Today, the English National Opera in London presents the world première of Jack the Ripper : The Women of Whitechapel, an opera composed by Iain Bell with a libretto by Emma Jenkins.
It is the composer's fourth opera, after A Harlot's Progress (Vienna, October 2013), A Christmas Carol (Houston, December 2014), and In Parenthesis (Cardiff, May 2016).
A disadvantaged group of working-class women are drawn together in their determination to survive the murderous terror that stalks London's Whitechapel in 1888. Mary Kelly, who runs a doss house with her grandmother Maud, is teaching her daughter Iris to read and write to give her a chance to have a better life. But as the darkness descends and Mary watches the women in her life start to disappear, the community turn to her to find a way out of the labyrinth. (reproduced from the ENO website)The cast includes soprano Claudia Boyle (Mary Kelly), soprano Josephine Barstow (Maud), soprano Janis Kelly (Polly Nichols), soprano Marie McLaughlin (Annie Chapman), soprano Susan Bullock (Liz Stride), soprano Lesley Garrett (Catherine Eddowes), baritone Alan Opie (The Pathologist), bass baritone Robert Hayward (Commissioner of Police) and tenor Nicky Spence (Sergeant Johnny Strong). Martyn Brabbins conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of the English National Opera. Daniel Kramer directs.
The required orchestra is the following (reproduced from the Music Sales Classical website) :
- 2 flutes (doubling piccolo), 2 oboes (doubling English horn), 2 clarinets (doubling bass clarinet), 2 bassoons (doubling contrabassoon) ;
- 2 horns, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, 1 tuba ;
- timpani, percussion, cymbalum, harp ;
- strings (126.96.36.199.4).
The opera is co-produced with Opera North.