Four new productions offer four different treatments of the Orpheus myth. First up is Gluck's Orpheus and Eurydice (1 Oct-12 Nov, eight performances) In collaboration with Studio Wayne McGregor. It stars Sarah Connolly, Sarah Tynan and Soraya Mafi.
In another collaboration, this time with Wise Children, next comes Offenbach's boisterous Orpheus in the Underworld (5 Oct to 28 Nov, 12 performances). Director Emma Rice and Tom Morris adapt the opera freely from the original French, Sian Edwards and Valentina Peleggi conduct, and the cast includes Ed Lyon (Orpheus) Claudia Boyle (Eurydice), Willard White and Robert Hayward, Keel Watson (Mars) and Mary Bevan (Diana).
Mary Bevan sings Diana in Orpheus in the Underworld. Photo: Victoria Cadisch
The third Orpheus opera is Harrison Birtwistle's The Mask of Orpheus (18 Oct-13 Nov, five performances, directed by ENO's artistic director Daniel Kramer, The cast includes Peter Hoare (Orpheus The Man), Marta Fontanals-Simmons (Eurydice The Woman), Susan Bickley (Eurydice The Myth/Persephone) and James Cleverton.
The fourth and final Orpheus opera is minimalist composer Philip Glass's Orphée (15 -29 Nov, six performances). Director Netia Jones also translates the opera and the cast includes Nicholas Lester (Orphée), Sarah Tynan (Eurydice), Jennifer France (Princess) and Nicky Spence (Heurtebise).
There are three other new productions. Most welcome is the rarely staged Verdi grand opera Luisa Miller (12 Feb- 15 Feb, six performances). The cast of this great drama includes Elizabeth Llewellyn (Luisa), Olafur Sigurdarson (Miller), James Creswell (Count Walter), Christine Rice (Frederica) and Nadine Benjamin (Laura).
Soprano Natalya Romaniw will sing the title role in Madam Butterfly at ENO. Photo: Patrick Allen/Opera Omnia
A new production of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro (14 Mar-18 April, 10 performances) is directed by Joe Hill-Gibbins and features Božidar Smiljanić (Figaro), Louise Alder (Susanna), Johnathan McCullough (Count Almaviva), Sophie Bevan (Countess Almaviva), Hanna Hip (Cherubino) Susan Bickley (Marcellina) and Andrew Shore (Dr Bartolo).
The final production is of Dvorak's lush Rusalka (28 March-11 April), 11 performances, and featuring Corinne Winters (Rusalka), David Butt Philip (Prince), David Soar (Water Spirit), Patricia Bardon (Ježibaba) and Claire Rutter (Foreign Princess).
Three ENO favourites return. First up is Jonathan Miller's evergreen production of Gilbert and Sullivan's Mikado (8 Oct-30 Nov, 10 performances). On 23 November there is a relaxed performance for audience of all abilities. The cast includes John Tomlinson in the title role with Richard Suart (Ko-Ko), Andrew Shore (Pooh-Bah), Soraya Mafi (Yum-Yum) and Yvonne Howard (Katisha).
Soprano Corinne Winters sings the title role in Rusalka. Photo: Fay Fox
Bizet's Carmen also returns (29 Jan to 22 Feb, 10 performances), with Justina Gringytė as Carmen, and Sean Pannikar/David Butt Philip (José), and Ashley Riches (Escamillo). Valentina Peleggi conducts.
The final revival is Puccini's Madam Butterfly (26 Feb to 17 April, 12 performances), with star soprano Natalya Romaniw in the title role. Directed by the late Anthony Minghella, the cast also includes Roderick Williams and George von Bergen.
After a taxing few years, English National Opera is going into this new season with confidence, combining art forms and picking the singers audiences really want to hear. Conductor Valentina Peleggi makes several welcome appearances. Could she be London's first female music director in opera one day?
Public booking for English National Opera 2019/20 opens 10AM, Wed 24 April. All operas are sung in English with English surtitles.
|What||English National Opera 2019/20|
|Where||English National Opera, London Coliseum, St Martin's Lane, London, WC2N 4ES | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Embankment (underground)|
01 Oct 19 – 17 Apr 20, 10 productions; times vary
|Website||Click here for more information and booking|