English National Opera Announces 2006-07 Season Featuring Gaddafi and Death in Venice

Classic Arts News   English National Opera Announces 2006-07 Season Featuring Gaddafi and Death in Venice
English National Opera's 2006-07 season will include the world premiere of Asian Dub Foundation's Gaddafi, the U.K. stage premiere of Philip Glass's 1980 Sanskrit-language Satyagraha, and new productions of Verdi's La traviata, Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, and Britten's Death in Venice.

The company will also present a new David Alden staging of Janšcek's Jenufa, co-produced with Houston Grand Opera and Washington National Opera; Handel's Agrippina, in a new David McVicar production from Brussels' La Monnaie; a new production of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Gondoliers; and a new production of Robert Wright and George Forrest's Kismet, a 1953 musical based on the music of Borodin.

The announcement came in the midst of turmoil at the company. In late November, artistic director Sešn Doran stepped down and was rapidly replaced by programming director John Berry; weeks later, chairman Martin Smith resigned. According to the London Guardian, much of the season was assembled hurriedly after Berry's promotion.

"The problem in December was that we weren't going in the right direction," Berry said at a press conference yesterday, according to the Guardian. "We inherited very little from the previous team."

One production that was inherited from Doran is Gaddafi, based on the life of the Libyan leader, which was originally planned for 2005-06. The opera, which will open the 2006-07 season in September, is by Steve Chandra Savale and his electronica group Asian Dub Foundation; the cast will include rapper JC001 and actor Riz Ahmed. Theater veteran David Freeman directs.

Satyagraha, which is loosely based on the life of Gandhi, will also be staged by opera newcomers: the team of director Phelim McDermott and designer Julian Crouch, best known for the macabre theater work Shockheaded Peter. The cast has not yet been announced.

Also making his opera debut is Conall Morrison, the newly appointed artistic director of Dublin's Abbey Theatre, who will direct La traviata; Emma Bell is Violetta. Figaro's two casts will include Lisa Milne, Jonathan Lemalu, and Susan Gritton; the director is Oliva Fuchs.

Death in Venice will be directed by Deborah Warner; tenor Ian Bostridge, who collaborated with Warner on Diary of One Who Vanished and The Turn of the Screw at ENO, will sing Aschenbach.

The season also includes revivals of La bohme, La clemenza di Tito, and last season's hit production of Bernstein's On the Town.

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