Directors Mike Figgis and Terry Gilliam, best known for their exploits on celluloid, are to make their English National Opera debuts in the 2010/11 season.
Figgis and Gilliam join stage directors Rufus Norris, Simon McBurney and Des McAnuff in working with ENO for the first time in the new season which opens in September and includes 14 productions, 10 of which are new to London.
Former Monty Python star Gilliam, whose films include The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus, Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas and Brazil, is to direct Berlioz’s The Damnation Of Faust, which opens at the London Coliseum in May 2011.
It will be the second Faustian tale of the season, with McAnuff’s production of Gounod’s Faust opening proceedings in September 2010. Tony Award-winner McAnuff, who directed the current hit West End musical Jersey Boys, will set the devilish tale in a contemporary world of war.
Figgis, who is a writer and composer in addition to directing films including Leaving Las Vegas, Timecode and Hotel, directs Lucrezia Borgia in early 2011, marking the first time that the company has staged Donizetti’s rarely performed piece.
Norris (Festen, Cabaret) makes his opera debut directing Mozart’s Don Giovanni, while McBurney, Artistic Director of much-lauded theatre company Complicite, directs the UK premiere of Raskatov’s A Dog’s Heart, based on a satirical novel by Bulgakov.
Other new productions in the season, which ENO Artistic Director John Berry described as “our most ambitious season to date,” include Handel’s Radamisto, Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra and a new opera by Nico Muhly based on the true story of a teenager who tried to arrange his own murder via the internet.
ENO is also continuing its collaboration with the Young Vic, a relationship described by Berry as “one of the great delights of working as Artistic Director here”. In 2011 the companies will work together to stage The Return Of Ulysses, the late Monteverdi opera based on the second half of Homer’s Odyssey.
The new season also sees ENO launch a new partnership with the Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich, which will span three productions over three years beginning with Simon Boccanegra.
In addition to the new productions, the 2010/11 season includes revivals of ENO favourites The Makropulos Case, La Boheme, Parsifal and, to celebrate its 25th anniversary, the Jonathan Miller-directed production of The Mikado.
Among the performers returning to the London Coliseum stage are Amanda Roocroft, Andrew Shore, Iain Paterson, Brindley Sherratt, John Tomlinson, Stuart Skelton, Toby Spence and Willard White, who will perform alongside rising young stars including Sophie Bevan, Benedict Nelson and Sarah Tynan.
Before the start of the 2010/11 season, ENO has five more 2009/10 productions opening in the coming months. Elegy For Young Lovers is the current season’s Young Vic co-production, new productions of Tosca, The Pearl Fishers and Idomeneo all play at the London Coliseum, and season closer The Duchess Of Malfi marks the company’s first collaboration with site specific theatre specialists Punchdrunk as they perform the opera in a disused building in East London.