The world premiere of Iain Bell’s Jack the Ripper: The Women of Whitechapel, following his critically-acclaimed In Parenthesis. A disadvantaged group of working-class women are drawn together in their determination to survive the murderous terror that stalks London’s Whitechapel in 1888.
Iain Bell‘s new opera, with a libretto by Emma Jenkins, explores powerful themes of community and women struggling against the odds, posing questions about the hypocritical attitudes of ‘respectable’ society. The mythic status of the unidentified serial killer is addressed through a refreshingly modern lens, which speaks to us over a century later. With vocal and orchestral writing that always packs an emotional punch, Bell’s score features music that is mercurial and explosive one moment and heart-wrenchingly beautiful the next.
A world premiere co-produced with Opera North, this production draws on a wealth of singers long associated with ENO. These include Dame Josephine Barstow, Susan Bullock, Lesley Garrett, Marie McLaughlin, Janis Kelly, Alan Opie and Robert Hayward. Joining them is rising soprano Claudia Boyle. ENO Music Director Martyn Brabbins and Artistic Director Daniel Kramer collaborate on this important commission, which also provides a showcase for the entire ENO ensemble.
The essence of this production is suitably bleak and joyless for the subject matter, but there is not enough drama or climax to compliment all that darkness
If you’re interested in opera, past, present and future you’ll be intellectually engaged by this piece. I doubt whether anyone could fall in love with it though, or that we’ll see it revived