Marnie is a compelling psychological thriller set in England during the late 1950s, making its world premiere with the English National Opera.
A young woman makes her way through life by embezzling from her employers, before she moves on and changes her identity. When her current boss Mark Rutland catches her red-handed, he blackmails her into a loveless marriage. Marnie is pushed right to the edge by Rutland, with shocking events sending her to the brink of suicide, leaving her with no choice but to confront the hidden trauma from her past and the root cause of her behaviour.
Following the critically acclaimed Two Boys in 2011, this is burgeoning composer Nico Muhly’s second world premiere for ENO. With a libretto by Nicholas Wright, Marnie is based on Winston Graham’s novel and inspired by the screenplay. It examines the cost of freedom, the limitations of forgiveness and the impossibility of escaping the past, in music that is direct and powerful.
The original novel was in fact the basis for Alfred Hitchcock’s film of the same name in 1964, starring Sean Connery and Tippi Hedren, before later being adapted into a stage play by Sean O’Connor in 2001. Marnie was reputedly inspired by several real-life incidents involving a young which Graham merged to form the titular character.
Tony Award-winning director Michael Mayer makes his UK opera debut with Marnie; he previously lead the direction of the Broadway musical Spring Awakening in 2006, and was Tony-nominated for his production of Thoroughly Modern Millie in 2002. Mayer collaborates with ENO Music Director Martyn Brabbins, famous for his conducting of numerous top international orchestras.
The Grammy Award-winning mezzo Sasha Cooke sings the title role, while acclaimed bass-baritone Daniel Okulitch sings Mark Rutland. They are joined by ENO favourite, stage and screen star Lesley Garrett.
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