The English National Opera's London premiere of Soldiers, Bernd Alois Zimmermann's rarely staged 1960s anti-war opera, has been both acclaimed as a masterpiece of multi-media and total theatre and rejected as unperform-able. Based on an 18th-century play, and first performed in Cologne in 1965, the score calls for an augmented orchestra of 100-plus, five conductors, three film screens and four offstage percussion groups - with enough gear to stage a war themselves.
Directed by Michael Freeman, Eno's production has been described as contemporary opera's ultimate challenge.
There are further performances on 26, 28 November, and 5, 10, 12 December. (Booking: 0171-632 8300)
Critics, Real Life, p11
Photograph by LAURIE LEWIS