English National Opera’s new production of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem may be the work’s first full staging in the UK, but it’s part of this larger trend. The lineage of Daniel Kramer’s show is clear, growing out of Passion stagings by Jonathan Miller, Peter Sellars and Katie Mitchell, Claus Guth’s Messiah, Calixto Bieito’s Verdi and War Requiems, and Derek Jarman’s 1989 film adaptation of the latter.
War Requiem is one of the greatest choral works of the twentieth century. Benjamin Britten juxtaposes the anti-war poetry of Wilfred Owen with the timeless ritual of the Latin Requiem Mass. The result is a passionate outcry against man’s inhumanity to man.
Joining the production team as designer and making his ENO debut is the Turner Prize-winning artist and designer Wolfgang Tillmans. ENO Music Director Martyn Brabbins conducts this new production created to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War. ENO Artistic Director Daniel Kramer’s contemporary staging seeks to examine and process the grief of the incomprehensible loss of life from wars past and present, offering us all a hope for the future.
War Requiem is performed by the combined forces of an 80-strong chorus, a children’s choir of 40 from Finchley Children’s Music Group, the full ENO Orchestra, a chamber orchestra, and three soloists.