ENO returns to live performances this season with a bold, ambitious choice: Wagner’s The Valkyrie. At the technical rehearsal we watched it take shape inside the Coliseum

This is about as big as it gets, says English National Opera’s music director Martyn Brabbins. Wagner’s Ring Cycle – the Mount Everest of opera, is about 16 hours of music in total, and the ultimate challenge for any company. Director Richard Jones is staging all four operas in new English translations over the next few years. The cycle begins on 19 November at the London Coliseum with the second in the tetralogy, The Valkyrie – which is about five hours long. Brabbins will be conducting almost 100 musicians, so many that the boxes closest to the stage will accommodate four harps, timpani and percussion; cast and crew number many more. The Ring is a miraculous piece of work, says Jones. “I’ve always enjoyed thinking about it. I adore it. I’m addicted to it.”

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