ENO Reopens Coliseum, Nixon in China CancelledDate: 20 February 2004
The London Coliseum (pictured), home of the English National Opera (ENO), reopens tomorrow night (21 February) after a £41 million restoration, though not with a revival of Nixon in China as planned (See News, 14 Oct 2003). The entire run of that opera has had to be cancelled. Tomorrow’s invitation-only event, will celebrate the building’s reopening with a programme of music, ahead of the new season opener production, The Rhinegold, which will now have its first performance on 27 February 2004.
The venue, which has been closed since last summer, was originally due to re-open on 7 February but an initial fortnight’s postponement was announced last month (See News, 13 Jan 2004).
A press statement explaining the subsequent need to cancel the season’s first production said: “ENO had expected to regain full control of the theatre and all its stage systems in time to keep to the revised schedule. However, the escalation of the delayed handover and subsequent knock-on effect has resulted in the regrettable outcome that all performances of Nixon in China have had to be cancelled…. It is ENO’s first commitment that the first production of the season should reflect the company’s high artistic standards and meet its audiences’ equally high expectations.”
The new season opener is ENO’s first new English production of The Rhinegold for over 30 years. It’s directed by Phyllida Lloyd and conducted by Paul Daniels. Wagner’s epic Ring cycle will continues with The Valkyrie in May, Siegfried in November and Twilight of the Gods in spring 2005.
Dubbed a "year of consolidation", 2004 at the Coliseum will also see revivals of many of ENO's recent acclaimed productions – including Tosca, The Magic Flute, Carmen, Ernani, Falstaff, Semele as well as Calixto Bieto's highly controversial 2001 production of Don Giovanni and a second return for Robert Carsen's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, set to Britten's score with choreography by Matthew Bourne - as well as productions of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado.
During the restoration, which has created new seating and 40% extra public space (See Features, 16 Feb 2004), ENO has been performing at the Barbican Centre. The company’s first season back at its home venue also marks the Coliseum's centenary year.
- by Terri Paddock