Two Boys at The ENO

The English National Opera (ENO) are currently staging Two Boys, a new opera from talented young musician and composer Nico Muhley with librettist Craig Lucas.

The story is loosely inspired by actual events.  We watch Inspector Anne Strawson as she struggles to find 13 year old Jake’s killer.

There is one obvious lead – a teenage boy caught on CCTV leaving the murder scene, and yet as the narrative unfurls it seems there is more to this crime than the obvious facts. To discover the truth, Detective Strawson must delve into a menacing cyberworld of internet sites and chatrooms.

Two Boys kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. The clever storytelling, with tiny clues revealed throughout, left me desperately trying to solve the murder mystery myself; it was completely engaging and captivating.

Muhley’s score is enchanting – spooky and beautiful, imaginative and aggressive, and I found it heartbreakingly moving. Vocally, I enjoyed the chorus moments best: massive, grand, multi-layered writing that conveys the overwhelming reach of the internet.

Bartlett Sher’s staging is beautifully realised through Michael Yeargan’s designs, a set that really adds to the production. The large chorus stand illuminated eerily at the back while other characters are elevated in darkly lit towers across the front of the stage – it is oddly magical and otherworldly.

Nico Muhley’s new creation is an operatic masterpiece that will stun audiences.

Two Boys at The ENO until 8 July 2011

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