London’s English National Opera (ENO) has revealed that it is one of several music artists and organisations to have been commissioned for EuroFestival. This two-week-long cultural festival will take place in host city Liverpool from 1-14 May. The grand final itself takes place at Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena on 13 May.
ENO’s contribution is one of 24 newly commissioned works from a huge range of artists and organisations. English National Opera does Eurovision is being created by ENO and will be a unique show bringing together two very different musical worlds into one epic outdoor performance with live chorus and orchestra.
The new production will see the world-renowned ENO Chorus and Orchestra, conducted by Stephen Bell, joined by former Eurovision contestants and international opera stars to perform classical arrangements of some of the annual song contest’s greatest hits.
Winning Eurovision songs, interval acts such as Riverdance and Eurovision’s long-standing theme music – Charpentier’s ‘Te Deum’ – will be given the orchestral treatment. With bright costumes, rousing choirs, fabulous divas and sing-along tunes, the production promises to perfectly capture the spirit of Eurovision.
Although there have been no announcements as to who will be performing or which songs have been chosen, Scottish tenor Nicky Spence can be seen singing an operatic version of Euphoria on ENO’s YouTube channel. This was Swedish contestant Loreen’s winning entry to the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest.
The recording was described by Spence on his Twitter account as “very fun to make” and “slightly camp” – which could equally be applied to the song contest as a whole.
EuroFestival will take place at venues and outdoor spaces across Liverpool, including the iconic cathedral. Although full details of the programme are yet to be released, 19 of the 24 projects are collaborations between British and Ukrainian artists. The majority of the works have been inspired by the Eurovision 2023 slogan ‘United by Music’.
Liverpool is hosting the song contest after the UK offered to take it on, having come second to the Ukrainian rap act Kalush won last year’s competition. Traditionally, the previous year’s winning country hosts the contest.
One of EuroFestival’s most spectacular large-scale events is the Blue and Yellow Submarine Parade. This huge outdoor underwater-themed disco will make its way through the city to kickstart the party on 5 May. It is being produced by The Kazimier, producers of immersive audiovisual arts shows.
The parade will feature a giant drumming octopus, jellyfish and a big disco puffer fish, as well as the iconic submarine. The Kazimier is also looking for volunteers to take part in the parade. More than 150 performers and makers will be able to work alongside the team’s specialist designers and musicians.
Anyone can sign up and no experience or particular skills are needed as workshops and rehearsals will cover everything. Volunteers will have to be available on 5 May for the parade and the evenings of 1 and 3 May for rehearsals. Performers and makers wishing to take part can register their interest via a Google Form.
Another collaboration sees producer Jez Collins, Music Saves UA and Liverpool arts enterprise Open Culture to deliver a simultaneous rave in Liverpool and Kyiv, which will be streamed across the world. The commission recognises the uniting power of music and the resilience of Ukrainians throughout the last year to keep making music, dancing and celebrating culture.
Music Saves UA is an initiative by the Ukrainian Association of Music Events (UAME) to help those in need during the war in Ukraine.
Izyum to Liverpool by Ukrainian artist Katya Buchatska will transform the iconic Liverpool Cathedral into a train carriage replicating the journey from Izyum to the border with Poland. Filmed in real time, the piece offers an extraordinary window into the landscape of Ukraine as it is today and also serves as a reminder of the spirit and resilience of the Ukrainian people.
The chosen commissions were selected through a process which included the BBC, British Council, Ukrainian Institute and Culture Liverpool. Further details are yet to be announced, with information to be available from Visit Liverpool.
English National Opera does Eurovision is one of 24 new commissions for EuroFestival, a fortnight-long celebration of all things Eurovision in Liverpool this May.