Opera: John Adams Death Of Klinghoffer at Coliseum Theatre

Following highly successful productions of John Adams’s Nixon in China and Doctor Atomic, ENO presents the London stage premiere of the American composer’s controversial ‘docu-opera’ about the killing of a Jewish-American tourist during the hijacking of a Mediterranean cruise liner by Palestinian militants.

Alice Goodman’s eloquently poetic and dispassionately even-handed libretto mixes Biblical and Koranic references with real and imagined accounts of what happened on board. Adams’s intensely expressive score captures the private thoughts and emotions of individuals caught up in the complexities of a political and religious conflict that still defies solution. More of a meditation in the style of a Bach Passion than a conventional operatic drama, the result is an utterly compelling and unique piece of theatre.

Tom Morris, co-director of the National Theatre’s War Horse, makes his opera directing debut, while Baldur Brönnimann, who conducted ENO’s Lost Highway and Le Grand Macabre, applies his contemporary expertise to what many regard as Adams’s finest opera.

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Opera: Two Boys – Coliseum Theatre

A teenage boy is fatally stabbed. Another boy is caught on CCTV leaving the scene. An open-and-shut case, it would seem. But, as Detective Inspector Anne Strawson investigates the older boy’s story, she uncovers a bizarre nexus of chatroom meetings, false identities, fictitious spy rings and raunchy cybersex, leading to just one conclusion: it wasn’t so much murder as suicide by internet.

Loosely inspired by an incredible but true case that happened in the North of England a few years ago, Nico Muhly’s new opera enters the secret world of the teenage bedroom to hit the panic button on the realities and risks of living our lives online.

With a libretto by Craig Lucas, screenwriter of Prelude to a Kiss and Reckless and video design by Fifty Nine Productions, whose work has been a key feature of such recent ENO triumphs as Doctor Atomic and Satyagraha, this new co-production with the Metropolitan Opera, New York, is directed by Tony Award-winner Bartlett Sher, making his UK opera debut.

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Opera: A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Coliseum Theatre

Following its South Bank Show Award-winning productions of The Turn of the Screw and Peter Grimes, ENO continues to refresh its Britten repertoire with a new staging of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Magically mixing 20th-century modernism, rich romanticism and quasi-Purcellian fantasy, Britten’s score breathes a unique air all of its own, climaxing in a hilarious parody of Italian bel canto opera for the rude mechanicals’ play.

Mirroring the composer’s lifelong nostalgia for the lost innocence of childhood, Christopher Alden, the Olivier Award-winning director of Partenope and The Makropulos Case, transplants Shakespeare’s moonlit world of woods and fairies to the hormonal hothouse of a 1960s school. With Iestyn Davies (‘one of the most glorious countertenor voices in the world today’ The Independent) and stunning singing actress Sarah Tynan (who enraptured ENO audiences in The Elixir of Love in 2010) as Oberon and Tytania, this dream cast also features the great Jamaican-born bass-baritone Sir Willard White as Bottom.

Conductor Leo Hussain; Director Christopher Alden; Set Designer Charles Edwards; Costume Designer Sue Willmington; Lighting Designer Adam Silverman

Cast includes: Iestyn Davies (Oberon); Willard White (Bottom); Sarah Tynan (Tytania); Allan Clayton (Lysander); Benedict Nelson (Demetrius); Paul Whelan (Theseus); Kate Valentine (Helena); Tamara Gura (Hermia); Michael Colvin (Flute); Graeme Danby (Snug); Peter van Hulle (Snout); Simon Butteriss (Starveling)

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Opera: Romeo Et Juliette at Royal Opera House

Shakespeare’s tragedy of doomed young love receives a wonderful interpretation in Gounod’s opera, combining all of the drama of the well-known story and the emotional and stirring music typical of the composer of Faust.

Not presented by The Royal Opera for a decade, Nicolas Joël’s production is revived with a fantastic cast conducted by French specialist Daniel Oren, and that has Piotr Beczala and Nino Machaidze/María Alejandres as the star-crossed lovers. The opera is especially famous for its love duets and for such sparkling numbers as Juliette’s Act I waltz song, but the whole score is full of passion, melody and excitement. With the many ensembles, choruses and characters it is a wonderful showcase for the talents of the Royal Opera Chorus and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House.

Sung in French with English surtitles.

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Don Pasquale at Royal Opera House from 12 Sep 2010 Until 21 Sep 2010

There are plots and schemes below stairs, above stairs and behind closed doors! The wit and intrigue of Donizetti’s domestic comedy Don Pasquale gains added piquancy in the doll’s house set of Jonathan Miller’s acutely observed production.

The quintessentially Italian Donizetti became a major figure in French opera repertory in his day, and Don Pasquale is one of his last operas written for Paris. With its contemporary costumes and a famous on-stage slap in the face, even in 1843 the harder eternal truths behind the comedy were instantly recognizable.

This cautionary tale of an elderly bachelor, his intended younger bride and her young lover is revived by The Royal Opera with a wonderful cast of soloists under the batons of Charles Mackerras and David Syrus. Íride Martínez plays the feisty ‘bride’ who gives Paolo Gavanelli as her new husband a really tough time; and all with the help of the scheming Doctor Malatesta (Jacques Imbrailo) to ensure that Ernesto (Barry Banks) gets his girl.

This is an opera whose score bursts with life and lyricism and whose drama has a few surprises along the way, especially at Don Pasquale’s expense. Sparkling coloratura, lyrical arias and moments of dramatic insight come together in one of the most loved of Donizetti comic operas.

Sung in Italian with English surtitles.

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Cosi Fan Tutte Opera at Royal Opera House

The new Royal Opera Season begins with a great audience favourite -Cosi Fan Tutte.

This great comedy with an edge brings a classic score by Mozart to a witty story of deception and trust tested to its limit. Can two apparently faithful couples have their affections altered by some apparently harmless deception?

Jonathan Miller’s ever-popular production updates the 18th-century to today – while fashions and technology may have changed since Mozart’s time, human behaviour remains as fickle and manipulative as ever.

Royal Opera favourite Thomas Allen returns in a strong cast of singers under acclaimed German conductor Thomas Hengelbrock. In this most sophisticated of operas with the most sublime of scores, no-one escapes unscathed.

Sung in Italian with English surtitles.

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Bizet’s Carmen at The O2

The O2 is set to host its first fully staged opera. Carmen, the world’s most popular opera, will take over The O2 in May 2010 for just three performances and follows on from highly successful and popular classical stagings of Carmina Burana, Andrea Bocelli and the forthcoming world premiere of Ben Hur Live at the venue.

Sung in English, Bizet’s unforgettable score contains some of opera’s finest arias and best loved music. The rousing Song of the Toreador, the beguiling Seguidilla, the tantalising Habanera and the enchanting Flower Song – sensual music that perfectly captures the very essence of Spain. Accompanied by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Gareth Hancock, this world class company of singers, musicians and artists will provide an unforgettable production of Bizet’s Carmen, staged on an epic scale.

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