Sondheim'sSweeney Todd will be staged at the Royal Opera House in December, it has been confirmed by Antonio Pappano, the director of the Royal Opera. Pappano described Sweeney Todd, which is to be conducted by Paul Gemignani, as a "fantastic piece of music theatre and a surprising but welcome addition to our repertory."
Sondheim has already made it to the National Theatre, which staged a very powerful production of Sweeney Todd in the 1990’s, and his work is a staple of the small but feisty Bridewell Theatre — situated, appropriately enough in this context, just off Fleet Street. He has also been a favorite at the Donmar Warehouse.
Sweeney Todd is about the “demon barber of Fleet Street,” who cuts the throats of his customers. Their bodies are then turned into meat pies by a neighboring establishment. Considered one of Sondheim’s masterpieces, Sweeney Todd originally premiered at Broadway’s Uris Theatre on Feb. 6, 1979, with a cast led by Len Cariou (Sweeney) and Angela Lansbury (Mrs. Lovett), who both nabbed Tony Awards for their roles. Harold Prince directed the production, which was awarded the 1979 Tony for Best Musical. A 1989 revival at Circle in the Square Theatre featured Beauty and the Beast’s Beth Fowler as Mrs. Lovett and former Evita star Bob Gunton as the man who returns to London to avenge the death of his wife.