Review Round Up: Marnie, English National Opera

This world premiere of Nico Muhly’s latest work based on Winston Graham’s novel and Alfred Hitchock’s film is now playing at the London Coliseum. But what have critics been saying about it? 

Marnie is a compelling psychological thriller set in England during the late 1950s. A young woman makes her way through life by embezzling from her employers, before she moves on and changes her identity. When her current boss Mark Rutland catches her red-handed, he blackmails her into a loveless marriage. Marnie is left with no choice but to confront the hidden trauma from her past.

The Guardian: *** “The score has passages of undeniable beauty. Muhly twins each protagonist with an orchestral instrument. An oboe, by turns elegant and shrill, probes Marnie’s psyche. Growling trombones suggest Mark’s desire, while a trumpet, sleazy yet poised, conveys Terry’s louche charm.”

The Telegraph: ** “ENO’s new Music Director Martyn Brabbins conducts with enthusiastic commitment, but there is little of substance for the orchestra to get their teeth into.”

The Independent: *** “Marnie is still a diverting and inoffensive evening of music-theatre which will probably delight the conservative Metropolitan Opera audience when this co-production travels there. ”

The Stage: ***** “Together with ENO’s top-quality cast, librettist Nicholas Wright, director Mayer and the composer handle difficult subject matter and some tricky scenes with sensitivity as well as responsibility.”

Culture Whisper: ***** “With its sexual politics, eye-catching style, pure musicality and edge-of-the-seat drama, Marnie is a thriller on many levels.”

WhatsOnStage: ** “What a missed opportunity for expressionism, and for the exploration of interior emotions.”  “Marnie is an impressive achievement and a very striking contemporary opera.” ” A gripping evening of operatic drama worth every one of the five stars it will surely receive.”

The FT: **** “Marnie is an opera that should be gripping and is not. But its persistent questioning of identity seeps into the consciousness.”

Broadway World: *** “This is a production that is beautiful to look at, but disappointingly, it lacks the necessary engagement and thrill to make it a classic.”

Evening Standard: ** “Sadly the good intentions are barely realised and the opera, featuring the excellent Sasha Cooke as Marnie and conducted by Martyn Brabbins, lacks the film’s gripping arc of tension.”

Marnie continues to play at the ENO until the 3rd December. To book tickets visit: Love London Love Culture,, Last, See, Love, Theatre Tickets, Discount and Theatre


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