Luisa Miller Giuseppe Verdi. English National Opera, London Coliseum, to 6th March 2020 3*** Mark Courtice

Luisa Miller by Guiseppe Verdi, Opera in 3 acts, libretto by Salvadore Cammarano after Schiller’s Kabale und Liebe (Intrigue and Love). English translation by Martin Fitzpatrick.


English National Opera, London Coliseum, St Martin’s Lane, London WC2N 4ES  020 7845 9300

Co-production with Oper Wuppertal
Supported by a syndicate of donors.

Performances    15 19 21 28 Feb, 06 Mar 2020 7.30 p.m.

Pre performance talk   21 Feb 2020

The ENO Under 18s scheme gives those aged 5-17 a free Balcony ticket for any Friday, Saturday and opening night performance of their operas in the 2019/20 Season at the London Coliseum.

Running time 2hours 45 minutes, one interval.


Review Mark Courtice:  12th February 2020

It’s clear from the off – two youngsters write amore on the pristine white walls. It’s a love story we’re looking at in the black and white world of this production. Verdi may have wanted to explore the collision between the aristocracy and the bourgeoisie, but there are no politics here.

Louise loves Carlo. Actually he is Rodolpho, for whom his father Count Walter has other marriage plans, their love is doomed.

Staging this story in a white box, with encroaching graffiti and black blood dripping down the walls, throws the weight of the opera onto the cast, a challenge easily met by their superb singing, if not always by the acting. Despite the power and clarity of his voice, David Junghoon Kim’s Rodolpho starts out wet but comes into his own later, especially in an energetic fight scene. To begin with one wonders whether Luisa might better off going for wicked rival suitor Wurm, played with glowering presence and a sumptuous voice by bass Soloman Howard. The baddies here are really bad, with James Creswell’s Count Walter and the evil Wurm a great double act.

Elizabeth Llewellyn is a fabulous singer, secure and lyrical throughout, but what she is thinking and feeling is less clear. Luisa’s reaction to the climactic poisoning is confusing, is she reconciled to Rodolpho, or not?

Andrew Lieberman‘s set is reflected by the costumes, the villagers appear in sort of black and white pierrot costumes and become more funereal and spider-like as time passes. The direction’s much less effective, for example poor Kim has to sing an important aria while being upstaged by his younger self scrawling on the wall, Christine Rice as Federica moves from equivocal to full-blown termagant in a beat. Subtlety is sacrificed to the physical and psychological monochrome of the concept.

Alexander Joel    Conductor

Barbora Horáková  Director

Andrew Lieberman  Set Designer

Eva-Maria Van Acker  Costume Designer

Michael Bauer  Lighting Designer

James Rosental  Choreographer

Martin Fitzpatrick  Translator



Elizabeth Llewellyn  Luisa

Olafur Sigurdarson  Miller

David Junghoon Kim  Rodolfo

James Creswell  Count Walter

Christine Rice  Federica

Soloman Howard  Wurm

Nadine Benjamin  Laura

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