opera

Book tickets and check listings for upcoming ENO events at the London Coliseum now, just head to