Opening the season is an audience favourite, the spectacular and otherworldly Satyagraha by the American minimalist composer Philip Glass, directed by the innovative Phelim McDermott (Thurs 14 Oct). Based on the life and work of Mahatma Gandhi, the opera, first staged by ENO in 2007 but written in 1979, mesmerises audiences with its expansive score and magical text.
The huge cast reopening ENO includes Sean Panikkar as Gandhi, James Cleverton, Ross Ramgobin and Sarah Pring. Performances are on 14, 16, 20, 34, 27, 28 Oct at 7PM, and 17 Oct at 3PM.
We are all in need of a good laugh, and giggles are guaranteed when One Man, Two Guv'nors director Cal McCrystal is let loose on Gilbert and Sullivan's comic opera HMS Pinafore. McCrystal and choreographer Lizzi Gee scored a huge hit for ENO with G&S's Iolanthe, and all the ingredients are here for another ripsnorter. The hilarious John Savournin plays the proud commander and father Captain Corcoran, with comedian Les Dennis as the class-conscious and underqualified admiral of the fleet Sir Joseph Porter.
Ross Ramgobin sings Prince Arjuna in Satyagraha. Photo: Billy Goodworthy
Elgan Llyr Thomas is deckhand Ralph and Alexandra Oomens his beloved Josephine. There are 19 performances of this great family show throughout October, November and December, including many matinees (29 Oct to 11 Dec).
The big news about a new production of Wagner's mammoth Valkyrie was announced before the rest of the season, but there should be good availability when public booking opens on 2 June. Star tenor Nicky Spence sings Siegmund with bass Matthew Rose as Wotan. An all-star cast also includes Emma Bell, Brindley Sherratt, Susan Bickley, Nadine Benjamin and Jennifer Davis.
Richard Jones directs this co-production with the Metropolitan Opera, New York. Performances are on 19, 22, 25 November, 1, 7, 10 December at 5PM, and on 28 Nov and 4 Dec at 2:30PM. Note early start times for this long opera...
Jonathan Miller's production of Puccini's heartbreaker La Bohème, first seen in 2009, returns for 13 performances (31 Jan to 27 Feb). Updated to the 1930s, this stylish and affecting production stars Nadine Benjamin and Sinéad Campbell-Wallace sharing the role of impoverished seamstress Mimì, with David Junghoon Kim as smitten Rodolfo. Look out for luxury casting as international star soprano Louise Alder sings the flirtatious Musetta.
Nadine Benjamin, seen here as flirty Musettta in La Bohème returns to ENO to sing Mimì in the same opera, and also appears in The Valkyrie. Photo: Robert Workman
Prepared to be charmed by a new production of The Cunning Little Vixen, Leos Jancek's enchanted fable, in which a fox protective of her young squares up to a ruthless forester. Sally Matthews sings the title role, with many ENO regulars in the cast of villagers and animals. Martyn Brabbins conducts the sun-filled score and Jamie Manton directs a contemporary staging in which the natural world outshines humankind...
Performances of this very special opera are on 18, 22, 24, 26 Feb and 1 March at 7:30PM, with a 3PM matinee on 20 Feb and relaxed performance on 26 Feb at 2:30PM.
Director Phelim McDermott works with a smashing cast on Mozart's Così Fan Tutte. As the lovers who are tricked into swopping partners are Nardus Williams, Hanna Hipp, Amitai Pati and Benson Wilson. Soraya Mafi sings the mischievous maid Despina, with Neal Davies as cynical Don Alfonso. This revival is another co-production with the Met and McDermott's Improbable.
Performances of Così Fan Tutte are on 10, 14, 16,18, 22 March at 7PM, and on 12 March at 6PM and 20 March at 3PM.
Soprano Soraya Mafi sings mischievous maid Despina in Mozart's Così Fan Tutte
After the massive success of the television adaptation of Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel The Handmaid's Tale, there will be huge interest in the new opera based on the novel. Danish composer Poul Ruders and librettist Paul Bentley recreate the sinister state of Gilead, in which women are groomed for childbearing.
An all-star cast includes Kate Lindsey, John Findon, Susan Bickley, Emma Bell, Elin Pritchard and Alan Oke. Joana Carneiro conducts and the director is ENO's new artistic director, Annilese Miskimmon. Performances of The Handmaid's Tale are on 4, 6, 8, 12, 14 April at 7:30PM and on 10 April at 3PM.
With seven productions in seven months, and after such a long period without a main season, here is a chance to put one opera a month into the diary. And if that's filling up already, Culture Whisper's pick of the bunch are all new productions: The Valkyrie, The Cunning Little Vixen and The Handmaid's Tale. And let your hair down with HMS Pinafore.
All operas are sung in English with English surtitles. Public booking opens on Wed 2 June
|What||English National Opera 2021/22: from Mozart to Margaret Atwood|
|Where||English National Opera, London Coliseum, St Martin's Lane, London, WC2N 4ES | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Embankment (underground)|
14 Oct 21 – 14 Apr 22, Seven productions, times vary. Booking opens 2 June
|Website||Click here for more information and booking|