English National Opera won two Olivier Awards at yesterday’s ceremony, held at the Royal Opera House in London. The UK’s most prestigious theatre award has two categories for opera: Outstanding Achievement in Opera and Best New Opera.
ENO took the Outstanding Achievement in Opera award for ‘The Breadth and Diversity of the Artistic Programme’ and Best New Opera Production for its production of Castor and Pollux. Of a possible 8 nominations, ENO received 6 across both categories.
The double win comes shortly after a string of critically acclaimed new opera productions have opened at ENO’s home of the London Coliseum, including The Death of Klinghoffer directed by Tom Morris, Eugene Onegin directed by Deborah Warner and The Damnation of Faust, directed by Terry Gilliam, as well as those nominated in the Best New Opera Production category.
Castor and Pollux was ENO’s first ever production of a Rameau opera. ENO has an excellent reputation for staging rarely performed works and early repertoire. This production was the London debut of the provocative director Barrie Kosky and was conducted by period specialist Christian Curnyn. The production set Rameau’s 1737 opera into a timeless, placeless setting, which brought the music, singers and raw energy of the performances to the fore. The excellent cast included Allan Clayton and Roderick Williams as the legendary twins, and Sophie Bevan and Laura Tatulescu. The Sunday Telegraph described the production as ‘extraordinary’ giving it five stars, while the Observer praised its ‘outstanding cast’.
New productions A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Christopher Alden and The Passenger, directed by David Pountney were also nominated in the Best New Opera Production category.
ENO’s Artistic Director John Berry said, ‘The Company is thrilled with our Olivier Award success. So many people, including the incredible ENO Company and the creative team and artists with whom we are so honoured to work with, have contributed to this achievement. Our Award for The Breadth and Diversity of the Artistic Programme recognises the important role ENO is currently playing in the international world of opera.’
Also nominated in the Outstanding Achievement category were Richard Jones for his new production of ENO’s The Tales of Hoffmann amongst several productions and Amanda Holden for her translation of Castor And Pollux, the winning production.
ENO announces its new season for 2012/13 on 24 April.
The nominations in full in the Opera categories were:
Best New Opera Production
English National Opera’s Castor And Pollux at the London Coliseum
English National Opera’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the London Coliseum
English National Opera’s The Passenger at the London Coliseum
ROH2’s Clemency (in association with Scottish Opera) at the Linbury Studio, Royal Opera House
Outstanding Achievement in Opera
ENO for the breadth and diversity of its artistic programme
Amanda Holden for her translation of Castor And Pollux at the London Coliseum
Richard Jones for his direction of Anna Nicole and Il Trittico at the Royal Opera House and The Tales Of Hoffmann at the London Coliseum
Mark-Anthony Turnage for his composition of Anna Nicole at the Royal Opera House and Twice Through The Heart at Sadler’s Wells.