The English National Opera (ENO) is set to launch ENO Drive and Live, the London-based opera company has announced. Thought to be the world’s first drive-in opera, it is a series of live performances that audiences can drive to and stay in their cars to watch.

The performances will take place in the grounds of Alexandra Palace in north London in the first three weeks of September. A specially constructed stage will allow singers and musicians to be spaced out in accordance with social-distancing regulations.

Some 300 cars will be allowed onto the grounds, with larger vehicles at the back. Motorbikes and cycles will also be given access. If successful, the ENO hopes to roll out the project to other parts of the UK.

ENO Drive and Live will feature 12 rep performances of a 90-minute shortened version of Puccini’s La bohème (The Bohemians, 1896) and a one-hour family-friendly version of The Magic Flute (Mozart, 1791). The first performance will be free for NHS and frontline workers.

The project was already in the initial planning stages, the company said. But with the London Coliseum, the ENO’s home, forced to shut due to Covid-19 these plans were brought forward.

The concept does rely on lockdown restrictions being lifted – of which we are already seeing signs – and the ENO is paying careful attention to government advice. Further details will be released on the company’s website in the coming weeks.



The drive-in performances will include a one-hour version of The Magic Flute (The Magic Flute 2019, Donald Cooper).