Premiered at English National Opera in 2014, Julian Anderson’s first opera Thebans is based on Sophocles’ Oedipus trilogy, which the composer, together with librettist Frank McGuinness, has distilled to c.100 minutes of taught drama. The themes of the original – blood, murder, incest, political ambition, love and loyalty – are, if anything, intensified in this bold, erudite adaptation. ‘The drama is vivid and strong,’ writes Anderson, ‘I don’t want people to know what’s hit them until they’ve left the opera house.’ 

‘… arguably the most spectacular orchestral writing heard in any opera of the past half a century. For mastery of texture, color and invention, Mr. Anderson sets standards… a triumph of sustained intensity that has dramatic impact on its own terms. And its individuality is striking… this is an opera like no other… distinctively impressive.’
The New York Times (Michael White), 5 May 2014