Opens on Thursday 28 September at 7.30pm at the London Coliseum for 16 performances
Following the success of Akhnaten in 2016, director Phelim McDermott and theatre company Improbable return to ENO with a new production of Verdi’s Aida.
In addition to the forces of Improbable, acclaimed female-led contemporary circus company Mimbre and renowned puppeteer Basil Twist round off an artistic team at the forefront of theatrical innovation.
Phelim McDermott comments:
‘I’ve never directed something like Aida before, but everyone knows the opera – it is the archetypal operatic love story. It’s a story worthy of the thing that only opera can do, which is to create theatre, music and drama at the same time. For us it’s like a sister production to Akhnaten – you can see that it’s born from the same kind of impulses. I would say, don’t expect to see Ancient Egypt on stage. Do expect to see a wonderful, intimate, moving story.’
Sharing the title role of the tragic Ethiopian princess who must choose between her homeland and her love will be two sopranos whose previous performances as Aida have received wide praise. Latonia Moore will sing the role from the 28 September to the 27 October and Morenike Fadayomi will take over from the 31 October to the 2 December.
Welsh tenor Gwyn Hughes Jones makes his second appearance for ENO this year as the captain of the guard and lover of Aida, Radamès.
Mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung makes her company debut as Amneris, Aida’s rival in love. Also making her company debut, Dana Beth Miller takes over the role from her from the 31 October to the 2 December.
Rising South African bass-baritone Musa Ngqungwana makes his UK operatic debut as the defeated Ethiopian ruler Amonasro. Bass Matthew Best returns to ENO to sing the King.
British bass Brindley Sherratt returns to ENO as Ramfis and the cast is completed by ENO Harewood Artists Eleanor Dennis and David Webb as the High Priestess and Messenger respectively.
Leading the ENO Orchestra in the pit will be Canadian conductor Keri-Lynn Wilson, who makes a very welcome return after her debut in 2014 with Richard Jones’s Olivier Award-winning The Girl of the Golden West.
The Movement Director is US puppeteer, silk artist and designer Basil Twist, one of the most influential and admired practitioners in his field: ‘no theatre artist in New York is showing more poetic force or technical skill than the puppeteer Basil Twist’ (The New Yorker).
ENO will collaborate with the Victoria & Albert Museum and Royal Opera House around their exhibition Opera: Passion, Power and Politics (30 September 2017 – 25 February 2018). As part of ENO’s involvement in the exhibition, ENO Baylis (our learning and participation programme) will develop a site-specific free public performance involving over 100 diverse community participants and professional artists inspired by ENO’s new production of Aida. This performance follows the success of our Millions of Years project in 2016, where a performance inspired by Akhnaten culminated in the Great Court of the British Museum, watched by over 3,000 people.
Aida opens on Thursday 28 September at 7.30pm at the London Coliseum for 16 performances: 03, 06, 09, 11 19 21 27, 31 October, 10, 17, 27, 29 November at 7.30pm, 14 October and 4 November at 6.30pm, and 2 December at 3pm.