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Two Boys

ENO London & New York Met


Wonderfully amorphous and yet effortlessly focused

A teenage boy is stabbed. An older boy is caught on CCTV leaving the scene. An open-and-shut case, it would seem. But, as Detective Inspector Anne Strawson investigates the older boy’s story, she uncovers a bizarre nexus of chatroom meetings, mysterious internet identities, supposed spy rings and disturbing cybersex, leading to a stunning conclusion.

Loosely inspired by actual events that occurred in an English industrial city, Nico Muhly’s new opera is a cautionary tale of the dark side of the internet.

With a libretto by Craig Lucas, screenwriter of Prelude to a Kiss and Reckless, and video design by Fifty Nine Productions, whose work has been a key feature of such recent ENO triumphs as Doctor Atomic and Satyagraha, this new co-production with the Metropolitan Opera, New York, is directed by Tony Award-winner Bartlett Sher, making his UK opera debut.

ENO London

June 2011

New York
Met Opera

October 2013

Opened 2011

ENO London Coliseum & New York Met Opera

Sher’s staging is wonderfully amorphous and yet effortlessly focused, the grey surfaces of Michael Yeargan’s sliding towers and panels bathed in amazing cyber graphics from 59 Productions… Muhly’s masterstroke and final polyphony…unites us all in a desire not to go “unsung” from this world. This last five minutes alone make for an auspicious operatic debut.
[star-rating  byline=”The Times” quote=”The ingenious projections of Fifty-Nine Productions beguilingly visualise the internet as a twinkling cosmological constellation…there’s no denying the craftsmanship of the score (efficiently conducted by Rumon Gamba), nor the moody, film noir atmosphere of Bartlett Sher’s English National Opera production.” ]
Michael Yeargan’s wonderfully efficient design includes…huge movable structures, peopled by lonely figures sitting hunched over their computers, veritable towers of babel as they tap away at their inanities, communicating and yet not communicating. Overlaying it all are some truly arresting video projections by 59 Productions, allowing instant changes of time and place and displaying the ceaseless litany of chatroom blather.

‘geometry explodes like fireworks over a veiled chorus’


Nico Muhly

Craig Lucas

Rumon Gamba

Bartlett Sher

Michael Yeargan

Don Holder

Projection and Animation
59 Productions

Catherine Zuber

The Metropolitan Opera
The English National Opera

59 Team

Creative Directors
Leo Warner
Mark Grimmer

Peter Stenhouse

Additional Animation
Zsolt Balogh
Bence Varga