It has been twenty years since The Force of Destiny was last performed at the English National Opera. So what did critics think of the opening night performance of the production directed by Calixto Bieito? 

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The Arts Desk summed the production up by saying: “this feels like a strong company project, with everyone at ENO committed to the vision of their enfant terrible director, even though this production shows worrying signs he might actually be growing up.”

Meanwhile, Mark Valencia for Whatsonstage  gave the production three stars but still found that “A thrilling Mark Wigglesworth electrifies his ENO Chorus and Orchestra in Verdi’s score.”

The Stage also awarded the production three stars, with George Hall commenting that: “Once again ENO’s high musical values to some extent rescue a misguided production.”

Bachtrack agreed with The Stage, again giving the production three stars with Mark Pullinger summing the production up by saying: “Musically compromised, dramatically underwhelming, this is not a Forza to welcome with open arms. ”

But The Independent was more optimistic, awarding Bieito’s production four stars, with Michael Church justifying it by saying: “I’ve seldom heard the ENO orchestra sound so thrilling: under Mark Wigglesworth’s inspired direction, it rose to all the challenges of this wonderful score.”

The Evening standard was even more enthusiastic, with Barry Millington giving it five stars and commenting that: “Bieito typically pulls no punches and this hard-hitting, tremendously powerful show won’t be to all tastes.”

So overall, it has received very mixed reviews, but has plenty of praise for the performances and the performers musically – even if it was felt that the production was not exactly what was expected.

The Force of Destiny is on until the 4th December. For more information visit: https://www.eno.org/whats-on/15-16/the-force-of-destiny? gclid=CP6ptrCHhskCFeoJwwodJzEOxg .

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