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What is the English National Opera for? Visits to the London Coliseum and a new official history have left me none the wiser

By Martin Kettle   December 2009

Rupert Goold’s Turandot: a bull in a Chinese restaurant

On successive nights at the London Coliseum at the end of October, the English National Opera showed its best artistic face to the world, quickly followed by its worst. The good ENO was a revival of David McVicar’s taut 2007 production of Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of the Screw, conducted by Charles Mackerras, true to the piece and as well executed as you will ever hear and see. The bad was Rupert Goold’s bull-in-a-Chinese-restaurant mutilation of Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot, a deeply depressing show which seemed downright hostile to the work…

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