Doctor Atomic - English National Opera - PROJECTION DESIGN BY 59


Composer: John Adams

Librettist: Peter Sellars

Director: Penny Woolcock

Designer: Julian Crouch

Lighting Designer: Brian McDevitt

Video Designers: Leo Warner and Mark Grimmer

Associate Video Designer: Lysander Ashton

Animator: Joseph Pierce for Fifty Nine Productions

Choreographer: Andrew Dawson

Video Assistant: Will Reynolds for Fifty Nine Productions

Doctor Atomic - London

English National Opera


After a highly successful run at the Metropolitan Opera New York, John Adam's Doctor Atomic transfers to the English National Opera at the London Coliseum. Mark Grimmer and Leo Warner provide the video design for the production, directed by Penny Woolcock and designed by regular 59 collaborator Julian Crouch..


"Gerard Finley [is] classy in John Adam's Dr Atomic...The baritone, director Penny Woolcock and set and video designers do much to enliven [this] operatic drama about the nuclear bomb."

Sunday Times

"The look of Penny Woolcock’s excellent staging, designed by Julian Crouch, beautifully complements the musico-dramatic thrust of Adams’ work. With the sculptural look of an art installation (which was its inspiration) fragments of debris hang suspended, as if mid-explosion, while tented sheets rise up to invoke the desert mountain ranges of New Mexico. Tiered boxes house the Los Alamos project personnel as if they themselves are the objects of experimentation – human guinea pigs. Videos of scientific formulae (Fifty-Nine Productions) play on every surface; at one point, a map of Hiroshima eerily burns."

**** Independent

"Penny Woolcock’s production...already seems much tighter than it did at the New York Met. It’s certainly worth a visit. Once again Adams has turned 20th-century history into absorbing, provocative music-theatre."

**** The Times

"ENO captures the zeitgeist once again by bringing John Adams’s latest opera Doctor Atomic to the British stage for the first time. The director is Penny Woolcock, who filmed Adams’s Death Of Klinghoffer for television, and her production is shared with the New York Met — further evidence that ENO is now in the big league."

**** Evening Standard

"Adams's portrayal of the events leading up to the testing of the first atomic bomb in the New Mexico desert in July 1945 is far more convincing musically and dramatically than it seemed at its premiere. Woolcock's naturalistic staging, with designs by Julian Crouch and carefully gauged video projections, is far less cluttered and tendentious than Sellars's original."

**** The Guardian

"If a work forces you, simultaneously and uncomfortably, to clench your limbs and hold your breath, you have to take notice...If the earth didn't move for you, it did for me."


Selected US Reviews

"...[Woolcock's] production mixes metaphorical imagery and poignantly human interactions in dramatically involving ways. Seldom has the Met made such elaborate use of videos and electronic sound resources...." International Herald Tribune