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Kiarostami leaves Così after visa complications

Published 5 May 2009

Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami, who was due to direct Così Fan Tutte for the English National Opera later this month, will be unable to direct the production in London due to visa complications.

He will be replaced by his British Associate Director Elaine Tyler-Hall who worked closely with Kiarostami on the production which premiered at the 2008 Aix-en-Provence Festival.

Speaking about the situation, Kiarostami said: “I would like to thank [English National Opera Artistic Director] John Berry and the rest of the crew at ENO for the understanding and support they have shown in this very complicated but delicate situation. They respected my position and my principles in spite of the obvious fact that it was putting them in a very precarious and disagreeable position. I have to confess that this gives me hope; the world is still a liveable place malgré tout…”

Kiarostami rose to fame during the Iranian New Wave cinema movement which began in the late 1960s. A director of over 40 films, he was awarded the Palme d’Or for his 1997 Cannes offering The Taste Of Cherry. His new film Shirin will be released at selected cinemas across the UK in June.

Berry commented: “It is very sad that such a widely admired artist as Abbas will not be coming to London. However, we are delighted that his trusted British Associate Director Elaine Tyler-Hall, who worked on the creation of the production with him in Aix, will take over the production in his absence. Abbas and I will be in close touch over the coming weeks, even if it has to be from a distance.”

Così Fan Tutte, which opens at the London Coliseum on 29 May, marks the ENO conducting debut of Mozart specialist Stefan Klingele and boasts a cast including Susan Gritton, Fiona Murphy, Thomas Glenn, Liam Bonner, Steven Page and Sophie Bevan.



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