Attending the Regent’s Park Open Air theatre for the first time last night, I had a sense that the outdoor, natural setting would make it difficult for other productions of Britten’s opera to compete. This is a collaborative project with the English National Opera (ENO), in hope of introducing dedicated members and regular attendees of the Open Air theatre to opera. And in many ways it succeeds.
Review by Tony Watts
The relationship of totalitarian regimes to the arts is malign, politicos wanting to neuter them, fearing freedom of expression as a direct threat to their control of the populace and its communal thought process. Censorship of work, persecution of its creators and campaigns branding it as degenerate are as common in contemporary dictatorships as they had been previously in the dark days of Nazi Germany. The cabaret scene in the Weimar Republic was anathema to the German reactionaries of the time, as Stefan Zweig observed: ‘amid the general collapse of values, a kind of insanity took hold of precisely those middle-class circles which had hitherto been unshakeable in their order.’ Young ladies proudly boasted that they were perverted; to be suspected of virginity at sixteen would have been considered a disgrace in every school in Berlin.’ A 1938 exhibition, Entartate Musik, was mounted by propagandist Hans Severus Ziegler to demonstrate how necessary it was to ban this music, describing it as ‘Un-German’ as it was Jazz-influenced and written by Jewish and black composers: ‘Effigies of wickedness’. It was in this atmosphere of repression that a body of work was created which is explored in a lively collaboration between English National Opera (ENO) and the Gate Theatre, currently enjoying a run at the tiny West London venue until June 9.
Written by Thomas Joy
Daniel Kramer’s first season at the English National Opera (ENO) was always going to be bold, and it feels as though the ENO are a perfect fit for Kramer and his vision for the company.
At his introduction to the season on 1st May, Kramer came from a day of press interviews as enthusiastic and passionate about his debut season as ever, and what a season it promises to be. The newly announced 2018/19 season brings five new productions and four revivals to the stage of the London Coliseum, where the ENO are celebrating 50 years of residency this year.
Canadian costume and set designer Michael Levine has worked in a variety of prestigious theatres and opera houses internationally for more than three decades. He created the original set designs for Robert Carsen’s production of Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which is currently being revived at the English National Opera (ENO), London Coliseum. I spoke to Michael (on the first day of Spring) to discuss the inspiration behind his work; the usage of the green and blue colours, the symbolic relationship between the world, Tytania and Oberon, as well as the floating beds on the ENO set. He also shared his experience of a dramatic transition within design over the course of his career and gave an in-depth account of the role of a set designer.
Long for the days of Summer’s innocence
Lucky number three. Three ravishing productions have been performed at the London Coliseum from the English National Opera’s (ENO) Spring 2018 programme. It seems that the quality of the ENO’s productions are proving consistent and worth complimenting. The third of which I saw on its press night (on Thursday) on a week that had been heavily affected by snow storms and Siberian winds under the alias ‘The Beast from the East.’ Luckily for the audience inside the London Coliseum, it was warmer and rosier with its sweet and playful portrayal of Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
It’s not Carry On
It’s hard to forget an opening night like that. I’m no stranger to the most recent Gilbert and Sullivan (G&S) productions at the English National Opera (ENO). That’s predominantly down to the intoxicating stage and costume designs, which are usually littered with wit and humour.>>>
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