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ENO opens 2005-6 season with lesbian passion

The English National Opera is to open its first season by new artistic director Sean Doran with an all-woman lesbian opera.

The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant, composed by ireland's most celebrated Gerald Barry, is based on a play by Rainer Werner Fassbinder. It was made into a film in 1972, and is a tale of lesbian love, passion and jealousy against the backdrop of a fashion studio. It will be staged in Septemner 2005, and Barry has elected to set every word of the Fassbinder play to music, unusual in not using a reduced libretto version. But as Barry is renowned for producing extremely fast music, the five act opera is expected to be around two and a half hours long.

Doran has said he will stage at least 2 new works per season, whether they are formal ENO commissions or not. The second new commission in the season will be from Asian Dub Foundation. Doran said: 'By putting this new work at the head of the season we want to make a bold statement and a rallying cry to our audience.' It will be the first season to be fully programmed by him.

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