English National Opera in 2023-2024

The English National Opera (ENO) announces our 2023/24 main stage season

Following a difficult six months for the company beginning with the Arts Council’s removal of its National Portfolio status and a delay in the confirmation of future funding, the ENO returns with an opera season showcasing the work the company is most renowned for.

Nine world-class opera productions will be staged at the London Coliseum across the 2023/24 main stage season:

Marina Abramović’s masterful 7 Deaths of Maria Callas receives an exciting UK premiere.

A new semi-staged concert of Bartók’s Duke Bluebeard’s Castlethe first ENO performance of the work in 15 years, with Martyn Brabbins conducting.

David Alden’s spectacular and award-winning production of Britten’s most enduring opera, Peter Grimes returns.

Following a string of hits which have cemented the ENO’s place as a major home of Gilbert and Sullivan works, Iolanthe, one of the most successful productions in company history returns for its first revival.

Peter Konwitschny’s Olivier Award winning production of Verdi’s most famous opera La traviata returns.

After its success in the 2021/22 Season, Annilese Miskimmon’s The Handmaid’s Tale returns for its first revival.

An audience favourite, Jonathan Miller’s masterpiece that was first staged in 1987 The Barber of Seville returns.

Simon McBurney’s accessible operatic event and family favourite The Magic Flute returns to the London Coliseum in collaboration with pioneering theatre company Complicité for this world famous production.

David Alden’s double Olivier Award winning production of Janáček’s Jenůfa returns, maintaining the ENO’s strong connection with the composer’s work.

The opera season in the London Coliseum stars some of the opera world’s finest British and international talent.

The ENO’s successful free ticket offer for under 21s, for all ENO operas at every level of the house, continues, as do substantial discounts for under 35s. Ticket prices for everyone still begin at £10.

The ENO’s relaxed performance programme on the main stage will be for two productions this season: Iolanthe and The Magic Flute. For one performance, The Barber of Seville will be the ENO’s first Discover Opera Experience – deconstructing the opera for audiences, providing a shortened and guided version, which will be performed in a relaxed setting.

Annilese Miskimmon, Artistic Director of the ENO, says: ‘This past season has been challenging following the Arts Council’s removal of the ENO’s NPO status but also incredibly rewarding with sell out, critically acclaimed productions across a huge breadth of repertoire. We are thrilled that 64% of our audience has been new to the ENO – the highest recorded in the last six years – including record numbers of Under 35 and Under 21 attendees. We’re looking forward to an exciting and dynamic future, and continuing to bring opera of all types to both new and current audiences in unforgettable and exciting ways. 

This 2023/24 Season at the London Coliseum showcases some of the productions and repertoire that the company is most renowned for. We have curated this season to delight our ENO regulars and newcomers alike with the return of old and new favourites that highlight the drama, beauty and emotion of this fascinating art form. 

It is a huge privilege to work with such exciting talent on stage, in the pit, and behind the scenes. This new season sees the whole company working together with hugely talented guest artists bringing these spectacular operas to the London Coliseum. We very much look forward to welcoming audiences back in September.’

New Productions at the London Coliseum

7 Deaths of Maria Callas

In an exciting UK premiere, celebrated performance artist Marina Abramović makes her ENO debut with her production of 7 Deaths of Maria Callas. Exploring the life, work and death of one of opera’s greatest stars, this staging marks 100 years since the American-born Greek soprano’s birth.

Callas – whose private life was never quite able to be separated from her performances – has fascinated Abramović for decades, and she has conceived this operatic project as a homage to the great prima donna. The production premiered in September 2020 at Munich’s Bayerische Staatsoper and has since toured to co-production partners: the Greek National Opera, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Opéra national de Paris, and the Teatro San Carlo di Napoli.

Immortalised through her place in popular culture, Callas (sometimes referred to as ‘La Divina’ – the divine one) is invoked on stage through a series of her most famous arias from La traviata, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, Carmen, Otello, Lucia di Lammermoor and Norma. These arias are woven together with new music by Serbian composer Marko Nikodijevic. Abramović is the director and set designer, and the conductor is Yoel Gamzou who has conducted this work across Europe.

Accompanying each of these aria performances are a series of short films starring Abramović and actor Willem Dafoe. Present on stage throughout the performance, Abramović plays the sleeping Callas, haunted by her greatest roles, in a set that recreates the Paris apartment where Callas died.

The cast of singers playing Callas in her greatest roles includes the ‘sensational’ (Bachtrack) soprano Eri Nakamura in the role of Violetta; and the ‘tremendous’ (The Spectator) former ENO Harewood Artist Nadine Benjamin as Desdemona.

Karah Son sings Cio-Cio San’s ‘Un bel di’, an aria praised as ‘very finely done’ (The Telegraph) when sung in 2016 at Glyndebourne. Sarah Tynan sings Lucia from Lucia di Lammermoor, a role in which she gave ‘a performance to touch the heart’ (The Times) at the ENO in 2018.

They are joined by the critically acclaimed mezzo-soprano Aigul Akhmetshina singing Carmen, a role that soprano Callas never played on stage, but whose arias she frequently performed in concert. Soprano Elbenita Kajtazi sings Tosca’s ‘Vissi d’arte’ making her UK operatic debut, and soprano Sophie Bevan sings Norma.

Duke Bluebeard’s Castle

Closing the season at the London Coliseum is a new semi-staged concert of Bartók’s Duke Bluebeard’s Castle, the first ENO performance of the work in 15 years.

Following the success of the concert of Britten’s Gloriana in December 2022 – an ‘exceptionally fine evening, with ENO absolutely at the top of its game’ (The Guardian) – Martyn Brabbins again leads the award-winning ENO Orchestra in this thrilling score.

The one-act opera, based on Charles Perrault’s French folk-horror, sees the Duke introducing his new wife Judith to her foreboding new home where terrible secrets hide within.

‘Opera’s new superstar’ (The Telegraph), Natalya Romaniw makes a role debut as Judith, reuniting with the ENO Orchestra following numerous roles with the ENO including Mimi in La bohème, the title role in Tosca, and Mary Kelly in Jack the Ripper: The Women of Whitechapel. Joining her on stage is renowned bass-baritone John Relyea as the fearsome Bluebeard, his second role with the company this season after The Magic Flute, and following praise for his ‘world-class’ (The Arts Desk) Wotan in 2023’s The Rhinegold.

For more information on the new season CLICK HERE

Booking Dates 2023: ENO Supporters – Opera Circle: Wednesday 17 May, 12.00pm / ENO Friends – Platinum and Gold: Wednesday 24 May, 12.00pm / ENO Friends – Silver and Bronze: Tuesday 30 May, 12.00pm / Access Bookers: Tuesday 30 May, 12.00pm / Public Booking: Wednesday 7 June, 12.00pm

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