The Force of Destiny – ENO – Dress Rehearsal

Don Alvaro Gwyn Hughes Jones

Donna Leonora di Vargas Tamara Wilson

Don Carlo di Vargas Anthony Michaels-Moore

Padre Guardiano James Creswell

Fra Melitone Andrew Shore

Preziosilla Rinat Shaham

Marquis of Calatrava Matthew Best

Curra Clare Presland

Trabuco Adrian Dwyer

Alcade Nicholas Folwell

I don’t want to give too many spoilers, or give too much away, or pass judgement on what was a rehearsal. But.

This was quite tame by Bieito standards. There’s a bit of blood, no nudity, a bit of sexual violence, and quite a bit of staged violence.


  • an accusatory and confrontational interrogation light at the start, the same as in his Fidelio
  • video projections and twirly sets, a bit noisy in one moment, which may be smoothed out.
  • SPOILER (hover on word for info)
  • SPOILER (hover on word for info)
  • SPOILER (hover on word for info)
  • very mild furniture abuse
  • strong singing all around, but one minor character I didn’t enjoy at all, and one young singer who perhaps needs a little more heart/soul/colour in the voice which is already very promising to hear
  • James Cresswell
  • References to Guernica (which I totally missed but an astute friend noticed)
  • great playing from the Orchestra and sensitive conducting
  • a nicely done “Invano Alvaro” (<—really the only reason I went :P)
  • excellent chorus singing, at the ENO’s usual remarkably high standard.

It will definitely get people talking, but whether the talk is for the reasons Mr Bieito hopes is not so certain. It certainly fits in with ENO’s tripartate vision of aiming for “distinctive, contemporary and highly theatrical productions.”

Whether or not it will be a success is already decided in my mind. A co-production with the Met, I doubt it will go down well there.



  1. I saw Bieito’s version of Turandot in Toulouse in the summer; he ruined it for the audience and it was clear that the singers were largely uncomfortable with his signature gratutious sensationalism which bordered on audience abuse. I will never see another opera produced by this pathetic man.


    1. He polarises audiences, that’s for sure. I enjoyed his Carmen. The audience isn’t quite abused this time. He seems to have toned it down a bit, but it will not please everyone! Nor win back those who have come to dislike his productions.


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