English National Opera triumphed in the Opera category of the South Bank Sky Arts Awards, held yesterday at the Dorchester Hotel in London. The Awards, hosted by Melvyn Bragg, were broadcast on Sky Arts HD last night.
This latest win comes after ENO recently took both Awards for Opera in the Olivier Awards for Best New Opera Production and Outstanding Achievement in Opera. Sophie Bevan, a former ENO Young Artist, also won in The Times Breakthrough Award. Bevan starred most recently in ENO’s Der Rosenkavalier and the Olivier-winning Castor and Pollux, for which her Télaïre was described as ‘radiant’ by the Financial Times.
The Damnation of Faust was a huge critical and audience success. Directed by Monty Python star and film director legend Terry Gilliam and conducted by ENO Music Director Edward Gardner, the show also broke ENO box office records by selling in excess of £250,000 in opening week and generating over £1 million in ticket sales, playing to an audience of 21,000 over the 10 performance run in 2011. The large scale company work ranged from intimacy to grandeur with a powerful score that showcased the ENO chorus and orchestra and featured a stellar cast led by Christine Rice, Christopher Purves, Peter Hoare and Nicholas Folwell.
ENO’s Artistic Director John Berry said, “The stars of The Damnation of Faust were Edward Gardner, the chorus, orchestra, cast and wonderful stage management. I don’t know why Terry accepted the invitation to direct an opera after 30 years of offers and why he would put his head on the operatic chopping block in London. However, he was fabulous to work with and everyone at ENO loves him.”
Terry Gilliam and ENO Artistic Director John Berry collected the Award on behalf of the production from Melvyn Bragg, who later said, “With such a strong and vibrant array of winners, from Kate Bush to Matilda to the ENO, this is a wonderful opportunity to praise the incredible wealth of artistic brilliance we have in this country."