Marking their greatest number of new productions for five years, the English National Opera’s 2019/20 season is choked full of operatic drama that is sure to delight fans of all ages.
For the first time ever, the season will include four productions that each present different versions of the same story: the Orpheus myth. Directed by four different directors from radically different theatrical disciplines, these four new productions will span 230 years of drama, all interpreted differently by their respective creative teams, but all performed within the same set.
At its heart, the ENO’s mission is to create new experiences with opera that inspire, nurture creativity and make a difference. By working with a wide range of artists and art forms to deliver different aspects of the repertoire, the ENO is committed to the future of the operatic form.
With tickets for the full season on sale now, we round up all the ENO’s productions happening in this thrilling new season and explore what audiences can expect at London Coliseum from October.
Orpheus and Eurydice by Christoph Gluck
1 Oct – 19 Nov 2019
Gluck’s elegant account of the Orpheus myth is a milestone of eighteenth-century opera. Willing to go to any lengths to be reunited with his one true love, the gods agree to let the grief-stricken Orpheus rescue his wife Eurydice from the underworld. But there’s a catch. To be together again, Orpheus can’t look back at Eurydice, or she will be lost to him forever. Gluck’s score is filled with sublime melody and richly colourful orchestral writing from Orpheus’s anguished outbursts at Eurydice’s death, through to the exquisite classical beauty of the Dance of the Blessed Spirits. Find tickets here.
Orpheus in the Underworld by Jacques Offenbach
05 Oct – 28 Nov 2019
Director Emma Rice makes her ENO debut in a glitzy production that showcases her talents for theatrical spectacle and humour. Orpheus in the Underworld transports us to a hedonistic, party-filled Underworld. Eurydice is fooled into taking Pluto, ruler of the Underworld, as her lover after her new marriage to Orpheus is broken through tragedy. Offenbach’s riotous all-singing all-dancing operetta score features the popular Can-can. Find tickets here.
The Mask of Orpheus by Harrison Birtwistle
18 Oct – 13 Nov 2019
Harrison Birtwistle’s iconic masterpiece retells the Orpheus myth in a non-linear narrative, as the opera’s leading characters appear in three distinct guises. ENO Artistic Director Daniel Kramer’s staging will be the first in London since its premiere at the London Coliseum over 30 years ago. He is joined by conductor and ENO Music Director Martyn Brabbins, following their collaborations on War Requiem and Jack the Ripper: The Women of Whitechapel. Find tickets here.
The Mikado by Gilbert and Sullivan
28 Oct – 30 Nov 2019
Gilbert & Sullivan’s topsy-turvy story focuses on the unfolding love between Nanki-Poo and Yum-Yum and the absurdity of laws and law-makers. Packed full of memorable melodies, the most celebrated moment of all is the Lord High Executioner Ko-Ko’s ‘little list’ song, which is always a topical highlight of Jonathan Miller’s dazzlingly inventive production. Find tickets here.
Orphée by Philip Glass
15 Nov – 29 Nov 2019
Following Satyagraha and the Olivier Award-winning Akhnaten, ENO’s association with Philip Glass continues with a new production of Orphée. Based on Jean Cocteau’s 1950 film, Glass’s opera is a parable about the dangers of self-obsession. Director Netia Jones makes her ENO debut. Her staging combines live action and projection, including fragments of Cocteau’s celebrated film. British conductor Geoffrey Paterson makes his ENO debut. Find tickets here.
Carmen by Georges Bizet
29 Jan – 27 Feb 2020
Carmen is a searing depiction of a woman who craves love, but creates obsession and jealousy. One of the most popular operas ever written, Bizet’s score is bursting with passionate melodies and includes such famous numbers as the Habanera, Toreador’s Song and Flower Song. Calixto Bieito’s production explores the complex relationships between the sexes at the tail-end of Franco’s regime in the 1970s. Find tickets here.
Luisa Miller by Giuseppe Verdi
12 Feb – 06 Mar 2020
Verdi’s Luisa Miller is a complex web of love, intrigue and oppressive familial relationships, centred on the doomed love between Luisa and Rodolfo. From opposing sides of the class divide Luisa and Rodolfo are united by their search for happiness. When Rodolfo’s father arranges for his son to make a politically beneficial marriage, their dreams of being together begin to unravel with ultimately tragic consequences.
Revealing the composer’s innate gift for beautifully fashioned lyrical lines and sensitive orchestration, Luisa Miller (1849) points the way to the great flowering of Verdi’s art in the 1850s, with works such as La traviata and Rigoletto, both staged recently at ENO. This contemporary production is directed by Barbora Horáková Joly, winner in the Newcomer category at the 2018 International Opera Awards. Find tickets here.
Madam Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini
26 Feb – 17 Apr 2020
Anthony Minghella’s Olivier Award-winning production returns to the London Coliseum. In Puccini‘s story of unrequited love, Cio-Cio San, a young Japanese girl, falls in love and marries American naval officer Pinkerton. He goes back to the US before the birth of their son leaving Cio-Cio San to await his return. Conducting this revival is ENO Music Director Martyn Brabbins. Find tickets here.
The Marriage of Figaro by Wolfgang Mozart
14 Mar – 18 Apr 2020
Mozart’s comedy is a whirlwind of mistaken identities and twists and turns, taking place on a single crazy day – the wedding day of Figaro and Susanna. From the first notes of the bustling Overture, Mozart’s psychologically complex story portrays the women as wiser, shrewder and more civilised than the men. One of the most gifted directors of his generation, Joe Hill-Gibbins makes his main stage debut at ENO alongside conductor Kevin John Edusei. Find tickets here.
Rusalka by Antonín Dvořák
28 Mar – 15 Apr 2020
Dvořák’s best-loved opera, Rusalka is inspired by myths and folktales about a water-nymph that chooses to become human to win her Prince. The opera displays Dvořák’s exceptional gift for melody and orchestration and features the beautiful aria Song to the Moon. This new production is directed by Tatjana Gürbaca (Opernwelt Director of the Year 2013) and conducted by Antony Hermus. Both are making their ENO debuts. Find tickets here.
The 2019/20 season runs from 1 October 2019 – 15 April 2020.