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Theatre directors dominate ENO season

Published 2 May 2013

Renowned theatre directors Simon McBurney, Richard Jones, Katie Mitchell and Joe Hill-Gibbins will all direct productions in the English National Opera’s new season.

Artistic Director of Complicite, McBurney – who whose work on the company’s 2012 hit production The Master And Margarita was recognised in the Best Director category at the Olivier Awards with MasterCard last weekend – will return to the London Coliseum from 7 November to direct Mozart’s The Magic Flute.

From 28 February 2014, double Olivier Award-winning director Richard Jones (Into The Woods, Too Clever By Half), whose most recent work for the London stage includes David Harrower’s Government Inspector at the Young Vic, will direct Rodelinda, a production that will travel across Europe to Moscow’s Bolshoi theatre following its premiere at the London Coliseum. Introducing ENO’s partnership with the Bolshoi theatre, the production marks the first Handel opera ever to be staged by the Russian company.

Spring 2014 will bring Joe Hill-Gibbins’ production of Thomas Adès’ Powder Her Face, which will play nine performances from 2 April. A site-specific piece that is to be staged at Ambika P3 at the University of Westminster, Powder Her Face will follow the young director’s National Theatre debut, directing John Heffernan in Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II at the South Bank venue this September.

Following Hill Gibbins’ production, National Theatre Associate Director Katie Mitchell will direct Cosi Fan Tutte. Playing 12 performances from 16 May 2014, the production will feature a libretto by In The Republic Of Happiness’ Martin Crimp, reuniting the writer/director duo behind Written On Skin, which played at the Royal Opera House earlier this year.

Another playwright returning to the world of opera for the ENO’s 2013/14 season is Frank McGuinness, with the world premiere of Thebans – featuring a libretto by The Match Box writer –playing eight performances from 3 May. The production will be directed by founder of the Almeida theatre Pierre Audi who returns to London for the first time in three decades.

From 5 June, acclaimed film director and former Monty Python member Terry Gilliam will return to ENO following his sell-out production of The Damnation Of Faust in 2011 to direct Benvenuto Cellini. Berlioz’s rarely performed and technically challenging piece, which will play eight performances next spring, is loosely based on the life of the Florentine sculptor featured in the opera’s title.

The new season will also feature revivals of two iconic productions from the last five years, Satyagraha (from 20 November 2013) and Peter Grimes (from 29 January 2014), two co-productions with the Canadian Opera Company, Die Fledermaus (from 30 September 2013) and Rigoletto (from 23 February 2014), the UK premiere of Matthew Barney and Jonathan Bepler’s River Of Fundament (from 29 June 2014), and collaborations with a number of other international companies; Bayerische Staatsoper’s Fidelio playing from 25 September 2013 and Madam Butterfly, a co-production with New York’s Metropolitan Opera and the Lithuanian National Opera, playing from 14 October 2013.

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