The Day After, 30 April – 2 May 2020 (4 performances)
Blond Eckbert, 20-23 May 2020 (4 performances)
English National Opera (ENO) today announces two ENO Studio Live productions for spring 2020 – a new production of Judith Weir’s Blond Eckbert, and the first revival of Jonathan Dove’s The Day After.
ENO Studio Live brings opera to smaller and more intimate spaces, often putting members of ENO’s award-winning chorus in principal roles or showcasing exceptional young talent, including ENO Harewood artists. These brings the total number of productions in ENO’s 19/20 season to 12; 8 new productions and 4 revivals.
Blond Eckbert will run from 20-23 May 2020 at ENO’s Rehearsal Studios in West Hampstead, Lilian Baylis House. Based on the fairytale ‘Der blonde Eckbert’ by German poet and writer Ludwig Tieck, the opera is narrated by the Bird, telling of Blond Eckbert and his wife Bertha, who live in isolation. As their secrets threaten to be revealed, a noir folktale of fear and shame unfolds in 1980s Glasgow. First premiered at the London Coliseum in 1994, this new production, directed by ENO Staff Director Chloe Christian, is a shortened one act chamber version of the opera, first performed in 2006 by The Opera Group. Olivia Clarke (who previously was assistant conductor for ENO’s Orphée) conducts. Costumes are by Sarah Bowern.
Current ENO Harewood Artist Matthew Durkan leads the cast as Blond Eckbert, whilst Claire Barnett-Jones sings his wife Berthe. Fellow Harewood Artist John Findon sings the roles of Blond Eckert’s friends Walter, Hugo and the old woman. Winner of the 2017 Leonard Ingrams Award, Alison Rose sings the Bird.
Composed by Jonathan Dove – ’one of the most skilled of the UK’s contemporary opera composers’ (the Guardian), and with a libretto by April de Angelis, The Day After is a story within a story: a post-apocalyptic setting which introduces the tale of Phaeton, son of the Greek Sun God Phoebus, whose youthful impetuousness leads to disaster and tragedy.
This choral version of The Day After received its UK premier at ENO’s Lilian Baylis House in 2017 and this season sees the production relocate to a new stage at Alexandra Palace Theatre from 30 April – 2 May 2020. Jamie Manton returns to direct this ’emotionally compelling’ (The Stage) production, conducted by Mark Biggins. ENO Harewood Artist Elgan Llŷr Thomas leads the cast as Phaeton. The movement director is Jasmine Ricketts and the designer is Camilla Clarke, with lighting by Tom Mannings.
The Day After performances will take place on 30 April, 1 May and 2 May (matinee and evening performance) 2020 at Alexandra Palace Theatre. Tickets start from £10 (plus £2.25 booking fee).
Blond Eckbert performances will take place on the 20, 21 and 23 (matinee and evening performance) May 2020 at Lilian Baylis House. Tickets are priced at £20 and £25 (plus £2.25 booking fee).
Tickets for both productions go on sale on the 16 December (priority booking) and 18 December (public booking) at 12 noon.
Notes to Editors:
About ENO Studio Live
Performed outside of the London Coliseum, home of English National Opera, ENO Studio Live takes our work to new audiences that may not have considered opera before, presenting the immense power of opera in more intimate studio and theatre environments. Studio Live is a showcase for emerging talent including singers from our Harwood Artist’s programme, directors, conductors and chorus members. Previous venues include Wilton’s Music Hall, Hackney Empire, Regent’s Park Outdoor Theatre and The Gate Theatre, Notting Hill.
About English National Opera
English National Opera is the national opera company dedicated to one simple aim: making opera for everyone. We sing in English to be as accessible to the widest possible audience, as well as offering tickets for as little as ten pounds and we create opera that feels different, more theatrical and creatively daring. We’ve been doing this to an internationally recognised standard since being founded in 1931 as Sadler’s Wells Opera.
We are determined to open up the genre: nearly half of our audiences in 2018/19 were first-time bookers. Our learning and participation programme ENO Baylis last year touched the lives of more than 15,000 school children and community groups, and our talent development programme nurtures the careers of singers (the ENO Harewood Artist programme) and conductors (the Charles Mackerras Fellowship). We also give free tickets to Under 18s in our balcony for opening nights, Friday and Saturday performances.
Last year, the percentage of audience members under 44 increased by 13% year-on-year and the proportion of our audience with a black or minority ethnic background increased from 4% to 10%. In January of this year, we announced that we would be recruiting four new members of our Chorus from a BAME background, as well as four BAME Director Observerships.
Our ongoing support and development of British talent meant 80% of the cast in the 2017-18 season were British or British trained. That’s important to us and is fundamental to our ethos of giving new talent their break.
ENO is about opera for everyone.