English National Opera has announced that the UK premiere of Jake Heggie‘s 2016 opera, It’s a Wonderful Life, based on the beloved 1946 Frank Capra movie of the same name, will open the Christmas period at the London Coliseum from 25 November to 10 December 2022.
A family friendly opera, perfect for first-time opera goers of all ages, this is an all-singing, all-dancing tale of hope and redemption sprinkled with a smattering of festive magic.
It’s a Wonderful Life tells the story of George Bailey, a humble man of humble origins in a humble small town. Having sacrificed many of his own dreams to help others around him, George is driven to breakdown, only to be shown by his guardian angels how his life enriches his community in ways he could never imagine.
Danielle de Niese will make her ENO operatic debut as protagonist George Bailey’s guardian angel Clara, alongside Frederick Ballentine as George.
The cast also includes: Michael Mayes, making his ENO debut as Henry F Potter; Jennifer France as Mary Hatch Bailey; Ronald Samm as Uncle Billy; Gweneth Ann Rand as Mother Bailey; and Segomotso Shupinyaneng as Helen Bailey. Keri Fuge is joined by current ENO Harewood Artists Idunnu Münch, Zwakele Tshabalala, and Ossian Huskinson to make up the quartet of angels.
It’s a Wonderful Life has a libretto by Gene Scheer and will be directed and choreographed by Aletta Collins, in her ENO directorial debut. Experienced Heggie conductor, Nicole Paiement, will also make her ENO debut in the pit.
The creative team also includes: Set Designer Giles Cadle; Costume Designer Gabrielle Dalton; and Lighting Designer Andreas Fuchs.