Back

Outstanding Achievement in Opera? That will be ENO, again

February 29, 2016 by norman lebrecht

24 comments.


The Olivier Awards shortlist was announced this morning.

In the category Outstanding Achievement in Opera, the nominees are

– English National Opera Chorus and Orchestra for The Force Of Destiny, Lady Macbeth Of Mtsensk and The Queen Of Spades at London Coliseum
– Felicity Palmer for The Queen Of Spades at London Coliseum
– Sir Antonio Pappano for his conducting of Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci, Guillaume Tell and Król Roger at Royal Opera House
– Tamara Wilson for The Force Of Destiny at London Coliseum.

That’s 3 out of 4 for English National Opera, which the Arts Council of Lilliput wants to demolish.

coliseum eno


Comments (24)

  1. Eddie Mars says:

    What would Henley know about opera? He’s just a DJ who failed to rise above his ‘station’. He thinks music happens when you slap a disc on the player.

    1. Anon says:

      Not a DJ. Don’t think he ever had a show.
      Started as a newsreader and rose rapidly. Intelligent guy, and a good report on music education too, even if we might disagree on his presumed approach to ENO.

      1. Eddie Mars says:

        I see… so not even a DJ, then?

        Read texts prepared by others.

        No change there, then.

        Experience in the performing arts = 0.

      2. Eddie Mars says:

        “To make my mark in the music game
        For the Traffic News I earned some fame
        Though I couldn’t tell the strings from the brass
        I announced some frightful hold-ups on the Staines By-Pass!
        [CHORUS REPLY CUT BY THE ARTS COUNCIL]
        Those traffic reports did so well for me
        That now I earn a fortune at the A.C.E.
        [CHORUS REPLY CUT BY THE ARTS COUNCIL]

        Reporting endless traffic queues
        Soon led me to a few times reading regular news
        I mangled place-names far and near
        Such as Mozambeequeue and Agadire
        [CHORUS REPLY CUT BY THE ARTS COUNCIL]
        I quickly clocked that knowing nowt
        Wouldn’t keep a pushy little chav like myself out!
        [CHORUS REPLY CUT BY THE ARTS COUNCIL]

        Now knowing things is an awful bore
        Like which instruments are shown in an orchestral score
        But knowing nothing is much more fun
        With no visible rivals, you’re the Number One!
        [CHORUS REPLY CUT BY THE ARTS COUNCIL]
        Their plans for the Choral Symphony were met
        By my programming Beethoven’s Barbershop Quartet!
        [CHORUS REPLY CUT BY THE ARTS COUNCIL]

        Now penpushers all, whoever you may be
        If you want to rise to the top of tree
        Don’t waste your time in the performing arts
        But fritter all your time away on PowerPoint Charts!
        [CHORUS REPLY CUT BY THE ARTS COUNCIL]
        Don’t bother with Keeping Music Live!
        Just send those stroppy choristers a P45!
        [CHORUS REPLY CUT BY THE ARTS COUNCIL]

        1. todd says:

          OMG! Henley posted this on Twitter and Baz retweeted!! All we have left to expect is a Vine showing a dance and a high-five on an infinite loop! All hail the twitter Baz-Henley bromance!!!!

    2. pooroperaman says:

      And he’s called Darren. Nuff said.

  2. Halldor says:

    Given that London only has two permanent opera companies, there’s a fairly high likelihood that they’re both going to feature fairly prominently in an award shortlist for best operatic achievements in London…

    1. Roger says:

      Yes, and nominating the Chorus and Orchestra of ENO would appear to have just a whiff of the political about it. I’d put some money on them winning, a result that I’m sure rival nominee Tony Pappano would applaud wholeheartedly.

      1. Peter Phillips says:

        I was at Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and Norma. Political whiffs or not, the ENO chorus and orchestra thoroughly deserve the nomination.

        1. Anon says:

          Absolutely, and to win too. Force of Destiny was a triumph. The ENO chorus are the best out there at the moment, and when the orchestra play on form, which they do more and more, they out-play all but a rare ROH experience. ENO is artistically on song.
          (ROH Krol Roger was brilliant too in fairness.)

    2. pooroperaman says:

      I was on the Olivier Opera Panel a few years ago. If my experience is anything to go by, the Outstanding Achievement shortlist is all about making points and very little about rewarding ‘achievement’.

  3. Sir Peter Jonas says:

    Norman…..how unlike you to overlook the nominees for “Philistine of the Year”! In this category I read the names of Darren Henley and Peter Bazalgette. Is it not these two who, after ravaging ENO with cuts, are now trying to extinguish the company, appropriate its assets as well as finally dumb down the ACE to a funder of blogs?

    1. norman lebrecht says:

      Peter, I have looked at the rules: Lilliputians do not qualify for awards.

    2. todd says:

      hope this doesn’t ruin the online love-in – everyone must to learn to *love* the Baz-Henley Twitter high-fives (Retweets)

      1. Abe says:

        all hail the Baz – Henley twitter bromance! retweet to your heart’s content…

  4. Leo says:

    I’m shocked that opera north hasn’t been nominated. They’ve had some of the best reviews in the country.

    1. Eddie Mars says:

      I believe that only performances given in London can be nominated. Amazing, I know – but true. ((( Take a gander at last year’s nominations, for example? WNO got a nomination – but only for a show which they performed at the ROH in London.

      1. Leo says:

        Thanks Eddie. Maybe I can nominate Opera North in advance for their forthcoming Ring Cycle at the South Bank later this year.

        1. pooroperaman says:

          No. A) Nobody outside the panel can nominate anything. B) Productions have to be fully staged to qualify. The Opera North Ring will be semi-staged at best.

      2. pooroperaman says:

        Why is this amazing? The Oliver Awards are run by the Society of London Theatre, so, by definition, they’re awards for theatre in London and nowhere else.

        Arguably (and I remember this argument being made when I was an Olivier Opera judge), shows that originate outside London shouldn’t be considered for the award, as they are basically irrelevant to the city.

        1. Eddie Mars says:

          It’s amazing that the rest of opera in Britain is excluded from representation.

        2. Leo says:

          I hope that in this day of inclusivity the olivier panel will widen the scope of their awards given that west end shows, plays go on tour throughout uk and surely it’s about time ROH and ENO toured UK more and did exchanges with Opera North, WNO, Scottish Opera. This would then hopefully encourage London centric award arrangements like the olivier to be more inclusive and recognise fantastic productions across uk.

          1. Leo says:

            I meant to add that if money can be found to move the EU Parliament every month from Brussels to Strasbourg surely ROH can move to the regions from time to time!!

    2. Halldor says:

      It’s a purely London award, though from the way it’s reported you’d think it had national significance. “Another huge Metropolitan circle-jerk”, did someone say? I certainly didn’t…


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *