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The ENO premieres a new production of Danish Poul Ruders’ opera “The Handmaid’s Tale”.

Speaking to The New York Times, Miskimmon said she chose The Handmaid’s Tale for her English National Opera debut because the institution was founded with the idea of creating “opera for everyone” and the Margaret Atwood novel on which it is based is well known in the UK, and its popularity has only grown thanks to the TV series released in 2017. Both it and Ruders’ opera imagine a distopic future 22th Century in which fertile women are used as mere reproductive elements given the plummeting birth rate.

Ruders’ opera premiered in Copenhagen in 2000, with a libretto written by British actor Paul Bentley (famous for his role as High Septon in Game of Thrones). Two and a half hours long, Danish composer Ruders’ score is influenced by minimalism, medieval chant and gospel music. The new production is directed by Portuguese conductor Joana Carneiro (Lisbon, 1976) and the cast includes mezzo-sopranos Kate Lindsey in the title role of Offred, with Susan Bickley as her mother, soprano Emma Bell as Aunt Lydia and John Findon as Luke.

© Photograph by Catherine Ashmore downloaded from the English National Opera website.