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The English National Opera (ENO) has unveiled its 2012/13 programme and confirmed the inclusion of two brand new pieces of work. The first, by acclaimed composer Philip Glass, is The Perfect American and will have its UK premier in June 2013. The second, Sunken Garden, is a collaboration between Dutch composer Michael Van der As and Cloud Atlas writer David Mitchell.
Glass’ opera, which will receive its world premiere in Madrid next January, is likely to prove to be a controversial choice. Based on Peter Stephan Jungk’s 2004 novel of the same name, The Perfect American focuses on the last years of Walt Disney’s life and presents the pioneering filmmaker as a misogynist racist. The novel provoked a storm of complaints thanks to its blend of fact and fantasy.
The ENO has confirmed that the opera won’t feature any of Disney’s iconic creations though it will include re-imagined versions of them. Artistic director John Berry has warned parents that the production will be inappropriate for young children.
Elsewhere, The Sunken Garden is reported to be using electronic instruments in its score and has been described as an “occult film mystery opera”.
Also added to the ENO’s 2012/13 programme is the first full staging since 1951 of Vaughan Williams’ The Pilgrim’s Progress. The opera was last performed as part of the Festival of Britain. Revivals of The Magic Flute and Don Giovanni are also included in the schedule.
The ENO's artistic director John Berry said of the new season: "Our sights are set on keeping ENO relevant and the exciting home for modern opera in London".