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Unveiling our 2021 digital season

29 Mar 2021

News Story

Rehearsals are underway for our 2021 digital season, and and we're delighted to share more of the work we'll be performing for you during our upcoming digital season. As well as broadcasts of Bach's St John Passion and our 2018 triple bill of Purcell, Carissimi and Gesualdo, the season features five new productions drawing on music from the 14th century to the present day. The whole season will be available to watch on demand after broadcast on our new video platform, ETO at Home - click here to sign up.

Guillaume de Machaut: How can I forget? (Comment oublieray)

Guillaume de Machaut (1300-1377) was a prolific poet, composer and civil servant, curating in Rheims at the end of his life a careful, beautiful and thorough record of his work. In a century of war and repeated visitations of plague, Machaut confidently mastered the innovations of poets and composers who preceded him, and created a body of work of staggering complexity and grace unlike anything else – which sounds astonishingly modern! ETO’s site-specific staging of secular motets and ballades, featuring four male singers and harp, is an introduction to a world of courtly love, dubious salvation, and yearning for peace – in the context of our own world.

Josquin des Prez: Mille Regretz (A Thousand Sorrows)

Josquin des Prez was the pre-eminent composer of the renaissance, living at the very centre of European culture. His vocal work for several voices (polyphony), and especially his religious music, is cherished the world over.

To mark the 500th anniversary of his death, Liam Steel and Jonathan Peter Kenny stage a very unusual presentation of his work with five singers and five players. The production ranges from the celestial descending figures of Josquin’s Inviolata to the outright raunchiness of Allegez-moi, an invitation to explore intimate regions of the flesh. Prepare to be surprised – and delighted, as this is not the stuff of college chapels.

Dmitri Shostakovich: Michelangelo Suite (Suite on Verses by Michelangelo Buonarroti, Op. 145)

This song cycle for bass voice and piano, regarded by the composer as his final symphony, sets the sinewy poetry of Michelangelo, pre-eminent artist of the Italian renaissance, who found himself at odds with popes and patrons on earth and with God in heaven, and who wrestled with sexuality and spirituality in a very modern voice. In the voice of the sculptor/ poet we hear clearly the voice of the composer - offering here his most complete portrait of the artist. Edward Hawkins (bass) and Sergey Rybin (piano) are directed by James Conway, following their acclaimed staging of the Romances on British Poetry as part of ETO’s Lyric Solitudes.

Elena Langer: Ariadne (setting the text by Glyn Maxwell)

English Touring Opera’s series of stagings reflecting on the role and practice of the artist in society culminates in an eloquent drama by two living artists. Ariadne is alone, abandoned by Theseus, and for the moment filled with an awareness of absence. Yet absence is defined by love – terrible and beautiful at the same time. The experience of this short opera is overwhelming, and the power of Ariadne’s lingers for a long time. In this new production, directed by choreographer Patricia Okenwa, Ariadne is played by Francesca Chiejina, with oboist Nicholas Daniel (who also gave the premiere performance of Ariadne in 2002).

Release dates will be announced soon, so make sure to sign up to our mailing list and be the first to hear - click here to sign up.