April 2, 2009 / 3:55 PM / 10 years ago

English National Opera boasts 12 new productions

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - The English National Opera will stage 12 new productions during its 2009/10 season, including Puccini’s “Turandot” and “Tosca,” Handel’s “Messiah,” Bizet’s “The Pearl Fishers” and Mozart’s “Idomeneo.”

The new season kicks off on September 17 with a new production of “Le Grand Macabre,” Hungarian composer Gyorgy Ligeti’s only opera written in the 1970s and revised in 1996.

It will be created by Catalan theatrical group La Fura dels Baus and ENO Music Director Edward Gardner conducts in one of six new productions he will lead in 2009 and 2010.

Next up is Giuseppe Verdi’s “Rigoletto” in a revival of Jonathan Miller’s production. The 1982 interpretation relocates the original Renaissance court setting to Mafia-controlled Little Italy, and renowned British baritone Anthony Michaels-Moore will sing the title role.

Among the classic opera repertoire, Giacomo Puccini features prominently with new productions of Turandot, opening on October 8, and Tosca, opening on May 18, 2010.

The ENO marks the 250th anniversary of George Frideric Handel’s death with a new production of his oratorio “Messiah,” which opens on November 27.

It will be directed by Deborah Warner, who brought Johann Sebastian Bach’s St. John Passion to the Coliseum in central London in 2000.

Philip Glass’s “Satyagraha,” the second work in his trilogy about men who changed the world, returns in February.

The semi-narrative opera deals with Mahatma Gandhi’s early years in South Africa and his development of non-violent protest as a political tool.

There is a combination of opera and dance in early November with a double bill of Bartok’s “Duke Bluebeard’s Castle” and Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring.”

The season ends with a new work by theater group Punchdrunk.

"What makes the season stand out ... is the introduction of innovative theatrical strategies of juxtaposing opera and ballet, harnessing the 'total theatre' of La Fura dels Baus, staging Handel's ever-popular Messiah, not to mention the intriguing prospect of collaboration with Punchdrunk," classical music website www.musicalcriticism.com said.

Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato

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