English National Opera is offering tickets for just £20 for the UK premiere of Kaija Saariaho's L'Amour de loin (Love from Afar) in July. With top price seats normally costing around £80, it's a bargain well worth snapping up.
The production is by renowned new wave circus director Daniele Finzi Pasca, the director of Cirque du Soleil's Corteo. The opera, described by the New York Times as the 'Best New Work of 2000', is conducted by ENO Music Director Edward Gardner.
For the first time ever ENO is offering all tickets for £20 throughout the theatre (with a limited number of “premium” seats at £50) , presenting audiences with the opportunity to engage with a transfixing blend of physical theatre, acrobatics and rich sensual music.
Daniele Finzi Pasca’s work combines physical theatre, clowning and acrobatics. In 1983 he created Teatro Sunil in Switzerland. His work has been at the forefront of the new circus acrobatic art form and has led him to create productions that have been presented around the world including his most recent work Nebbia.
L'Amour de Loin includes six acrobats - two per singer - Antoine Marc, Ted Sikstrom, Sara Lundstedt, Lilli Mühleisen, Tamzen Moulding and Phillipa Anderson who act out of the story. Written for three principal roles taken by Roderick Williams (Jaufre Rudel), Joan Rodgers (Clemence), and Faith Sherman (The Pilgrim), Saariaho's score calls for a large orchestra, electronics and off-stage Chorus.
The tragic story of L'Amour de loin focuses on a medieval French prince and a travelling pilgrim from the East. The Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho (b.1952) based her opera on the life and song texts La Vida breve by Jaufré Rudel, a French prince and troubadour of the 12th century. The legend tells of a dream of ideal love focused on an unattainable object of desire that becomes an obsession and whether or not such a love is best preserved from afar as opposed to its eventual realisation. The libretto is by Lebanese-born writer Amin Maalouf.
There are just four performances on 3,7,9 and 11 July. Tickets are available on 0871 911 0200 or online at www.eno.org
- Simon Thomas