|Paul Bunyan by Rick Meyerowitz and Matthew Durkan (photo: Pablo Strong)|
The English National Opera (ENO) will mount their first-ever performance of Benjamin Britten’s Paul Bunyan at Wilton’s Music Hall in East London as part of their Studio Live series, which presents opera in more intimate environments.
Paul Bunyan, with its libretto by one of England’s greatest poets W.H. Auden, is a retelling of the great American folk tale featuring the titular giant. It is one of Britten’s most eclectic scores, with blues, folk and hymns incorporated into a story of civilization's destructive relationship to the ecology around it, and the dangers of the American Dream.
Matthew Durkan talks about his time at ENO:
Barihunk Matthew Durkan, a Harewood Young Artist at ENO, will sing the antagonistic foreman Hal Helson, while. Olivier Award-winning actor Simon Russell Beale will provide the offstage voice of Paul Bunyan. The rest of the cast includes tenor Elgan Llŷr Thomas as the bookkeeper Johnny Inkslinger, soprano Rowan Pierce as Tiny and tenor William Morgan sings Hot Biscuit Slim.
Durkan, a recent graduate of the National Opera Studio, was a winner of the 2014 Stuart Burrows International Voice Award and a finalist in the 2014 Kathleen Ferrier Competition. His roles at ENO have also included Ormonte Partenope, Malcolm Fleet Marnie, Marullo Rigoletto, Demetrius A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Fiorello The Barber of Seville and Yamadori Madam Butterfly.
Performances are on September 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8. Tickets and additional cast information is available online.