Belfast Telegraph

English National Opera brings down curtain for those who want an early night

The plan was announced at its season launch.

The ENO announced seven new productions (Ian West/PA)
The ENO announced seven new productions (Ian West/PA)

English National Opera is experimenting with ending performances early – to allow the audience to get an early night.

The national opera company, founded in 1931, will ensure that the curtains come down by 10pm on one production per opera.

Its chief executive Stuart Murphy said the plan could be rolled out if it is a success.

He said the plan would cater for those “who like an early bed or get the train home after a performance.

“A third of people who come and see us get an overground train home after a performance,” he said.

And former TV boss Murphy told the Press Association: “We march to the beat of the drum of the audience.

“You see the audience crying, laughing or being grumpy when they leave, hopefully hardly ever grumpy.

“So, it’s a visceral experience. And so whenever we’ve tried things and it’s worked, we’ve gone bigger on it.

“We’ve got research back which said a third of people get these very reliable trains home, but they said, ‘We’d like to not have to rush to get our last train’.

“We want to try it, see if it works.”

The ENO announced seven new productions, including different takes on the Orpheus myth, and three revivals in its 2019/20 season.

Directors will include renowned choreographer Wayne McGregor and Emma Rice, the former artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe.

The season will explore how “opera can move beyond its traditional status as a place for doomed and punished women”.

More than half of the new productions are directed by women.

The ENO has previously announced that one production per opera will be surtitle free, “which excited quite a lot of people who dislike surtitles”, Murphy said.

PA

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