Jonathan Kent

Introduction

Jonathan Kent was the joint artistic director, with Ian McDiarmid, of the Almeida Theatre between 1990 - 2002. In addition to his successful theatre work,  Jonathan's most recent opera engagements include: Tosca for the Royal Opera House, Katya Kabanova, The Tempest, Le Nozze di Figaro and The Letter for Santa Fe, Elektra and Die Frau ohne Schatten for the Mariinsky Theatre, A Child of our Time and The Flying Dutchman for ENO,  Don Giovanni, The Turn of the Screw and Hippolyte et Aricie for Glyndebourne, The Fairie Queen for Glyndebourne, Opera Comique and at BAM and The Flying Dutchman for Royal Danish Opera.

Future opera projects include Manon Lescaut for the Royal Opera House.

This is for information only and should not be reproduced. Please contact us for a full biography and for performance details.

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OPERA PRODUCTIONS

2003
KATYA KABANOVA, Santa Fe
2005
A CHILD OF OUR TIME, ENO
LUCIO SILLA, Santa Fe
2006
TOSCA, ROH
THE TEMPEST, Santa Fe
THE TURN OF THE SCREW, Glyndebourne on Tour
2007
ELEKTRA, Mariinsky Theatre
THE TURN OF THE SCREW, Glyndebourne Festival
2008
LE NOZZE DI FIGARO, Santa Fe
2009
THE FAIRY QUEEN, Glyndebourne Festival
THE LETTER, Santa Fe
DIE FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN, Mariinsky Theatre
2010
THE FAIRY QUEEN, Opera Comique, Paris
THE FAIRY QUEEN, BAM, New York
DON GIOVANNI, Glyndebourne Festival
2011
ELEKTRA, Nice Opera
THE TURN OF THE SCREW, Los Angeles Opera
DON GIOVANNI, Glyndebourne Festival
THE TURN OF THE SCREW, Glyndebourne Festival
2012
THE FLYING DUTCHMAN, English National Opera
2013
HIPPOLYTE ET ARICIE, Glyndebourne Festival

         

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INTERVIEWS & ARTICLES

How to make Wagner's The Flying Dutchman fly: A Diary
Jonathan Kent recounts the problems he has faced in the weeks of rehearsals prior to opening night on Saturday 28th April.
Click here to read the full article.
The Times / 26 April 2012

ENO's new Flying Dutchman: 'It will be a white-knuckle ride'
Director Jonathan Kent and conductor Edward Gardner talk about their first tussle with Wagner in ENO's new production of The Flying Dutchman- Tom Service reports.
Click here to read the full interview
The Guardian / 19 April 2012

Dynamic duo launch into a leviathan
Directors Jonathan Kent and Ian McDiarmid are used to challenges. But a nine-hour Ibsen boasting 75 speaking parts? Jasper Rees reports
Link to article - Telegraph / 8 June 2011
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/theatre-features/8548403/Dynamic-duo-launch-into-a-leviathan.html

Jonathan Kent: Opera's great antihero
Jonathan Kent was one of the country's top theatre directors before chalking up a series of successes in opera. Tom Service talks to him ahead of taking on Don Giovanni
Link to full interview - The Guardian / 1 July 2010:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2010/jul/01/jonthan-kent-don-giovanni-glyndebourne

Golden ticket: British theatre's dynamic duo bring Don Giovanni to Glyndebourne
Link to full article by Michael Church / The Independent / 4 July, 2010:
http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/classical/features/golden-ticket-british-theatres-dynamic-duo-bring-don-giovanni-to-glyndebourne-2016520.html

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Press

Puccini

Manon Lescaut

Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

"We don’t call ladies like Manon Lescaut “fallen women” any more, but there are plenty of modern-day Manons around. As Julie Burchill once observed: “Wherever there are rich men trying not to feel old, there will be young girls trying not to feel poor.”
That is surely Jonathan Kent’s view too. Bringing Puccini’s earliest hit to the Royal Opera stage for the first time in 30 years, he dumps the 18th-century context of Prevost’s novel, and the late 19th-century world of Puccini himself, in favour of a thoroughly contemporary interpretation.
Paul Brown’s ingenious set starts off as half a modern apartment block (albeit improbably fringed with fairy lights) and half the casino in which Maurizio Muraro’s gross, oligarch-like Geronte will take advice from Christopher Maltman’s superb, pimpish Lescaut on how to seduce Kristine Opolais’s opportunist Manon.
Not that she needs much seduction. By Act II the set has swivelled to reveal Manon, now a perv’s delight in a thigh-revealing Barbie doll outfit, knee-high socks and blonde wig, giving live webcam sex shows from Geronte’s mansion to an audience of leering, bald lechers. Later, Geronte’s olde-worlde madrigal is turned by Manon into a bit of girl-on-girl action.
Well, that’s one way of upstaging the supposed main attraction of this show: Jonas Kaufmann as Des Grieux. Kent’s exuberant directorial inventions don’t stop there. Manon’s trial and deportation is staged as a grotesque reality-TV court scene. There is one surreal moment when the entire lighting rig is lowered to become part of the action. And instead of the Louisiana desert, she and Des Grieux end up on that quintessential symbol of urban desolation: a buckled, derelict flyover."
5 stars: Richard Morrison, The Times, 18 June 2014
"Flamboyantly designed by Paul Brown, Jonathan Kent’s production of Puccini’s Manon Lescaut could not be more different from Laurent Pelly’s daintily stylised Belle Epoque version of Massenet’s take on the story which we saw in the same house four months ago. ...
Kent presents Manon’s Parisian high-life in contradiction to both music and plot. Puccini’s fashionable courtesan becomes a soft-porn star reigning amid vulgar bling; the chaste beauty of Opolais’s singing is undermined by the voyeuristic sexuality she is directed to portray, and her exiling becomes reality tv on a seedy waterfront."
4 stars: Michael Church, The Independent, 18 June 2014
"Kent was greeted by boos at his  curtain call, presumably by sections of the audience who would prefer to keep the real world out of the opera house. They should go home and look up “verismo” in the musical dictionary."
4 stars: Barry Millington, Evening Standard, 18 June 2014
"It is a brave director who tries to update Puccini. For a group of works commonly (if erroneously) described as “realistic”, Puccini’s operas are resistant to being uprooted from their original settings – so this new production of Manon Lescaut takes a big risk in reimagining the opera as a disturbing tract on sexual exploitation in the modern world.
By and large the opera profits from it."
4 stars: Richard Fairman, The Fincial Times, 18 June 2014
"Kent has a sure feel for the underlying truths of this story, and ... this new production tells it directly and convincingly. ... It is one of those productions where each element works superbly, creating a whole that is so much more than the sum of its impressive parts.  The Royal Opera has another winner."
Keith Clarke, MusicalAmerica.com, 25th June 2014

Recordings

RAMEAU: HIPPOLYTE ET ARICIE

Glyndebourne Festival Opera

Hippolytus, Ed Lyon
Aricia, Christiane Karg
Phaedre, Sarah Connolly
Theseus, Stéphane Degout

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
The Glyndebourne Chorus

Conductor, William Christie
Director, Jonathan Kent
Glyndebourne Opera