Henley Festival has long been the perfect setting for the great classics and for the world of opera.
By popular demand the Festival welcomes one of the UK’s foremost opera companies – the English National Opera – who make a rare foray away from their historic home, the London Coliseum. With soloists, full orchestra and chorus and under the baton of ENO Music Director Martyn Brabbins, their repertoire is taken from many of the greatest operas including Carmen, The Marriage of Figaro, Madam Butterfly, Turandot and La Traviata. The evening is hosted by ENO’s master of the topical adaptation Richard Suart who will also top the evening off with I’ve got a little list from Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Mikado written specially for the occasion.
The ENO Orchestra performs a diverse range of opera repertoire, from Charpentier’s Medea to Wagner’s The Mastersingers of Nuremburg. In recent years, the ENO Orchestra has also performed a range of work from traditional and modern ballet performance and film scores to our semi-staged musicals.
Performances are regularly broadcast by BBC Radio 3 and screened live to cinemas worldwide as part of ENO Screen. Recordings of the ENO orchestra range from Janácek’s The Makropulos Case, to Verdi’s Macbeth as part of Chandos’s Opera in English series. The Orchestra also participates in a side-by-side mentoring scheme, ENO Evolve, in which students from the Royal College of Music shadow ENO players gaining valuable experience of life in a professional opera orchestra. The ENO Orchestra are passionately involved in the work of ENO Baylis, our learning and participation team, notably taking part in Opera Squad which brings the world of opera to life in the schools across London. In May 2017 the ENO Orchestra performed at the inaugural ENO Studio Live performances, which is part of our investment in talent development.
The ENO Chorus is one of the finest professional operatic ensembles in the UK today.
Tracing its roots to the founding of Sadler’s Wells Opera Company by Lilian Baylis in 1931, the ENO Chorus is committed to bringing opera sung in English to the widest possible audiences in thrilling and theatrically inventive productions.
The ENO Chorus plays a key role in the company ensemble, performing repertoire from Henry Purcell to Philip Glass and recent notable successes include major new productions of Otello, The Mastersingers of Nuremberg, The Queen of Spades, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and The Force of Destiny and the world premiere of Julian Andersen’s The Thebans.
Members of the ENO Chorus regularly perform principal roles at ENO, and participate in the work of ENO Baylis, the company’s learning and participation team.
At the 2016 Laurence Olivier Awards, the ENO Chorus and Orchestra won the award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera, and the Chorus were named Chorus of the Year at the 2016 International Opera Awards.
Martyn is currently Music Director at English National Opera, Music Director of the Huddersfield Choral Society, and Visiting Professor at the Royal College of Music.
He has had a busy opera career since his early days at the Kirov and more recently at La Scala, the Bayerische Staatsoper, and regularly in Lyon, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Antwerp. He is a popular figure at the BBC Proms and with many of the UK’s top orchestras, and regularly conducts top international orchestras, returning to the Royal Concertgebouw, Tokyo Metropolitan and Deutsche Sinfonieorchester Berlin this season. Known for his advocacy of British composers, he has conducted hundreds of world premieres across the globe. He has recorded over 120 CDs to date, including prize-winning discs of operas by Korngold, Birtwistle and Harvey.