Following the sell-out success of Acis and Galatea in June, ENO continues its Studio Live programme with its very first production of Benjamin Britten’s ‘Paul Bunyan‘, with Olivier Award-winning actor Simon Russell Beale providing the offstage voice of the titular giant in his first performance with ENO.
In a first for the company, ENO will perform in the historic setting of Wilton’s Music Hall, the world’s oldest grand music hall.
Directed by Jamie Manton, designed by Camilla Clarke and conducted by ENO Mackerras Fellow, Matthew Kofi Waldren, Paul Bunyan opens on Monday 3 September for just 6 performances.
Paul Bunyan, with its libretto by one of England’s greatest poets, W.H. Auden, is a retelling of the great American folk tale featuring the titular giant. It is one of Britten’s most eclectic scores, with blues, folk and hymns incorporated into a story of civilisation’s destructive relationship to the ecology around it, and the dangers of the American Dream.
The cast will include: ENO Harewood Artist Elgan Llŷr Thomas as Paul’s bookkeeper, Johnny Inkslinger and Harewood Artist Rowan Pierce as Paul’s daughter, Tiny, as well as Harewood Artists William Morgan and Matthew Durkan as Tiny’s lover Hot Biscuit Slim and Paul’s antagonistic foreman Hel Helson respectively.
Many of the roles are taken by members of the award-winning ENO Chorus, who create the dreamlike ensemble of cooks, cats, dogs and lumberjacks of the great American forest. Bringing Chorus members into principle roles continues a practice from 2017’s Studio Live, and will also be seen in September’s production of Salome at the Coliseum.
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