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ENO launches 2009/10 season

English National Opera have announced their 2009/10 season, with new productions dominating: 12 compared with just three revivals. Of the new productions, nine are completely new, with three collaborations with overseas houses.

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Twentieth Century opera enthusiasts are well served. Ligeti’s La Grande Macabre opens the season in September, followed by a revival of David McVicar’s The Turn of the Screw, a double-bill of Duke Bluebeard’s Castle and The Rite of Spring, Philip Glass’ Satyagraha, Katya Kabanova and a Young Vic outing for Hans Werner Henze’s Elegy for Young Lovers.

Speaking at the company’s press conference, Artistic Director John Bury described this line-up as “the backbone of the season.” Those looking for more traditional fare won’t be disappointed, with new productions of Turandot, a staging of Handel’s Messiah, David Alden’s Lucia di Lammermoor, Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love, an all-new Tosca, Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers and Idomeneo receiving its first Coliseum performances since 1962.

Earlier seasons’ emphasis on film directors new to opera is replaced with a line-up of theatre directors, some at the house for the first time. Golden boy Rupert Goold directs his debut opera, with Turandot, while old hands Deborah Warner (Messiah) and Katie Mitchell (Idomeneo) return. Jonathan Miller’s age-old Rigoletto is back yet again but he has a new Elixir borrowed from New York City Opera. Following this season’s Riders to the Sea, Fiona Shaw is back for the Henze.

There are tie-ins with a number of “maverick” theatre groups: Catalan company La Fura dels Baus for the Ligeti (recently opened in Brussels), Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre who will provide the dance half of the Bluebeard/Rite evening, Improbable who return with Satyagraha and then, at the end of the season, a site-specific new commission by Punchdrunk.

Further details of the first half of the season (up to December 2009) can be seen at www.eno.org and a more detailed feature will appear on whatsonstage.com/opera in due course.

- Simon Thomas


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