After the success of Sweeney Todd in concert with the New York Philharmonic in March of this year, Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson return in their roles for thirteen performances at the London Coliseum.
It will be the first musical under the new collaboration between English National Opera and the GradeLinnit Company, which will see several semi-staged musicals and one fully staged musical a year for the next five seasons.
Emma Thompson first came in to the spotlight in London as the first cast in the Me and My Girl revival in the mid-80s. Now after 25 years away she returns as the meat-pie maker, Mrs Lovett. Of her performance earlier this year, the New York Times said,
Could she sing? Could she ever; the performance was by virtually all measures a triumphant one. Scuttling around the stage with a variety of silly walks, jabbering in a perfect cockney accent, and singing with impressive range and assurance (some more careful, less characterful stretches in her higher range notwithstanding), she put a lively personal stamp on the role.
Of course, Terfel's vocal prowess has made him a world opera star. and he has already sung the role of the demon barber in a fully fledged staging of Stephen Sondheim's opera-musical at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 2002. In March, the NY Times wrote,
His rich, pitch-dark voice soared into the auditorium with an enveloping intensity, filling the hall with Sweeney's thundering avowals of vengeance for the brutal treatment of his beloved wife. Mr. Terfel's acting wasn't always as expressive as his singing; he's got a mean, curled-lip snarl, but it seemed to do duty for just about all of Sweeney's moods.
During the press conference, Thompson said of her London theatre absence,
It's about what comes along. It's what happens at the time and what you think sounds interesting. My mum worked in the theatre when I was little and as I discussed with her. It's hard because you're leaving your children just as they come home from school. Regarding timings, film sometimes seemed to fit slightly better.
She added that she had never felt as frightened as when she went out to perform Mrs Lovett in New York,
I'm hoping for a slight improvement in London, and what I mean by that is no nausea. If I can manage the fear without the nausea I will be really happy. Because I was frightened.
Sweeney Todd: 13 performances from 30 March – 12 April
Priority booking is now open for ENO Opera Circle patrons.
Public booking opens Tuesday 23 September from 10am.
Tickets for Sweeney Todd are priced from £10 – £125, with 300 seats available at £10 for every performance.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.