Just in: ENO hires a consultant from La La Land

Just in: ENO hires a consultant from La La Land


norman lebrecht

March 09, 2017

The artistic director needs support, apparently.

Press release:


Multi award-winning music producer and composer Marius de Vries will be working with English National Opera (ENO) as Creative Consultant, with immediate effect.

Liaising closely with ENO Artistic Director Daniel Kramer, de Vries will advise on future projects for staging at the London Coliseum. Drawing on his exceptional knowledge of the music, theatre and film industries, he will contribute to a series of daring projects combining and colliding opera with popular music and electronic music as well as other genres to bring ENO’s work to an audience that may never have considered engaging with opera before.

Marius de Vries has been involved in some of the most culture-defining recordings and soundtracks of the past three decades. He has written, arranged and produced across a wide range of styles and genres for artists such as Madonna, Bjork, David Bowie, David Gray, Massive Attack, Chrissie Hynde and Annie Lennox. In the film and theatre world, his work includes music direction, score composition and song productions for Baz Luhrmann, George Lucas, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Matthew Vaughn, Zack Snyder and Daniel Kramer. De Vries was the Music Director for Baz Lurhmann’s Moulin Rouge! (2001) and also worked with Nellee Hooper on the soundtrack for Lurhmann’s Romeo and Juliet. He has won two BAFTA awards, an Ivor Novello Award, and four Grammy nominations for soundtrack and record production. Most recently De Vries was the Music Director and Music Producer for La La Land, which won both Music awards – song and score – at this year’s Oscars.

It is understood that De Vries will not take payment for his involvement.


  • Alexander says:

    Does ENO go la-la ?

  • Richard Gibbs says:

    If ENO had got themselves properly back on track with their core business then this might be viewed as an interesting development. As it is, with its seasons reduced to fewer productions and performances, it come across as something of a gimmick. ENO may not be very good at producing opera seasons but they sure know how to deflect attention albeit momentarily. It really is La La Land on St Martins Lane.

  • Music Lover says:

    Next season should be back to the usual length.

  • Anne Evans says:

    Good grief. This is surely the end of ENO as a serious organisation. They must be desperate.
    Anne Evans

    • Paul Kelly says:

      Anne Evans, I beg to differ. If the Arts Council are not going to fund ENO to be a ‘conventional’ opera company, then they have to look to a new model. Marius De Vries has an outstanding music production cv mostly at the ‘arty end of rock’ that takes in Annie Lennox, Bjork, Rufus Wainwright and Elbow as well as working with Baz Lurmann and writing a full length Ballet score. This is an intriguing and potentially smart appointment that could open up ENO to all sorts of interesting developments and collaborations. And unlike Norman’s headline, I suspect it won’t be La La Land. De Vries is much too left field Rock and Roll for that. And they are getting him for nothing, so if nothing comes of it, it comes at no direct cost. That’s what I call canny.

    • David Osborne says:

      Dear Anne Evans. Really you? If so can I please say that I still get goosebumps just thinking about your “Siegmund, Sieh auf mich” in the Kupfer Bayreuth Ring.

      That said, you are so wrong on this. ENO faces real challenges, perhaps even for it’s long-term survival, so when they bring a highly talented individual like Marius de Vries on board, someone who will have a genuinely fresh perspective- well, surely initiatives like this should be applauded.

      You are of course a great artist but, just as with the great conductor of the aforementioned Ring, your generation have been the custodians of an art-form in steep decline. So please don’t be so resistant to change, continuation of the old ways is simply not an option.

  • Olivia M says:

    I can see why the Artistic Director would need assistance as he’s currently directing a play at the Globe Theatre, and therefore absent from his building, and then he’ll be in Belgium directing another opera through May/June… As a part-time Artistic Director, which the above schedule implies, it makes sense to have an consultant in a way I suppose, but why not select someone with operatic experience?

  • Caravaggio says:

    “exceptional knowledge of the music, theatre and film industries” – excellent! Would it not be useful to have exceptional knowledge of the opera industry, however?

  • Paul Dawson-Bowling says:

    It is not only a matter of Arts Council Funding. If ENO would concentrate on staging opera after the composers’ intentions British singers instead of putting on daft productions, all so “interesting and provocative” like that dreadful Tristan, they would stop losing their paying audiences and would not need to resort to endless inane gimmicry.

    That Tristan was typical of the haemorrhage. A party of twenty people came to it from Manchester. Their most knowledgable Wagnerian walked out after Act II; nobody enjoyed it and the disappointed organiser is not going to rush at the next opportunity to bring a party of 20 to ENO.

    It would also help ENO if they hired less expensive high quality British singers instead of largely preferring any semi-competent foreigners.