English National Opera has done more than its fair share to prove that not all operas are about a crusty old man being outwitted as he tries to marry his ward. Now it upholds its own high standards by staging a brand new opera about one of the most significant events of the twenty-first century.
Between Worlds represents a joint venture between ENO and the Barbican, with the world premiere taking place in the latter’s theatre on 11 April. The opera is a sensitive, spiritual and uplifting journey inspired by the events of 9/11, and brings the universal operatic themes of tragedy, loss, courage, healing and love into a contemporary context.
It explores the relationships and emotions of six individuals who were at the very centre of the tragedy. Their days may have started ordinarily enough, but trapped high up in the World Trade Center, they are forced to face the inconceivable possibility that they may never see their loved ones again.
Between Worlds is the first opera of British composer Tansy Davies, and is directed by Deborah Warner whose production of Benjamin Britten’s Death in Venice still ranks in the premiere league of ENO triumphs. The libretto is by poet Nick Drake, and was partially inspired by first-hand accounts and messages sent on the day of the tragedy and released by WikiLeaks in 2009.
Add in a cast that includes Andrew Watts and Rhian Lois, both stars of ENO’s recent revival of Handel’s Xerxes, and Susan Bickley who took the stage by storm in Monteverdi’s Orfeo at the Roundhouse in January, and Between Worlds could prove to be something rather special.
Between Worlds is at the Barbican Theatre, Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS between 11 and 25 April with start times of 3.00pm and 7.30pm. For tickets (£16-50) call 020 7638 8891 or visit the Barbican website.