English National Opera (ENO) has announced two ENO Studio Live productions for spring 2020. The programme comprises a new production of Judith Weir’s Blond Eckbert (1994) and the first revival of Jonathan Dove’s The Day After (2017).

Performed outside of the London Coliseum, home of the ENO, Studio Live presents opera in smaller and more intimate spaces, bringing the company’s work to new audiences that may not have considered the artform before. It provides a showcase for emerging talent including singers from the Harwood Artist’s programme, directors, conductors and chorus members.

British composer Judith Weir wrote the words and music for Blond Eckbert; the libretto is based on the 1797 fairytale ‘Der Blonde Eckbert’ by German poet and writer Ludwig Tieck. The production will take place at Lilian Bayliss House in West Hampstead, London.

Happy together in their forest cabin Eckbert and Berthe are content with their solitude. But when Eckbert asks his wife to tell a visiting friend the story of her childhood, he starts a chain of events that leads to the destruction of everything they know.

This new production, directed by ENO Staff Director Chloe Christian, is a shortened one-act chamber version of the opera. Olivia Clarke conducts. ENO Harewood Artist Matthew Durkan leads the cast as Blond Eckbert, with Claire Barnett-Jones as his wife Berthe. Fellow Harewood Artist John Findon sings the roles of Blond Eckbert’s friends Walter, Hugo and the old woman. Winner of the 2017 Leonard Ingrams Award, Alison Rose sings the Bird, the story’s narrator.

Based on the myth of Phaeton from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, with a libretto by acclaimed dramatist April de Angelis, Jonathan Dove’s The Day After uses the apocalyptic vision of the sun scorching the earth to explore the issue of climate change. Set after a global catastrophe, the survivors relive the events that led to the disaster.

This choral version of the opera will be staged at Alexandra Palace Theatre in Wood Green, north London. ENO Harewood Artist Elgan Llŷr Thomas leads the cast as Phaeton, while conductor Mark Biggins takes up the baton. Jamie Manton directs.

The Day After runs from 30 April-2 May. Performances of Blond Eckbert take place from 20-23 May. Tickets are on sale now.



Johnathan Dove’s The Day After and Judith Weir’s Blond Eckbert make up the programme for this spring’s ENO Studio Live.