ENO tackles anti-war epic

An opera in three acts, three film screens and over 100 musicians

Nisa Berzeg, a Soho table-dancer, makes the leap into the grandest of grand opera as a waitress in a tavern in Soldiers at the London Coliseum.

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

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