Channel 4 to screen ENO and Taylor-Wood operas

Liz Thomas

Channel 4 is teaming up with English National Opera and artist Sam Taylor-Wood to bring a range of operas to television.

The broadcaster and ENO have jointly commissioned an opera film titled Gaddafi, about the life of the once-reviled Libyan leader. The production will be performed on stage and transmitted on screen next year. Taylor-Wood’s project is a drama based on her years working behind the scenes in the costume department of the Royal Opera House but is still in the early stages of development. Channel 4 is also working with critically acclaimed composer Jonathan Dove on new opera Apollo 11, which is being made for television by Vicar of Dibley and Mr Bean production house Tiger Aspect.

Jan Younghusband, arts and performance commissioning editor, said: “I want Channel 4 to provide a canvas for new work and to provide a nurturing and supportive environment for artists, filmmakers and writers to express the arts on screen. If we can bring the best of television and film craft to the arts we will succeed in communicating [the arts] to a mainstream audience.”

The new commissions follow on from the channel’s project with leading producer Sonia Friedman The Play’s the Thing, which will see an original play by a new writer put on at the New Ambassador’s Theatre and the process broadcast on television. Also coming up is Ballet Hoo! a joint venture with Birmingham Royal Ballet and charity Youth at Risk that will follow aspiring amateur dancers as they train for roles in the ensemble of Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet next year. Michael Waldman, who worked on Operatunity and Musicality, is directing the series.

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