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Damon Albarn's Doctor Marks ENO Olympic Fest

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Doctor Dee, the latest theatrical offering from Blur and Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn, will receive its London premiere next summer as part of the London 2012 Festival to mark the capital’s hosting of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The production - which is directed by award-winning theatre director Rufus Norris (whose premiere of controversial verbatim musical London Road has just extended at the National) and will be seen first this summer at Manchester International Festival, running there from 1 to 9 July 2011 – provides the 2011/12 season finale for English National Opera. It opens at the London Coliseum on 25 June 2012.

In the age before science and magic parted company, Doctor John Dee was the ultimate Renaissance Man: astrologer, alchemist, mathematician and spy, he coined the term ‘British Empire’ and equipped the Elizabethan Court with the knowledge to make it manifest. The inspiration for both Christopher Marlowe’s Faust and Shakespeare’s Prospero, Dee studied the Heavens, he spoke with Archangels, and he paid a bitter personal price.

Doctor Dee continues a series of successful works for Damon Albarn with Manchester International Festival, including his 2009 collaboration with Punchdrunk, It Felt Like a Kiss, and his 2007 piece Monkey: Journey to the West, which subsequently transferred to the Royal Opera House and The O2 in London, as well as international engagements.

In other new theatrical crossovers in the new ENO season, after the success of War Horse in the West End and on Broadway, director Tom Morris, former National Theatre associate director and current joint artistic director of Bristol Old Vic, will make his ENO debut with the London premiere of John AdamsThe Death of Klinghoffer, a poetic retelling of the 1985 Achille Lauro cruise ship hijacking, which was a flashpoint in the Middle East conflict between Israel and Palestine. It opens at the London Coliseum on 25 February 2012.

ENO’s newly announced season will include operas by two other living composers, both German, Detlev Glanert’s Caligula and Wolfgang Rihm’s Jakob Lenz. And, following the success of its annual co-productions with the Young Vic, ENO is forging a new artistic partnership with another leading London subsidised theatre, Hampstead Theatre, to mount Jakob Lenz there in a production directed by Sam Brown opening on 17 April 2012.

At the London Coliseum, there will also be new opera productions of The Marriage of Figaro, Eugene Onegin, The Tales of Hoffmann, The Flying Dutchman, Billy Budd and Cast and Pollux (ENO’s first-ever Rameau staging), as well as popular revivals of Jonathan Miller’s The Elixir of Love, Anthony Minghella’s Madam Butterfly, David McVicar’s Der Rosenkavalier and Catherine Malfitano’s Tosca.


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