|Rory Kinnear makes directorial debut with the world premiere of The Winter’s Tale, the first opera by composer Ryan Wigglesworth
Opens Monday 27 February at 7.30pm at London Coliseum (5 performances)
ENO will present the world premiere of Composer-in-Residence Ryan Wigglesworth’s first opera The Winter’s Tale this spring, directed by acclaimed Shakespearean actor Rory Kinnear in his directorial debut. One of the most anticipated arts events of 2017, this will be a major operatic adaptation of Shakespeare’s late masterpiece.
The world premiere is the latest in a series of ENO commissions by British composers of operas in English, which includes Tansy Davies’s Between Worlds and Julian Anderson’s Thebans. Both won British Composer Awards for their work. With a top-flight cast of British singers including returning ENO favourites Iain Paterson as Leontes and Sophie Bevan as Hermione, it is sure to be a significant event for British opera.
Rory Kinnear has a long history of performing Shakespeare on the stage, having recently played Iago (for which he won the 2014 Olivier award for Best Actor) and Hamlet at the National Theatre. He now takes the director’s seat for the very first time. An opera enthusiast and an accomplished singer himself, he played Macheath in last year’s National Theatre production of The Threepenny Opera. He is best known to wider audiences for his role as M’s chief of staff, Bill Tanner, in the three most recent James Bond films and for television roles in Black Mirror, Penny Dreadful and more.
Commenting on his directorial debut with ENO he said ‘Opera has become a big passion of mine over the last seven or eight years. ENO is the right place to do a commission from a great, young English composer and also an opera of a Shakespeare play. This feels the right kind of piece ENO should be doing’.
Ryan Wigglesworth has established himself as one of the foremost conductor-composers of his generation. Augenlieder, an orchestral song cycle for soprano Claire Booth, received the vocal prize at the 2010 British Composer Awards.
Ryan has written the roles specifically for the voices of the singers, making this line-up particularly significant – he says he ‘couldn’t imagine a greater British cast’. Many of these are figures who have been nurtured at ENO: Iain Paterson as Leontes has been a stalwart of Wagner productions here, with his role debut Hans Sachs in Richard Jones’s Olivier Award-winning The Mastersingers of Nurembergdescribed as ‘towering’ (Bachtrack) and ‘quite beautiful’ (The Telegraph). He is a graduate of the ENO Young Singers Programme.
Soprano Sophie Bevan, who is appearing as Hermione, is among the finest young singers of her generation, receiving the Young Singer award at the 2013 International Opera Awards, the 2010 Critics’ Circle award for Exceptional Young Talent and The TimesBreakthrough Award at the 2012 South Bank Sky Arts Awards. An alumna of the ENO Harewood Artist programme, she makes a welcome return.
The Winter’s Tale opens on Monday 72 February 2017 at 7.30pm for 5 performances – 27 February, 3, 8, 10, 14 March at 7.30pm.
500 tickets for £20 or less are available for each performance. Tickets start from £12. www.eno.org
Pre-performance talk: Wednesday 8 March 2017 5.15-6pm, £5/£2.50 concs.