It all gets off to a dramatic start with a new production of Giacomo Puccini's Tosca (13 performances, 30 Sept to 4 Nov). Christof Loy directs the opera, set in a Rome that is under the sinister control of the police. Soprano Sinéad Campbell-Wallace sings the role of the opera singer Tosca, with tenor Adam Smith as her persecuted painter lover Cavaradossi, and baritone Noel Bouley as the chief of police Scarpia.
There is light relief after that, with Gilbert and Sullivan's Tower of London-set satire, The Yeomen of the Guard (14, performances, 3 Nov to 2 Dec). Jo Davies directs, and the cast includes tenor Anthony Gregor and comical bass-baritone Neal Davies, soprano Alexandra Oomens and mezzo-soprano Susan Bickley.
ENO's talent for crossing artificial barriers between musical types comes to the fore with the UK premiere of Jake Heggie's It’s a Wonderful Life Based on the 1946 Frank Capra movie of the same name, this innovative stage production tells the heart-warming story of an ordinary man whose apparently unremarkable actions have consequences he could never have imagine. Soprano Danielle de Niese is Clara and Frederick Ballentine is George. Director and choreographer Aletta Collins makes her ENO debut (10 performances, 25 Nov to 10 Dec).
Sophie Bevan sings the jilted Micaela in Bizet's Carmen
Georges Bizet's evergreen opera Carmen returns to the Coliseum in the new year, in Calixto Bieito's fiery production. Mezzo-soprano Ginger Costa-Jackson sings Carmen, the factory worker no man can resist, with Sean Panikkar as her hapless new suitor Don Jose, soprano Sophie Bevan as Micaëla, the girlfriend he abandons, and Nmon Ford as dashing toreador Escamillo (9 performances, 1 to 24 Feb 2023).(Remendado).
Opera by opera over successive seasons, ENO is performing Richard Wagner's mighty Ring cycle. After The Valkyrie this year, next comes The Rhinegold. Richard Jones directs the tale of a mystical search, and Martyn Brabbins conducts a cast that includes John Relyea as Wotan, and Eleanor Dennis, Idunnu Münch and Katie Stevenson as the Rheinmaidens (8 performances, 18 Feb to 10 March 2023).
It was work by the American minimalist composer Philip Glass that opened the current season, and his compelling music returns with a revival of Akhnaten. Phelim McDermott's magical production again stars the otherworldly countertenor Anthony Roth Costanza as the Egyptian pharaoh defying death (9 performances 11 March to 5 April 2023).
The music of the Austrian-born American composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold is familiar to film buffs: he was a prolific Hollywood composer. But he was also the author of important work off the silver screen. The Dead City (Die tote Stadt) is among his finest pieces, a psychological drama with lush orchestral scoring. Kirill Karabits conducts and ENO artistic director Annilese Miskimmon directs a cast that includes Rolf Romei as Paul, Alien Oakes as his lost love and her doppelganger, and Dame Sarah Connolly (6 performances, 25 March to 8 April 2023).
Soprano Nadine Benjamin sings Mother in Blue. Photo: Devon Cass
Jeanine Tesori's Blue, receiving its UK premiere, will be new to most people. Blue looks at divided loyalties in African American families and communities, as a political activist clashes with his police officer father. Matthew Kofi Waldren conducts and Tinuke Craig directs. Soprano Nadine Benjamin sings Mother, Michael Sumuel is Father and Zwakele Tshabalala is Son (6 performances, 20 April to 4 May).
Finally comes much-loved music in a new form. Henryk Górecki gentle Symphony of Sorrowful Songs, with settings of words by Polish people compiled by Helena Wanda Blanzusiakówna, has become a hugely popular orchestral piece with soprano soloist. Now comes a staged version, courtesy of director and designer Isabella Bywater. Lidiya Yankovskaya conducts, and the soprano is the wonderful Nicole Chevalier in what promises to be an uplifting end to the ENO year.
Operas are sung in English with English surtitles. Public booking is open
|What||English National Opera 2022/23: the operas and artists|
|Where||English National Opera, London Coliseum, St Martin's Lane, London, WC2N 4ES | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Embankment (underground)|
30 Sep 22 – 06 May 23, Nine productions, 81 performances, start times and durations vary
|Price||£10 to £TBC|
|Website||Click here for more information and booking|