ENO was today awarded the last ever South Bank Show Award in the Opera category for its 2009 sell-out production of Peter Grimes directed by David Alden and conducted by ENO Music Director Edward Gardner. This is the third year running that ENO has won the South Bank Show Award (last year for ENO and the Young Vic’s co-productions of Lost Highway and Punch and Judy and in 2008 for David McVicar’s production of The Turn of the Screw). Last year ENO won all four available UK opera awards for the Company’s work in 2008.

Commenting on the news, ENO Artistic Director John Berry said,

‘Winning this award for Peter Grimes highlights how ENO’s creative influence both in the UK and overseas has gained pace over the last three seasons. We have brought together an incredible creative team for this production co-produced with De Vlaamse Opera, Opera de Oviedo and Deutsche Oper Berlin. It is a tribute to David Alden’s visionary talent, Edward Gardner’s superb conducting, and spellbinding performances by the cast and ENO’s Orchestra and Chorus’.

Peter Grimes has a special association for ENO as the world premiere of the piece, conducted by Reginald Goodall in 1945, was the work that re-opened Sadler's Wells Theatre after the war. ENO continues its commitment to placing the work of Benjamin Britten at the heart of the Company and follows highly acclaimed productions of Neil Armfield’s Billy Budd, Deborah Warner’s Death in Venice and David McVicar’s The Turn of the Screw. Over 19,000 came to see the sell-out production of Peter Grimes demonstrating ENO’s growing audiences for 20th and 21st century works.

Peter Grimes was directed by David Alden who has staged many of ENO’s most memorable productions including Mazeppa, Simon Boccanegra, Tristan and Isolde, Ariodante and most recently his 2006 double Olivier Award-winning production of Janáček’s Jenufa and acclaimed production of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor. The first revival of Lucia di Lammermoor opens at the Coliseum on 4 February (8 performances) and David Alden’s new production of Janáček’s Katya Kabanova opens on 15 March (6 performances) continuing ENO’s Janáček cycle.

ENO Music Director Edward Gardner conducted the work which with its evocative sea interludes and powerful vocal writing provided a showcase for the Company’s Chorus and Orchestra. The cast was led by Stuart Skelton in the title role alongside Amanda Roocroft, as Ellen Orford; Gerald Finley singing his first Balstrode; Felicity Palmer as Mrs Sedley; Leigh Melrose as Ned Keene, Matthew Best as Swallow and Michael Colvin as Bob Boles.

This production was designed by Paul Steinberg who has collaborated with David Alden on numerous productions, costume design by Brigitte Reiffenstuel, winner of a South Bank Show Award for her Julius Caesar costumes at Glyndebourne and whose ENO costume credits include La bohème, Tosca, Lucia di Lammermoor and Boris Godunov; Adam Silverman was the lighting designer with movement by Maxine Braham.

Daniel Kramer who directed ENO’s production of Bartók’s Duke Bluebeard’s Castle was also nominated for The Times Breakthrough Award for opera.

 

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