Nico Muhly’s Marnie

Nico Muhly’s new opera, “Marnie,” opens at English National Opera.

Nico is a composer wunderkind. The KT Wong Foundation supported his previous opera Two Boys, a co-production between Metropolitan Opera of New York and English National Opera.

Nico has built a reputation and fan base that stretch across traditional genre lines. In college he worked as an assistant to Philip Glass, and he has collaborated with pop artists like Björk and Anohni, the songwriter and singer formerly known as Antony Hegarty, while producing a considerable and well-regarded oeuvre of orchestral and chamber works, as well as numerous scores for dance.

Marnie is a compelling psychological thriller set in England during the late 1950s. A young woman makes her way through life by embezzling from her employers, before she moves on and changes her identity. When her current boss Mark Rutland catches her red-handed, he blackmails her into a loveless marriage. Marnie is left with no choice but to confront the hidden trauma from her past.

Following Two Boys in 2011, this is the composer Nico Muhly’s second world premiere for ENO. With a libretto by Nicholas Wright, Marnie is based on the novel by Winston Graham, by special arrangement with Universal Pictures. It examines the cost of freedom, the limitations of forgiveness and the impossibility of escaping the past, in music that is direct and powerful.

Tony Award-winning director Michael Mayer makes his UK opera debut, collaborating with ENO Music Director Martyn Brabbins. Grammy Award-winning mezzo Sasha Cooke sings the title role, while acclaimed bass-baritone Daniel Okulitch sings Mark Rutland. They are joined by ENO favourite Lesley Garrett.

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