Starting as we mean to go on…

February 7, 2008

I am proud to announce that we have received more Olivier Award nominations – two in the Best New Opera Production category for The Turn of the Screw and Agrippina, and one in the Outstanding Achievement in Opera category for David McVicar for his productions of The Turn of the Screw and Agrippina.  My congratulations and thanks to everyone involved in these productions.  What a great start to the new year!

January is always a curious time at ENO – after a period without any opera performances the pressure of the curtain going up on a nightly basis somewhat dims. However, February arrives and that all changes – with two first nights within the past week, and another opening in two weeks’ time! Judith Howarth is a wonderful Butterfly. And Mikado has got off to a cracking start. David Alden is back for a new production of Lucia di Lammermoor… check out our latest trailer for his new production with a window into some of the fantastic work being done behind the scenes in the rehearsal room.

Lucia trailer (click on image to see trailer)

Crucially, as the new year gets underway, bedding down plans for the 8/9 season suddenly becomes more immediate and my first meeting about the April press conference announcing our new season happened this week with the marketing and press team. We’ve got some fabulous work to look forward to.

For some people in the Company, Christmas was a busy time. Losing Jude Kelly from our Merry Widow before Christmas was a blow… and we had to make a quick decision to go with a new production by John Copley. Consequently, John had to conceive a whole production in the space of 6 weeks!

Our first sitzprobe (a seated rehearsal of cast and orchestra) for Lucia di Lammermoor rehearsals has happened – sitzprobes are the first time we hear the singers with orchestra and the first signs of how the musical values are shaping up. It’s hard to think that this year marks tenor Barry Banks’ 20th year with the company. We were both at music college together and how delighted I am to see Barry’s international career continue to flourish with his successes at the Met and La Scala, what a wonderful Edgardo we have.

Our season at the Young Vic is approaching and we have just signed off on the art work for the posters… more on this progress later. The creative teams’ model showing for Lost Highway was fascinating – already we can see how evocative this staging will be. Olga Neuwirth describes her music ‘as a riddle’ and the bizarre story inspired by David Lynch will no doubt spark discussion… Lynch himself is quoted as saying of Lost Highway “things happen in this film that are not – and should not be – easily explained” (Rolling Stone magazine). For a taste of the ENO Lost Highway experience, have a look at the video teaser created by Lost Highway video designer Philip Bussmann.

Lost Highway teaser (click on image to see video).

That’s certainly the description for Punchdrunk’s The Masque Of The Red Death currently running at the BAC. If a disturbing and unique theatrical experience is something you’re looking for – and you can’t wait for our Lost Highway, head out to Battersea for a breathtaking piece of theatre.

On a proud note, we have won the South Bank Show Award for Opera with David McVicar’s The Turn of the Screw. Also, as we look towards the end of the financial year, the current strong box office means we have reached our box office target for the 2007/8 financial year with 8 weeks of our spring season still to go!

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