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Rory Kinnear makes directorial debut

First Published 5 May 2016, Last Updated 5 May 2016

Two time Olivier Award-winning actor Rory Kinnear will make his directorial debut at the ENO next year, directing Ryan Wigglesworth’s The Winter’s Tale as part of the opera company’s 2016/2017 season.

The world premiere of ENO’s Composer-in-Residence Wigglesworth’s first opera will play at the London Coliseum from 27 February and feature a cast including Iain Paterson, Sophie Bevan, Leigh Melrose and Susan Bickley.

Kinnear will bring a wealth of Shakespearean knowledge to his new role as director. He was awarded an Olivier for his portrayal of Iago in the National Theatre’s Othello and has starred in numerous Shakespearean productions including Hamlet, Measure For Measure and Hamlet.

Speaking about his forthcoming challenge, the James Bond star described himself as “giddy with excitement”, saying: “I could not be more thrilled to have been invited to work with Ryan on his debut opera, and at ENO, the place where my love for the art form first took hold.”

The news was announced as part of a busy 2016/2017 season for the ENO. Other highlights include the European premiere of Charlie Parker’s jazz-infused chamber opera Yardbird, which will play at the Hackney Empire with Lawrence Brownlee in the title role, and the return of Olivier Award winner Richard Jones to the London Coliseum to direct a new production of Don Giovanni.

Over the autumn/spring season, the ENO will present a new production of Berg’s Lulu at the London Coliseum, alongside revivals of popular productions including Jonathan Miller’s Rigoletto, Mike Leigh’s The Pirates Of Penzance, Christopher Alden’s Olivier Award-winning production of Handel’s Partenope, Catherine Malfitano’s Tosca and Penny Woolcock’s The Pearl Fishers.

The prestigious company will also stage an evening celebration of its frequent collaborator Miller on 16 November to mark his staggering 38-year career with the ENO, which now comprises more than 1000 performances of his work.

The newly announced season also signals the beginning of a partnership with Southbank Centre as part of the company’s plans to travel away from its home at the London Coliseum for summer seasons at venues across London and the UK. The partnership will kick off with a concert hall staging of Elgar’s The Dream Of Gerontius on 1 and 2 July 2017, with full details of future plans still to be announced.

Commenting on the season ahead, which will see designate Artistic Director Daniel Kramer take up his post from 1 August, ENO’s Programming Director Bob Holland said: “ENO is at a hugely exciting point in its history. As we look to the future, we look forward to presenting a broader range of operatic repertoire than ever before and finding new ways to present this to audiences across London and beyond… Over the next three years, we’ll build our summer programme to a substantial body of work outside of our Coliseum home that will let audiences, new and existing, experience opera in as many new ways as possible.”

ENO will continue its commitment to accessible ticket prices with 500 tickets to every ENO opera performance in the 2016/2017 season available for £20 or less.

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