NEW! Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich Announces New Chief Conductor

05/06/2017

The Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich have announced that they have appointed Paavo Järvi as their new Chief Conductor and Artistic Director as from the start of the 2019/2020 season.

LAYOUTFOTOS; BITTE FEINDATEN ANFORDERN Probe der deutschen Kammerphilharmonie Bremen  mit Paavo Järvi

Paavo Järvi © Julia Baier

Järvi replaces the outgoing Lionel Bringuier. Next January Järvi brings his Estonian Festival Orchestra to Zurich; he is not however scheduled to conduct the Tonhalle Orchestra next season, but in the season 2018/2019 he is expected to be in Zurich for three weeks.

There was only one question at the hastily convened press conference, at which the contract was actually signed. It came from one of the music critics at the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Peter Hagmann. He asked what percentage of time Järvi would commit to the Tonhalle and whether he would come to live in the city, given all his other musical commitments. Järvi is Chief Conductor of the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo, Founder of the Parnu Music Festival in Estonia (his country of origin), Principal of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and a regular guest conductor with the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Philharmonia in London and the Dresdner Staatskapelle. He has committed to devote 9 weeks to the Tonhalle in his first season, and 14 weeks thereafter, which apparently is par for the course. Järvi said the question was a good one, but was then non-committal, promising simply to give “everything he has” to the orchestra. These are days when there are not many top-flight Big Name conductors around and they can afford to spread their favours thinly.

Zurich music-lovers can however now look forward to a musical diet that should include Bruckner, Shostakovich, Nielsen and Sibelius, all composers who were neglected under the reigns of David Zinman and Lionel Bringuier.

Järvi told the gathering that he cannot wait to make music together with the orchestra. He last conducted them in a performance which included Schumann’s Third Symphony, which was a highlight for him, and he thought, as he left the stage, how good it would be if he could return on a more permanent basis. Järvi commented that he is not, of course, new to the musical scene and has been watching the comings and goings on the musical chairs for some while; he has always kept an eye on the Tonhalle and jumped at the chance of the top job. Ilona Schmiel, the Intendantin of the Orchestra, whom Järvi has known well for some time and whom he described as both dynamic and talented, told us that there were originally 70 names on the list of possible contenders, but it was soon whittled down – with the assistance of some senior members of the orchestra (this is not the Berlin Philharmonic where all players have a say and actually take the decision) and with someone from the London Symphony Orchestra management – to a second round of candidates, and then – surprisingly quickly – they were left with just one.

Järvi, who has immense charm and charisma, speaking in Baltic-intoned English, told us that there are great orchestras with miserable concert halls, miserable orchestras with great halls; but the Tonhalle is fortunate to be a great hall and a great orchestra. Now it has a great Chief Conductor to boot.

John Rhodes

NEW! THE GREAT CANADIAN ARTISTS: AN INTERVIEW WITH VIOLINIST JAMES EHNES

31/05/2017

James Ehnes in conversation with Geoffrey Newman

There are few more celebrated musicians in the world right now than Manitoba-born violinist James Ehnes; and few listeners have failed to succumb to his tonal luster, silken lyrical lines and insightful virtuosity. After initial training with Francis Chaplin, the violinist made his solo debut at age 13 with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, followed by studies with Sally Thomas at Meadowmount and Juilliard (1993-97). Ehnes won the Peter Mennin Prize upon his Juilliard graduation, and subsequently received the first-ever Ivan Galamian Memorial Award and an Avery Fisher Career Grant, in addition to the highest Canadian honours. A turning point in Ehnes’ recording career came in 2006-2007 when his ‘homegrown’ recording of the Barber, Korngold and Walton concertos with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (under Bramwell Tovey) won both Juno and Grammy awards. This was followed by the widely-praised Onyx recording of the Elgar Violin Concerto with Sir Andrew Davis.

James Ehnes

James Ehnes © Benjamin Ealovega

The past decade has seen a remarkable number of recordings: the Complete Works for Violin of both Bartók and Prokofiev for Chandos, and the Tchaikovsky, Khachaturian, Shostakovich and Britten concertos, plus a number of violin sonatas and the Paganini Caprices for Onyx. The Beethoven Violin Concerto with conductor Andrew Manze is forthcoming. Besides the many duo recordings with long-time partner Andrew Armstrong, new releases come from the Seattle Chamber Music Society and the Ehnes Quartet, bringing the total to almost 50 recordings as he approaches his 41st year. On the occasion of the 2017 Vancouver Symphony Spring Festival (when this interview took place), the adventures continued: Ehnes appeared as conductor and violinist in one concert and the violist in the Walton Viola Concerto in another. With such a bewildering array of talents and accomplishments, one can hardly run out of things to talk about! In May 2017, Ehnes was named the ‘Instrumentalist of the Year’ by the Royal Philharmonic Society. He was awarded the Order of Canada in 2010.

GN: Let’s start with the conducting. How did it all begin?

JE: I studied conducting in my school days at Juilliard, but my first opportunity to conduct a professional orchestra came almost by accident. About 15 years ago, I was doing a tour with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and one presenter had a very strange request for repertoire: they wanted the first half of the concert to feature the Webern string quartet pieces played by a string orchestra to go with a second half of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. I was to give the concert as a play/direct, but it became abundantly clear at the first rehearsal that we would need twice the allotted time to prepare the Webern and, even then, we would need a conductor. So that was me, and that’s how I first conducted. I’ve done a couple of projects with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, and also in Australia and New Zealand. And I am opening the 2017 Vancouver Symphony Spring Festival with a full concert of English string works.

GN: What’s your approach to the works you are directing at the VSO Festival?

JE: There are a few pieces that I’m directing from the violin, but there are others that really cannot come off without formal conducting. It’s a challenge to lead Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro from the first violin in the string quartet, but I’ve done it before – so I know that it can be done. It’s not easy work and probably shouldn’t be attempted with other than a first-class ensemble: everyone must be really aware of how it all fits together. On the other hand, with something like the Vaughan Williams Tallis Fantasia, this is not possible: one must fully conduct. I like the play/direct programs and I think they can be good for an orchestra because the musicians are forced to take on a more active role. As the rehearsal process goes along, you get to know different people’s tendencies and who the natural leaders are, and you eventually find a dynamic that works. Obviously, you must work closely with the orchestra’s concertmaster, and it is very rewarding if you have played with them before. I did the Elgar in Melbourne recently, and it was terrific to work with Dale Barltrop (the VSO’s former concertmaster) who is a strong leader: he led the violins in the orchestra while I played first violin in the quartet.

GN: Do you want to move to larger works?

JE: I would enjoy conducting pieces with winds or percussion, but I haven’t done that much of it yet. I’ve mainly concentrated on string pieces like the Tchaikovsky and Dvořák Serenades and the Tallis Fantasia. It’s probably natural for someone who doesn’t conduct that much to do pieces involving their own instrument: I know what it speaks about and what I want to achieve.

GN: So, on to the viola. You have been playing that for some time now?

JE: It actually started early in my association with Seattle Chamber Music Society. Around 1996-1997, Artistic Director Toby Sacks said she needed someone to play second viola in the Brahms F-major String Quintet. I was asked if I played the viola, to which I innocently replied, ‘I’ve never really tried: I don’t have a viola’. It turned out that I really enjoyed it; it was with a wonderful group of friends and Marcus Thompson, the first viola, was absolutely inspiring to sit beside. So I got to love playing the instrument, though I didn’t do much of it in the first few years. As my career progressed, I got more opportunities to set my own schedule – the best part of building a career! – and this gave me more chances to play. A breakthrough was in May 2004, when I played the viola in a Chandos recording of Hummel’s Potpourri as part of an all-Hummel CD. It was a really fun project, a beautiful piece, and that brought some attention to the fact that I did play the instrument. That was a long time ago, yet people invariably think of you as they have experienced you. I played viola in this past Winter Festival in Seattle, yet there were still many people who came up to me and said, ‘So you do play the viola’. They’ve never seen it, so it was new.

GN: Do you think that the viola is more difficult to play than the violin in terms of getting the sound you want?

JE: No, it’s just different and has different challenges. I admit that there’s something indulgent about playing the viola: there’s a depth and warmth of sound that surrounds you immediately. But for me the whole appeal is the repertoire: the Bartók and Walton concertos, Berlioz’s Harold in Italy and countless chamber pieces. And that music was written for the instrument – you can’t separate the music from the sound of the instrument. For Chandos, I have recorded the Bartók, the Berlioz with Sir Andrew Davis two years ago, and am recording the Walton in a few months with Ed Gardner and BBC Symphony. One thing that has always intrigued me is that some players that can switch back and forth between the violin and viola without a lot of trouble, but others can’t. It may have a lot to do with the artist’s physical build, but the fact remains that one can often think of violinists who play the viola, but not the other way round.

GN: You have now capped your long association with the Seattle Chamber Music Society by becoming its Artistic Director.

JE: Yes, everything started from when Toby Sacks first contacted me for the festival in the summer of 1995. I came for a week, and I haven’t missed a summer since. When she was thinking of winding down her time as Director, she appointed me the Associate Director, making for a very smooth transition when I took over 2011. She was a great inspiration, and regretfully died in 2013. Of course, it’s a much more challenging role: all I used to have to think about was just playing my pieces; now I have to make the big decisions. This mainly involves planning two festivals: a two-week festival in January and then a four-week summer festival in July. But there are other events throughout the year and a lot of outreach work, and we sponsor a young artist’s competition. We have a wonderful staff that oversees the outreach activities, so my main job is preparing for the two festivals. The festivals are really a full-time thing since I organize everything and also play in them. And when I’m performing in one, I’m thinking about the design of the next. Then, there’s reaching out to musicians who I’d like to come and play, designing programs, the whole thing… I think it’s a lot of fun – this organization has been a big part of my life. Thanks to many years of devoted work by Toby, we have a very accepting audience that trusts our performances to be first-class and the music to be worth hearing. It doesn’t mean that they will like every work we present, but my goal is having them always learn something from what they hear, and be glad to be familiar with it.

GN: You also formed the Ehnes Quartet in 2011, and have already made some recordings. How was the ensemble originally inspired?

JE: I have known my colleagues, violinist Amy Schwartz Moretti, violist Richard O’Neill and cellist Edward Arron, for a very long time: I was actually in a quartet with Edward in my Juilliard days. Just like playing the viola, my biggest motivation for the ensemble was repertoire – to be able to explore the vast quartet literature with three of my closest friends. Playing in a string quartet is actually quite a different experience than the kind of chamber music I have previously done. It seems one can put together a piano quintet or a piano trio and have a rewarding outcome even when the ensemble is formed very quickly. That’s not the case with a string quartet: there’s an incredible perfection and beauty to string quartet writing, but also an inherent awkwardness to it. Musicians always joke that putting three or five people together is just easier than the number ‘4’, and I know that one can put together a respectable performance of a Beethoven trio or the string quintet in half the time that’s needed for one of his quartets. Now why is that? A good part of it is that the voice leading is different and, of course, the tonal blend is unique. The string quartet has to be thicker than a string trio, which has to be clean and benefits from the bareness of the writing, while the string quintet has strength in numbers. The string quartet lies in the middle – a wonderfully inspiring medium but an elusive one to get right.

We’ve now recorded a variety of things: the Shostakovich 7 and 8, the Barber Quartet, and our most recent recording – combining the Sibelius and Schubert’s ‘Death and the Maiden’ – came out about a year ago. Before we put the group together, I worried that I wouldn’t ever really know the Bartók or Beethoven quartets. I knew them only as a listener, but not from the inside.

GN: I think it is extraordinary that you could bring the quartet to a recording level so quickly.

JE: Well, I suppose that nobody’s forcing us to make a recording, so we only make a recording when we feel that we have actually achieved something special. It was very gratifying to get some nice reviews, but that was probably incidental to our own awareness of musical development. Perhaps this reflects one upside to the recording business these days: we can do pieces that are important to us and that we really want to do. (The same goes for my own recordings.)  As a general rule, I think that recent recordings which are made properly and released by reputable companies are usually better reflections of what the artists care about and what they want to say. That wasn’t always the case in the era when recording was more automatic. For example, some of the early concerto releases were outright ‘duds’ because they were born to be duds: the violinist had never played the piece before, had never met the conductor, and the maestro had never directed the orchestra either.

GN: You have recorded a vast repertoire for both Chandos and Onyx.  Do you have long term contracts with both?

JE: My very first recording experience was with Telarc in 1995, and I signed a long-term exclusive contract. Unfortunately, that was right around the time when the entire business was changing, and I ended up making only that single CD. So I simply decided to not to sign any more long-term contracts. I now sign only recording-to-recording contracts: this allows me to be involved with a number of companies on the best of terms. For example, I’m doing the Walton Viola Concerto in June with Chandos, but I have other plans with Onyx. Both companies are complementary: Onyx is much more artist-driven while Chandos is more repertoire-driven. I love working with both of them, and I’ve had great experiences. For Chandos, I was able to record all of the Bartók violin pieces (four CDs) – more Bartók than most would ever think he wrote for the violin – and a complete Prokofiev too. Projects like those are dreams come true, and they could only happen with a label like Chandos that is repertoire-driven. The way they’ve documented these catalogues is such a gift to the musical community.

GN: And what about Onyx?

JE: Onyx focusses much more on the artist and on special collaborations involving more mainline repertoire. For example, my early Elgar concerto recording was a special ‘live’ collaboration with Sir Andrew Davis. I have a great relationship with Chandos, but it would be difficult to come to them and ask if I could record the Beethoven and Mendelssohn concertos, since their aim is to expand repertoire. Just like in an earlier era when everyone awaited the interpretations of the great concertos by the greatest current soloists, Onyx is interested in satisfying the music lovers who really cherish particular artists and probably wish to own most of their recordings. So I get to record the core concerto repertoire with them; Andrew Armstrong and I have done several discs of violin sonatas as well. Of course, catalogues are much heavier now, and I often read reviews of such releases that suggest, ‘Who needs this? There are 100 recordings already!’ But when a violinist makes a recording of the Tchaikovsky concerto, that’s not only for a reviewer from Gramophone to add to their collection of 100 other recordings, it’s also for those average concertgoers who say, ‘I want that because the work is great and I adore the soloist’. That’s why CD sales at concerts are so high: people want an enduring artefact of the artist they just saw. Onyx certainly issues high-class releases that will interest the discerning listener, but they want to hit the other markets strongly too.

GN: Yet you would be unhappy if all you could record was the standard repertoire and that was it?

JE: Absolutely – and it is wonderful that we can still maintain a focus on both the mainline and more obscure. I would not be happy without the sense of discovery offered by Chandos. For example, I recorded the reconstructed Janáček Violin Concerto recently. When you look at the printed editions of this long-forgotten score, they are exceptionally clean, but if you go back to the original sketches, they are almost undecipherable. To be Janáček’s copyist must have been the worst job in the world. It makes even late Beethoven scores look really clean and legible!

GN: One thing for sure is that you have made an unprecedented number of recordings over the past decade. You are already reaching 50 releases. Can you give some insight into how you have done this?

JE: True, there are years where I put out so many CDs that people on the business side of things say, ‘That’s not smart – your own releases are cannibalizing each other, and we’re not able to focus attention on each new release’. But I suppose the main factor is that I take advantage of new recording opportunities when they arise, and many can come together. Even when I recorded the Elgar concerto back in 2007 for Onyx, I was doing a run of eight performances with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Sir Andrew Davis, and the recording opportunity suddenly arose. I thought, ‘This is the time that it has to happen. I’m never in my life going to have better opportunity’. It was an interesting experience: it had to be a live recording, and it was also the year that the Festival Hall was closed, and the Queen Elizabeth Hall had to be used. We drew on two of the concerts at the smaller venue, just in case extraneous noises intervened.

Another example is when Chandos got in touch, saying, ‘We’re in the middle of an ongoing Berlioz project with Andrew Davis. Do you want to do Harold in Italy?’ The project was going to happen with me or without me, and if I had said that it doesn’t work for my discography and this and that…then how many future chances would I have to record this wonderful viola piece? For me, it’s very much about seizing the opportunity when it’s there. Even my next big release – the Beethoven concerto with Andrew Manze and the Liverpool Philharmonic – just seemed to happen in the right way. I was the artist-in-residence with the Liverpool Philharmonic this past season, and the conductor has a really special relationship with the orchestra too. Circumstances made me to think ‘now’s the time to do it’. People asked me if I had consciously waited until I was 40 to record the Beethoven, but that really had nothing to do with it. It’s nice to have a certain amount of control over your career, but there’s a lot that happens when it happens.

GN: It is interesting that you mention the Elgar recording. That effort, plus the recording of the Walton, Barber and Korngold concertos with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra under Bramwell Tovey – which won Grammy and Juno awards – really seemed to move your career forward.

JE: True, both recordings garnered a great deal of international attention, and it was great that Onyx perpetuated the life of the Vancouver Symphony CD. It was originally a CBC recording and was a very special Canadian collaboration for me. Winning the Grammy was so unusual and unexpected.

GN: Do you ever have the temptation to re-record some of your earlier CDs?

JE: I did record the Paganini Caprices again. They were originally done back in 1995 when I was 19. I liked that recording, but I wanted to do it differently now. I think of each recording as a unique point-in-time effort, but I have also learned from following my own favorite musicians that second attempts are not always improvements – at least from the perspective of the listener. When I re-recorded the Caprices, I definitely thought they were better than my first effort, though there are still those who might not agree. The only approach to recording is to aim for something that is closest to your ideals at the given moment. I think of my old recordings as old photographs of myself. I know who I was, I don’t dislike the pictures, but I’m not necessarily the same person now.

james-ehnes-4973---5x7

James Ehnes © Benjamin Ealovega

GN: We are all looking forward to your Beethoven recording, yet I cannot help but think what it would be like to be collaborating with such a famous, path-breaking period violinist as Andrew Manze. Did he ever gently suggest any period slides or ornaments to you?

JE: No, not at all: Manze has gone beyond his earlier specialization now, and is a very fine and perceptive conductor of later music. I love working with him. His just-released Vaughan Williams CD with the Liverpool Philharmonic is really amazing,

GN: But the reality is that you have never been attracted much to authentic style, selective vibrato and so on in performing Baroque composers, Mozart and the early romantics?

JE: The idea of authenticity can mean so many different things. It’s also a funny term: for example, do you mean authenticity for the listener or the performer? I certainly share one thing in common with every other violinist who plays Mozart, which is that none of us have ever met Mozart and none of us have a definitive idea what performances of his music sounded like. We know what’s on the page of a given edition of the score, and it all comes down to what we think that means. But then, there’s personal taste, what style you have grown up with, whether you think the music really sounds better with little or a lot of vibrato, etc. It’s undeniable that if Andrew Manze and I played the same Handel sonata, it would barely sound like the same piece. Nonetheless, I would like to think that what we’re trying to say comes from the same place since we share the fundamental ideals of musical clarity and artistic integrity. We’re both trying to express ‘authenticity of feeling’ in our own terms.

GN: You seem to have an amazing ability to pick up new repertoire quickly. Is that true?

JE: The amount of time that it takes to learn a piece is very much related to all the other activities going on at the time. At this stage of my career, there are plenty of things going on, so I am almost always in the position of playing one piece while learning another. It’s very rare that I can take a block of time and just concentrate on learning a piece. If that were possible, yes, I can learn new pieces quickly. But remember that initial learning is not fine tuning, and the latter takes time too.

GN: So how exactly do you build up a concerto to performance level?

JE: There are real stages to the learning process. At first, it’s just mechanical work, learning the notes and then getting a sense of the shape, pace and proportions of the piece. I will learn it up to 90% and, if I get the chance, it’s then best for me to put it down and let it sort of sit and settle before coming back. I think it’s critical that you know the entire orchestral score and, if you have any questions of why something is there, you must figure that out before you proceed. Even so, what’s so tricky about playing a concerto for the first time is that you simply can’t prepare for having the orchestra around you in three dimensions. That is one of the most fun parts of the experience, but it’s also the most nerve-wracking, and you have to make a lot of adjustments. For a new piece, you really have to figure out how to make things work in a very short amount of time. You may have been learning the violin part for months, but all of a sudden you have the first rehearsal for an incredibly complex concerto, and the sound is all around you, and the performance is happening the next day. This is where you really have to dig in.

GN: Many observers are amazed at how you can make the most forbidding passages (e.g. the cadenza of the Elgar concerto) come off with so much apparent ease. Are there works that you find genuinely difficult to play?

JE: That’s a perfectly-timed question. The most difficult challenge I have ever faced is the concerto by Aaron Jay Kernis, which I just premiered in Toronto a month ago and then played in Seattle as well. It’s a wonderful piece, extremely demanding but worth it. Here’s a work where there is the greatest difference between just seeing the score flat and actually hearing it in full dress.

GN: A few general questions to close. Undoubtedly, you produce a most beautiful sound from your ‘Marsick’ Strad. I have always wondered how arduous it was to find the instrument that was right for you.

JE: The search for the Marsick Strad was indeed arduous, as was the process of acquiring it for long term use. I won a competition for the use of the Canada Council Strad when I was 18, and played on that for five years – but I’ve been playing the ‘Marsick’ Strad ever since. Of course, I’ve had to play on a variety of borrowed instruments temporarily (for example, when I’m having a new fingerboard installed), and have done concerts with these. But in my professional career, I’ve just had the two main instruments, both Strads. Incidentally, my viola was made in 2013.

GN: I know artists dislike to be labeled, but a question that some colleagues have debated is whether you fit the tradition of a ‘Juilliard violinist’, citing some aspects of your technical precision and sound production. Do you ever think of yourself in those terms?

JE: Not really. Perhaps there was a time when the designation meant something, but I think one of the greatest virtues of Juilliard is that there’s so much diversity in approach. It’s funny that people who have never seen the school in action still come up with the idea that it’s sort of a factory where everyone sounds and plays the same. This cannot be true. Even the incredible school of playing connected with Ivan Galamian and the related, but still different, school of Dorothy DeLay bred considerable diversity in the great violinists produced. Possibly one can identify different ‘sounds’ with different teachers, but there are so many different instructors there. My teacher, Sally Thomas, gave an enormous amount of freedom to her students, and that alone allowed them to sound more individual than students of other instructors who demanded stricter adherence to ascribed bowing, fingerings and the like.

GN: I also understand you used to be a fine pianist when you were younger. Do you still play?

JE: I don’t perform much on the piano anymore. I haven’t really played in public for about five years, since right before my daughter was born. But I love to play the piano.

GN: A slightly sentimental question: after all your international experiences and acclaim, how special is it to come back and perform in your own country?

JE: It’s absolutely special. I have known so many people since almost my childhood, and they have always supported me to the fullest extent. I first met Maestro Bramwell Tovey when I was 11 years old.

Geoffrey Newman

I am grateful to Matthew Baird for recording assistance and Kelly Bao for the transcription.
Previously published in slightly different form on http://www.vanclassicalmusic.com.

NEW! English National Ballet’s Emerging Dancer Competition Live Streamed on Thursday 25 May

22/05/2017

enb-logo-560English National Ballet – Emerging Dancer LIVE

Thursday 25 May 2017 – from 7.25pmwww.ballet.org.uk/emerging-dancer

On Thursday 25 May 2017, English National Ballet’s Emerging Dancer competition will be live streamed from Sadler’s Wells via Facebook.

As well as being able to watch the full programme of performances, audiences will also get further insight into the competition, with interviews from some of the artists involved. Emerging Dancer LIVE follows the success of last year’s live stream which achieved over 10,000 views worldwide.Now in its eighth year, this annual event allows English National Ballet to recognise the excellence of its artists. Selected by their peers, six of the company’s most promising dancers perform in front of an eminent panel of expert judges, before one receives the 2017 Emerging Dancer Award. World-renowned director and choreographer and former judge on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, Arlene Phillips OBE, will host the event.

Also revealed on the night will be the recipients of the People’s Choice Award as selected by members of the public, and the Corps de Ballet Award, acknowledging the work on and off-stage of a member of the Corps de Ballet. The inaugural Corps de Ballet Award was presented last year to Artist of the Company, Jennie Harrington, recognising her exceptional commitment over the previous season.

Joining Tamara Rojo CBE, Artistic Director of English National Ballet, on the judging panel this year are former Royal Ballet Principal dancer and teacher Laura Connor; former English National Ballet Lead Principal dancer Dmitri Gruzdyev; former Royal Ballet Senior Principal dancer, teacher and choreographer Marguerite Porter MBE; Alfreda Thorogood, former Royal Ballet principal dancer, teacher and Guest Repetiteur for English National Ballet; and Graham Watts OBE, writer and chairman of the Dance Section of the Critics’ Circle and of the National Dance Awards.

The finalists will first perform a pas de deux, followed by a solo. This year will see Isabelle Brouwers and Emilio Pavan present the grand pas from Paquita, Madison Keesler and Guilherme Menezes will dance a pas de deux from Bournonville’s La Sylphide and Rina Kanehara and Aitor Arrieta perform the Esmeralda pas de deux.

Isabelle Brouwers will then dance a solo from a Drift by renowned choreographer and Artistic Director of Royal Ballet Flanders, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. The piece is extracted from a short trio first choreographed for LA Dance Project. Madison Keesler performs We Move Lightly by Myles Thatcher, dancer and choreographer with San Francisco Ballet; and Rina Kanehara will dance Raimondo Rebeck’s Blind Dreams set to music from Philip Glass’s soundtrack from the film The Hours.

Guilherme Menezes performs a new work, Flight Mode, from Danish choreographer Sebastian Kloborg whilst Emilio Pavan dances Proprioception, a new piece by choreographer Kirill Burlov set to Depeche Mode’s Heaven. Aitor Arrieta performs SelF, new choreography by Aleix Mañe set to three pieces; Flat of Angles, pt4 read by Benedict Cumberbatch, Hospital by Max Richter and Palladio by Karl Jenkins.

This year’s finalists have been mentored by their peers in the Company. Pedro Lapetra has mentored Rina Kanehara and Aitor Arrieta as they rehearse Esmeralda whilst Senri Kou and Daniel Kraus have worked on Paquita with Isabelle Brouwers and Emilio Pavan. Alongside Barry Drummond, Kou has also helped Madison Keesler and Guilherme Menezes prepare for La Sylphide.

Last year’s winner of both the Emerging Dancer Award and the People’s Choice Award, Cesar Corrales, will perform a pas de deux from Don Quixote with Katja Khaniukova.

The Emerging Dancer competition is generously supported by Sue and Graeme Sloan.

NEW! Roman River Music’s Summer Weekend – 14-16 July

08/05/2017

WORLD-CLASS CLASSICAL MUSIC IN ESSEX, AT ROMAN RIVER MUSIC’S SUMMER WEEKEND

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Tickets for Roman River Music’s Summer Weekend on 14-16 July are now on sale, offering a chance to experience world-class, classical music in rural Essex.

Taking place in the beautiful surroundings of Coggeshall parish church, St Peter ad Vincula, this year’s Summer Weekend features four programmes of French music performed by eight exceptionally talented musicians from around the globe.

The internationally acclaimed tenor, Karim Sulayman, will make his debut at the Summer Weekend, flying in especially from New York for the occasion.

Alongside Karim, Tom Poster, Elena Urioste, the Navarra Quartet and Raphaela Papadakis complete the incredible line-up of musicians.

Orlando Jopling, Artistic Director at Roman River Music, says, “Eight wonderful and charismatic musicians will be performing in one of Essex’s most idyllic villages.  It’s a truly unique opportunity to enjoy an evening of French music with some delicious French cheese and wine, in an incredible setting.”

BBC Radio 3 has recognised the quality offering of Roman River Music and will be recording all four Summer Weekend concerts for broadcast.

Tickets are priced from £6 (or just £3 for anyone under 30) and can be purchased online now from romanrivermusic.org.uk.  Further information about each of the concerts can also be found on the site.

About Roman River Music

Roman River Music presents world-class music in unexpected venues on the Essex/Suffolk borders.

Roman River Music produces two international festivals in North Essex and creates opportunities for over  1,000 young people to compose, perform or listen to music and get involved in the performing and visual arts.

We  aim to challenge, inspire and surprise audiences with magical and unique experiences in unusual and unexpected venues in Colchester and coastal Essex. We commission new work and collaborations, nurture emerging talent and tempt  internationally renowned musicians and performers to our corner of the world with the promise of appreciative audiences and the time and space to develop their skill and create new work among the salt marshes and wide open skies of  coastal  Essex.

The charity  uniquely combines strong grassroots support from over 100 volunteers with a truly international quality programme.

SUMMER WEEKEND

Roman River Music’s Summer Weekend concerts will celebrate the rich treasure trove of music by French composers from the golden age of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Iconic masterpieces have been carefully chosen by pianist Tom Poster, providing a framework for some exquisite rarities interwoven throughout this unique four-concert festival.

Musicians
Tom Poster piano
Elena Urioste violin
The Navarra Quartet
Raphaela Papadakis soprano
Karim Sulayman tenor

Friday 14 July, 8pm
Debussy Violin Sonata
Saint-Saëns Violons dans le soir
Messiaen La mort du nombre
Fauré Piano Quintet No 1 in D minor

Saturday 15 July, 11am
Fauré Violin Sonata No 1 in A major
Ravel String Quartet in F major

Saturday 15 July, 6pm
Ravel Pavane pour une infante défunte
Chausson Chanson perpétuelle
Fauré La bonne chanson
Ravel Piano Trio

Sunday 16 July, 6pm
Poulenc Songs (selection)
Chausson Concert in D major

For further details, please visit http://romanrivermusic.org.uk/summer-festival-2017/

AUTUMN FESTIVAL

Roman River Music’s Autumn Festival will run from 14 September to 1 October 2017.  Full details of the Autumn Festival are due to be announced in May.

NEW! Birmingham and Beyond: Ex Cathedra in 2017/18

03/05/2017

Ex Cathedra Unveils an Exciting Season of Choral Music in Birmingham and Beyond

ExCathedra-logoThe Birmingham-based Ex Cathedra is a leading UK choir and Early Music ensemble.  It is a unique musical resource, comprising a specialist chamber choir, vocal Consort, period-instrument orchestra and a thriving education programme. Ex Cathedra was founded in 1969 by Jeffrey Skidmore OBE so the ensemble is fast approaching its 50th anniversary. Details of their 2017/18 season have just been announced.   Read more

NEW! The Glyndebourne Opera Cup and Glyndebourne in 2018

02/05/2017

Major new international singing competition launched by Glyndebourne

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Website http://www.glyndebourne.com/

Glyndebourne today launches a new international singing competition.

The Glyndebourne Opera Cup – the international competition for opera singers is designed to discover and spotlight the best young singers from around the world, offering a top prize of £15,000 and a platform for launching an international opera career.

The eight-strong panel of judges includes representatives from top international opera houses. Among them are Barrie Kosky, Artistic Director of Komische Oper Berlin, Sophie de Lint, Opera Director of Zurich Opera and Director designate of Dutch National Opera, David Devan, who runs Opera Philadelphia, and Fortunato Ortombina, Artistic Director of Teatro La Fenice in Venice.

Acting as honorary president will be Dame Janet Baker, whose own early career was fostered by Glyndebourne.

Sky Arts, Glyndebourne’s official UK broadcast partner, will bring the competition to a wider audience with a dedicated TV series. Following each stage of the competition, the series will feature preliminary rounds in a number of international cities, culminating in the finals at Glyndebourne, and will allow audiences to learn more about the individual competitors involved.

The Glyndebourne Opera Cup will be unique to other competitions of its kind in a number of ways. Firstly, alongside prize money, the overall winner is guaranteed a role at one of the opera houses represented on the jury within five years of their victory. The time frame is designed to ensure that a suitable role for the winner can be found and reflects the long planning times in opera.

In addition, the biennial competition will focus on a different single composer or strand of the repertoire each time it is held.  This is in order to cater for the various specialisms within operatic training, and to ensure competitors can be accompanied by an orchestra with instruments appropriate for the period. Eligibility criteria, including age limit, will vary to reflect the chosen theme.

The inaugural competition, culminating in March 2018, will require singers to focus on Mozart, accepting entrants to an upper age limit of 28. Contestants will be accompanied by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

The competition has been devised by Glyndebourne’s General Director, Sebastian F. Schwarz, who will chair the judging panel. Glyndebourne already has an international reputation for discovering and nurturing new talent. This includes Glyndebourne Chorus members who have gone on to fame, such as Sarah Connolly and Thomas Allen, as well as stars, such as Kiri Te Kanawa and Luciano Pavarotti, who were given a place in the spotlight at early stages in their career.

Sebastian F. Schwarz, said: “I’ve been on the judging panels of a number of singing competitions and have seen what works and what doesn’t. When I arrived at Glyndebourne, with its giant reputation for discovering exceptional talent, it seemed an incredible opportunity to design the perfect singing competition from scratch. To me this means offering maximum benefit to those who enter. This is reflected in the jury which comprises esteemed colleagues representing houses that, like Glyndebourne, have a lot to offer competitors as they seek to develop careers. Our ambition is to establish The Glyndebourne Opera Cup as among the premiere competitions of its kind and we are delighted to be partnering with Sky Arts to bring this to a wider audience.”

Dame Janet Baker, also commenting on the competition, said: “My own career began at Glyndebourne so I’m well aware just how much the company has to offer to singers as they seek to establish themselves and develop as artists. This new competition is thoroughly in keeping with the strong commitment to nurturing singers that I observed and benefitted from during my time at Glyndebourne so I was delighted to be invited to act as honorary president.”

Sky Arts Director, Phil Edgar-Jones, says: “Sky Arts has had a long association with Glyndebourne over the years and, as opera enthusiasts, we are always keen to break new ground and seek out new audiences for this unique art form. So, when Sebastian brought us his idea for a partnership with Glyndebourne on its new opera singing competition his vision and infectious enthusiasm were impossible to resist. We’re sure it’ll hit the right note with our audience.”

The international jury for The Glyndebourne Opera Cup is:

  • Sebastian F. Schwarz, General Director, Glyndebourne (Chair)
  • Barrie Kosky, Artistic Director, Komische Oper Berlin
  • David Devan, General Director and President, Opera Philadelphia
  • Joan Matabosch, Artistic Director, Teatro Real de Madrid
  • Sophie de Lint, Artistic Director, Zurich Opera and Director designate of Dutch National Opera
  • Fortunato Ortombina, Artistic Director, Teatro La Fenice, Venice
  • Pål Christian Moe, Casting Consultant for Bayerische Staatsoper Munich and Glyndebourne
  • Maria Mot, Associate Director, Vocal & Opera, Intermusica

Applications for the inaugural Glyndebourne Opera Cup open later this year, with preliminary rounds taking place in January 2018 in Philadelphia, London and Berlin. The final stages of the competition take place at Glyndebourne in March 2018.

Full details, including information on the application process, will be released this summer.

Glyndebourne Festival 2018

The UK’s first professional production of Samuel Barber’s Pulitzer prize-winning opera Vanessa takes place at Glyndebourne Festival 2018.

One of the great American operas, Vanessa was hailed as a triumph at its premiere in 1958 but quickly fell out of the repertoire and has only been staged intermittently since.

Sebastian F. Schwarz, General Director of Glyndebourne, said: ‘Given my first chance to programme a work at Glyndebourne, my thoughts quickly turned to this neglected masterpiece. It’s remarkable that there has never been a UK production of Vanessa, the first opera by such a popular composer – and the man who wrote the Adagio for Strings. Sixty years on from its 1958 premiere, I’m delighted that Glyndebourne will give it the UK showcase it so richly deserves.’

The new production will be directed by British director Keith Warner, fulfilling his long-held ambition to stage the piece and marking his Glyndebourne directorial debut. Czech conductor Jakub Hrůša returns to Glyndebourne to lead the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

The cast includes British soprano Emma Bell in the title role, alongside Lithuanian tenor Edgaras Montvidas as Anatol.

The second new production for Festival 2018 is Claude Debussy’s only completed opera, Pelléas et Mélisande.

With Pelléas et Mélisande, premiered in 1902, Debussy sought to rewrite the rules of the art form, producing a completely new style of opera, heavy with symbolism and deploying naturalistic vocal writing, with one note per syllable, phrased according to speech intonation.

The new production will mark the Glyndebourne debut of the in-demand Norwegian director Stefan Herheim, and is conducted by Glyndebourne’s Music Director Robin Ticciati.

Leading the cast are Austrian soprano Christina Gansch as Mélisande and American baritone John Chest as Pelléas. British baritone Christopher Purves returns to Glyndebourne in the role of Golaud.

Glyndebourne Festival 2018 opens with the Festival debut of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. Originally staged for Glyndebourne Tour 2016, Annilese Miskimmon’s production is the first staging of the work at Glyndebourne.

Israeli conductor Omer Meir Wellber will conduct the London Philharmonic Orchestra, his first appearance at Glyndebourne since he made his debut conducting Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin at Glyndebourne Festival 2014.

Taking on one of the greatest soprano roles in the repertoire is Moldovian soprano Olga Busuioc as Cio-Cio-San. The role of Lieutenant BF Pinkerton will be performed by American tenor Joshua Guerrero, with American mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong as Suzuki.

Completing the 2018 Festival season are revivals of three of the most popular productions in Glyndebourne’s recent history.

Offering a chance to compare and contrast one of Handel’s finest operas with one of his great oratorios are revivals of David McVicar’s ground-breaking 2005 production of Giulio Cesare and Barrie Kosky’s smash-hit 2015 staging of Saul.

A number of artists involved in the original Giulio Cesare production return for next summer’s revival, including director David McVicar, conductor William Christie and British mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly in the title role. American soprano Joélle Harvey takes the role of Cleopatra.

Barrie Kosky returns to Glyndebourne to oversee the first Glyndebourne Festival revival of Saul, with Laurence Cummings conducting the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

German baritone Markus Brück will perform the role of Saul with British tenor Allan Clayton as Jonathan and British countertenor Iestyn Davies returning to the role of David, which he performed in the 2015 premiere.

Completing the season is the first Glyndebourne revival of British director Richard Jones’s stylish and original take on Strauss’s masterpiece, Der Rosenkavalier, conducted by Robin Ticciati.

British soprano Kate Royal stars as the Marschallin, as she did in the original 2014 staging, opposite American mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey as Octavian. British bass Brindley Sherratt performs the role of Baron Ochs.

Glyndebourne Festival runs from 19 May – 26 August 2018.

Fifty years of the Glyndebourne Tour in 2018

Glyndebourne’s first-ever production of Massenet’s Cendrillon forms the highlight of the Glyndebourne Tour, which celebrates its 50th anniversary next year. Cendrillon will be directed by Fiona Shaw, who previously directed a critically acclaimed production of Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia for Glyndebourne.

The Glyndebourne Tour launched in 1968 with two aims – to make Glyndebourne’s work accessible to broader audiences and to give performing opportunities to young, promising singers. These objectives remain as relevant today as they were 50 years ago.

The second fully-staged opera in the 2018 Tour is a revival of Tom Cairns’s opulent production of Verdi’s La traviata, which had its premiere at Glyndebourne Festival 2014.

There will also be a return for Behind The Curtain – a new style of event introduced in 2016, with Don Giovanni: Behind the Curtain, to take audiences behind the scenes on the creation of opera. On this occasion the event will take an in-depth look at La traviata, with performance extracts from the cast and orchestra of the main Tour 2018 production.

Glyndebourne Tour runs from 13 October – 1 December 2018.

Further information and casting to follow.

Plans for biggest capital investment since new opera house

Glyndebourne is in the final stages of planning a new, state-of-the-art production hub that will unite all its expert making departments under one roof.

It will be the organisation’s biggest capital investment since the rebuilding of its world-class opera house in 1994.

In addition to housing technical workspace, the building will contain three music practice rooms and an extra rehearsal space.

The new hub will enable Glyndebourne to sustain its competitive edge, providing state of the art facilities that support the company’s high artistic standards and help it attract and retain creative staff.

The building will also improve the organisation’s environmental footprint, with a design that gives careful consideration to environmental factors. The development is being designed  to meet the BREEAM Excellent standard for sustainable development.

In addition, the hub will enhance the visitor experience through the addition of an attractive new building that offers greater potential for running tours of backstage departments.

A targeted fundraising effort will seek to raise the money for the project, underwritten by reserves that have been built up in recent years for this purpose.

Nicholas Hare Architects have been appointed to the project and an architect’s model of the development will be on display to visitors during the 2017 Glyndebourne Festival. Work on the new building is expected to begin this winter.

The new production hub is part of a wider programme of investment taking place at Glyndebourne that includes upgrades to front of house facilities, re-landscaping and the extension of wet weather facilities.

These initiatives all support Glyndebourne’s commitment to sustaining its high standards and retaining its reputation for excellence in all areas.

Education and outreach

Recruitment will get underway in 2018 for Glyndebourne’s latest large-scale main stage community opera.

The latest new commission will be composed by Howard Moody and directed by Simon Iorio. It will be delivered in partnership with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and staged at Glyndebourne in March 2019.

Also in 2018, a new Young Composer-in-Residence will join Glyndebourne.

The position is a three year, part-time residency for an emerging composer, giving the holder an unrivalled opportunity to immerse themselves in the work of an opera house and observe the creation of new operas, as well as create new work of their own.

Based within Glyndebourne’s pioneering education department, the Young Composer-in-Residence will also involve themselves in Glyndebourne’s broader artistic, learning and audience development activities.

An annual bursary of £17,000 is provided to cover time, expenses and any work composed for Glyndebourne during the residency.

Recruitment for the position is open now via glyndebourne.com

Glyndebourne will crown the latest winners of its two biennial awards for young singers in 2018.

The Gus Christie Award is for a young singer who has demonstrated outstanding vocal talent, while the Bill Weston Young Singers Award is for an exceptionally promising singer who would benefit from financial support to continue their development.

Both awards were launched in 2016 to mark 30 years since the formation of Glyndebourne’s education department.

NEW! The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s 2017/18 Season

01/05/2017

The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra has announced details of its 2017-18 season, the second of Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla’s tenure as Osborn Music Director

Photo Credit Frans Jansen

Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla (c) Frans Jansen.

In 2016/17 her appearances with the orchestra were somewhat limited – from memory just 8 were scheduled in Birmingham. However, that was clearly a transitional phase: she would have had diary commitments made prior to accepting the Birmingham post and, I suppose, the orchestra would also have had to engage well in advance quite a number of guest conductors. The 2017/18 season properly shows how committed she is to the post for she will conduct 22 concerts in Birmingham alone.

One feature that caught my eye is the involvement of the CBSO choruses. On taking up her appointment Miss Gražinytė-Tyla, who comes from Lithuania where there is such a strong singing tradition, made clear how excited she was at the opportunity to work with the CBSO’s renowned choirs. They’ll be firmly in the spotlight, starting with the opening concert when she’ll conduct the CBSO Chorus and a fine trio of soloists in Haydn’s perennially fresh The Creation (21 & 23 September). Later in the season the choirs will feature in the orchestra’s celebration of the Debussy centenary, of which more in a moment, and they’ll also be involved in a most enticing programme that includes the Fauré Requiem and four works by Lili Boulanger who died tragically young in 1918, the same year as Debussy (31 May 2018). The choirs will be kept busy singing for other conductors as well. Among other commitments they are scheduled for Verdi’s Requiem with Edward Gardner (25 October) and Orff’s Carmina Burana with Michael Seal (17 February 2018).

Perhaps the most exciting feature of the forthcoming season will be Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla’s focus on the music of Debussy, marking the centenary of his death in 2018. It’s become something of a CBSO tradition to put on a concert performance of an opera towards the end of each season and so, happily and inevitably, the choice this time will be Pelléas et Mélisande. A strong cast will include Jacques Imbrailo and Katja Stuber in the title roles with Laurent Naouri as Golaud (23 June 2018). Before that there will be a Debussy Festival spread over two weekends in May with four concerts each weekend. Miss Gražinytė-Tyla will conduct six concerts and two will be given by the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. There’ll be plenty of music by the French master as well as works by many composers influenced by him, including George Benjamin, Boulez, Messiaen, Tristan Murail and Toru Takemitsu. This will be a major celebration of one of the most influential composers of the twentieth century (17-18 March, 24-25 March 2018).

Among Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla’s other offerings will be two symphonies by Mahler: the Fourth (27 & 28 September) and the First – a work she played in the 2016/17 season too (29 March 2018). She’ll also put the CBSO through their collective paces in Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra (17 & 20 January 2018). She’ll close the season with a blockbuster programme including the Shostakovich First Violin Concerto (Nicola Benedetti) and two works by Stravinsky: Le Sacre du Printemps and his recently re-discovered Funeral Song (27 & 28 June 2018).

She’ll also be on the rostrum early in the season for two concerts in which Jörg Widmann plays the Mozart Clarinet Concerto (4 & 5 October). These concerts are significant because they’re the first in which Widmann appears as the orchestra’s artist-in-residence for the season. At various times he’ll be featured as clarinettist, conductor and composer – his Babylon Suite receives its UK premiere in the 5 October concert. Widmann returns later in the season for a concert in which he features in all three capacities: three of his works will be played, he’ll be the soloist/director in Weber’s First Clarinet Concerto and he will conduct Mozart’s ‘Jupiter’ Symphony (6 June 2018).

Among the appearances by guest conductors two programmes pair the Brahms Piano Concertos with ballet music by Prokofiev. Martin Helmchen plays the Second Concerto as part of a programme in which Alexander Verdernikov conducts excerpts from Cinderella (6 & 7 December). Romeo and Juliet, an even greater score, comes under the spotlight in a programme conducted by Leo McFall when Paul Lewis will do the honours in the D minor concerto (22 February 2018). Another great Prokofiev score features towards the end of the season: Ludovic Morlot will conduct the Fifth Symphony. In that same programme Tasmin Little will play Bernstein’s Serenade, a piece we don’t often get a chance to hear (24 May 2018).

That performance of the Serenade is presumably a nod to the fact that 2018 marks the centenary of Lennie’s birth. A different facet of his work will be celebrated when John Wilson leads the CBSO in a concert entitled Bernstein: Stage and Screen. The renowned vocalist Kim Criswell will be on hand too as excerpts from such Bernstein hits as West Side Story, Candide and On the Town are performed. It should be quite a party! (24 January 2018)

Classical and pre-Classical repertoire will be well-served too. In that context it’s particularly good to anticipate two occasions when the CBSO will join forces with Jeffrey Skidmore and his excellent Ex Cathedra choir. One programme is devoted to Bach, including the superb Magnificat (14 October). Later in the season Mozart is to the fore in a programme entitled Mozart and his Women. The composer’s love for the soprano voice will be celebrated and a bevy of soprano soloists will be led by Carolyn Sampson (4 February 2018).

Last, but emphatically not least, mention should be made of the CBSO Youth Orchestra, whose concerts rightly form part of the CBSO’s season. Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla will conduct then for the first time – that should be an energising experience for the young players – in a programme entitled Spanish Fiesta. Debussy’s Images will be on the menu as well as works by Bizet and Falla (29 October). Later in the season the orchestra plays Mahler’s massive Sixth Symphony in which they’ll be conducted by Jac van Steen, always a welcome guest in Birmingham (25 February, 2018).

This really is a season with something to suit all tastes: there are, for example, a good number of concerts of lighter music and programmes aimed at families. This preview only scratches the surface of what will be on offer from the CBSO. Full details of the orchestra’s 2017/18 season can be found here. Public booking commences on 22 May 2017, either online or by calling 0121 780 3333.

NEW! English National Opera’s 2017/18 Season

27/04/2017

ENGLISH NATIONAL OPERA ANNOUNCES ITS 2017/18 SEASON

eno

                                    Website – www.eno.org

  • ENO’s 2017/18 season features four new productions and five revivals at the London Coliseum, supported by a number of projects in other venues
  • Daniel Kramer directs his first opera as ENO Artistic Director, a new production of La traviata starring Claudia Boyle in her role debut as Violetta
  • Martyn Brabbins begins his first full season as ENO Music Director, conducting performances of Marnie and The Marriage of Figaro
  • ENO presents the world premiere of Nico Muhly’s latest opera, Marnie, directed by Michael Mayer and conducted by Martyn Brabbins
  • A new production of Verdi’s Aida opens the 17/18 season, conducted by Keri-Lynn Wilson. After sell-out performances of his Olivier Award-winning Akhnaten, Phelim McDermott returns to direct
  • Cal McCrystal directs a new production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe, starring ENO Harewood Artist Samantha Price in the title role alongside ENO favourites Andrew Shore and Yvonne Howard
  • Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and ENO present a new production of The Turn of the Screw, directed by multiple Olivier Award-winner and Artistic Director of the Open Air Theatre, Timothy Sheader. ENO Mackerras Fellow Toby Purser conducts
  • Revivals of audience favourites include Jonathan Miller’s The Barber of Seville, Richard Jones’s Rodelinda, Phelim McDermott’s Satyagraha, Robert Carsen’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Fiona Shaw’s The Marriage of Figaro
  • A raft of exciting British conductors new to ENO includes Leo McFall, Alexander Soddy and Hilary Griffiths. Keri-Lynn Wilson and Karen Kamensek return after acclaimed debuts in the 2014/15 and 2015/16 seasons respectively
  • Over 93% of cast and conductors in the 2017/18 season are British born, trained or resident. Rodelinda, Iolanthe and Satyagraha all feature casts that are entirely British born, trained or resident
  • More than 15 principal roles across the 17/18 season will be taken by current or former ENO Harewood Artists.
  • Over 39,500 tickets are available for £20 or less across the 17/18 season (500 for every performance)

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