This November, Tony and Olivier Award-winning stage and screen actor and musician Richard McCabe makes his operatic debut in the English National Opera’s (ENO) first production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Yeomen of the Guard.
Described as ‘one of our finest actors’ (the Guardian), Richard steps into the role of traveling jester Jack Point, the comic-baritone of the opera.
Richard joins the cast of the much-anticipated production of this Gilbert & Sullivan operetta, running at the London Coliseum from 3 November – 2 December. Tickets start from £10, under 21s can get free tickets to all performances, and major discounts are available to under 35s.
Richard is renowned for his theatre work. As an Associate Artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Richard has played many and diverse roles including Iago, King John and Puck. He most recently played Cicero at the Gielgud Theatre in the RSC’s six-hour epic adaptation of Robert Harris’s Imperium. Other West End credits include Jim Hacker in Yes, Prime Minister and Harold Wilson in The Audience which saw him awarded both an Olivier Award and a Tony Award on Broadway.
Richard is currently appearing in Anatomy of a Scandal (Netflix), The Pentaverate (Netflix), and has previously appeared in television programmes including A Very British Scandal (BBC), Harlots (Hulu-BBC), Wallander (BBC) and Peaky Blinders (BBC). His film credits include Eye in the Sky, Mindhorn, The Constant Gardener, Master and Commander and Notting Hill.
Richard McCabe comments: ‘I am absolutely thrilled and terrified to be taking on this iconic G&S role! I first visited the Coliseum with my school in 1974 and that evening sparked a lifelong love of opera. It is a dream come true to be treading its hallowed boards.’
This is the first time the ENO has staged Gilbert & Sullivan’s masterful work – one of the last they created together – widely regarded as their most musically fine.
Set within the Tower of London, the unjustly imprisoned Colonel Fairfax has a mutual attraction to Phoebe, the daughter of the righteous Sergeant Meryll, one of the titular Beefeaters. Phoebe wants Fairfax released so they can marry, and enlists the help of Jack Point and Elsie Maynard, roving entertainers. What follows is a complex caper of forbidden romances, fantastical plots and unrequited love, although not with the usual happy ending we might expect, as the stakes in this tale are far higher…
Directed by Jo Davies, the creator of the ‘terrific’ (the Guardian) Ruddigore (Opera North), the action is brought forward to the early twentieth century with designs by Anthony Ward, lighting by Oliver Fenwick, video by Andrezj Goulding, sound design by Nick Lidster and choreography by Kay Shepherd. Experienced Gilbert & Sullivan specialist Chris Hopkins leads the award-winning ENO Orchestra and Chorus.
Richard will be joined on stage by Anthony Gregory as Colonel Fairfax, Neal Davies as Sergeant Meryll of the Yeomen, Alexandra Oomens as Elsie Maynard, John Molloy as Wilfred Shadbolt, Heather Lowe as Phoebe Meryll, Steven Page as Sir Richard Cholmondeley, Susan Bickley as Dame Carruthers, Innocent Masuku as Leonard Meryll and Isabelle Peters as Kate.
The Yeomen of the Guard opens on Thursday 3 November for 14 performances: Nov 3, 5, 9, 10, 12, 17, 19, 26 & Dec 1, 2 at 19.30. Nov 5, 19, 26 at 14.30.
A fully staged relaxed performance will be on 12 November at 14.30.