Operas by contemporary composers take centre stage at ENO

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Adams, Albarn, Glanert and Rihm feature in 2011/12 season

From an opera about schizophrenia, to a work about the Holocaust, ENO’s new season promises to be both political and controversial. The programme boasts four operas by living composers and a total of 11 new productions.

John Adams's The Death of Klinghoffer, about the 1985 hijacking of the cruise ship, the Achille Lauro, will be directed by Tom Morris (director of the musical War Horse). The opera caused considerable outrage at its premiere in 1991 and has rarely been performed since.

Another politically-inclined work, Mieczysław Weinberg’s, The Passenger, gets its UK premiere at the hands of David Pountney. Weinberg (1919-1996) tackles the guilt, denial and absolution connected with the Holocaust.

The season finale is the London premiere of Damon Albarn’s Doctor Dee, about an Elizabethan courtier who is rumoured to be the inspiration behind Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus. Albarn, who is best known as the frontman of pop group Blur, has written the opera as part of the London 2012 festival, to coincide with the Olympic games.

Other new productions include Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, directed by Fiona Shaw, and Castor and Pollux, the first-ever ENO staging of a work by Rameau.

Elizabeth Davis