Iolanthe, The Handmaid's Tale, More in English National Opera's 2023-24 Season | Playbill

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Classic Arts News Iolanthe, The Handmaid's Tale, More in English National Opera's 2023-24 Season

The season will include performances of nine operas at the London Coliseum.

English National Opera

English National Opera has revealed its 2023-2024 season, comprising nine operas, all presented in English, at the London Coliseum.

The season will open September 21 with a revival of David Alden's production of Benjamin Britten's Peter Grimes. Conducted by ENO music director Martyn Brabbins, the production will star Gwyn Hughes Jones as the troubled fisherman, suspected by the town of killing his apprentice. Elizabeth Llewellyn plays Ellen Orford, the woman Grimes is trying to impress, and Simon Bailey plays Grimes' friend and confidant Balstrode.

In October, ENO will revive Cal McCrystal's 2018 production of Gilbert and Sullivan's Iolanthe, starring Samantha Price as the titular banished fairy. Catherine Wyn-Rogers and John Savournin play the Queen of the Fairies and the Lord Chancellor, and when the latter recklessly insults the former a battle ensues between the Fairies and the House of Lords.

Peter Konwitschny's pared-down production of Verdi's La Traviata returns to ENO October 23. The production, which first appeared at ENO in 2013, makes cuts to the opera, bringing it down to an hour and 50 minutes, with no intermission. Richard Farnes will conduct the revival, which will star Nicole Chevalier as Violetta, Jose Simerilla Romero as Alfredo, and Roland Wood as Giorgio Germont.

7 Deaths of Maria Callas makes its UK premiere November 3. The multimedia work by Marina Abramović features seven death scenes on film, while seven singers perform arias associated with Callas. In addition to arias by Bellini, Donizetti, Puccini, and Verdi, the work also includes new music arranged by Marko Nikodijević.

Following its acclaimed premiere in 2022, Annilese Miskimmon's production of Paul Ruders' The Handmaid's Tale returns to ENO in February 2024. Ruders' 1998 opera, based on the novel by Margaret Atwood, first appeared at ENO in 2003. The performances in 2024 will be conducted by Joana Carneiro, and star mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey.

Jonathan Miller's production of Rossini's The Barber of Seville will be revived February 12, conducted by Roderick Cox, and starring Charles Rice as the titular barber Figaro, whose comic antics aid Count Almaviva, played by Innocent Masuku, in marrying Rosina, played by Anna Devin, against the wishes of her guardian Doctor Bartolo, played by Simon Bailey.

Simon McBurney's staging of The Magic Flute, which will soon have its Met premiere, will return to ENO February 28, starring Norman Reinhardt, David Stout, Soraya Maf, Rainelle Krause, and John Relyea, and conducted by Erina Yashima.

In March, ENO will revive David Alden's production of Janáček’s Jenůfa. The harrowing opera about a woman who is secretly pregnant out of wedlock, and a stepmother who will go to unspeakable lengths to preserve the family's reputation, will be conducted by Keri-Lynn Wilson, and star Jennifer Davis, Susan Bullock, Richard Trey Smagur, and John Findon.

The season will conclude March 21-23 with a semi-staged concert of Bartok's Duke Bluebeard's Castle, starring Natalya Romaniw and John Relyea. The two-hander opera is based on the folktale of the serial widower who brings his newest wife home to his castle, but refuses to allow her to open seven doors within it.

The announcement of the new season comes at a time of transition for the company, as recent changes to public funding have thrown the company's future into uncertain territory.

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