Culture, London, Theatre, Theatre, West-End

A Night at the English National Opera


I go to the theatre a lot. I see plays, musicals, ballet, gigs, cabarets, concerts and comedy. But something I very rarely do is go to the OPERA. It’s an art form I’ve never massively connected with, and if I’m brutally honest, one I’m slightly intimidated by. I get nervous that I won’t know what the chuff is going on, that I’ll get a numb bum from the sheer length of it, and that perhaps it’s just a bit too posh for me. But I am always game to try new things and broaden my horizons so when the English National Opera got in touch to ask if I’d like to come and see one of their current productions I was like SURE HUN THAT’D BE LOVELY, ALSO IS THIS AN EXCUSE TO BUY A JAZZY NEW OPERA GOING OUTFIT, YEAH COOL OKAY THEN I WILL BUY ONE.

Because any excuse right?

So I bought these SEXY NEW TREWS from (wait for it) SAINSBURYS! Aren’t they glorious!? Wrap your thighs up in wonderful rose print and strut like you mean it you sassy Sainsburys wearing babe.

kb at the opera

Rose-Print Trousers- Sainsburys (current)/ Black draped top- River Island (similar here)/Shoes – Primark (similar here)/ Chumpiness- Model’s Own

So on Tuesday, my mother hen and I toddled off to the London Coliseum to feast our eyes and ears on La Boheme. I chose La Boheme out of their current programming because it’s about struggling artists (*WAVES*) and because I already know the story, thanks to growing up obsessing over Rent. It goes like this. A bunch of absolute lads, painters, poets and the like are struggling to make ends meet in their little flat. So poor they work by candlelight. Their neighbour Mimi arrives asking for a light for her candle and handsome Rodolfo obliges. They quickly fall in love and drama ENSUES. There is passion, there’s betrayal, jealousy and tragedy. It’s wonderful. NICE ONE PUCCINI YOU HUGE BABE.

Honestly though, I absolutely loved it. This production was set in London, in modern dress and it felt so contemporary. Visually stunning with huge moving set pieces, a massive chorus flooding the stage and lighting that really evoked the cold, winter, London sun.

ENO 1516 La boheme, Company (c) Tristram Kenton ENO 1516 La boheme, Ashley Riches, Duncan Rock, Nicholas Masters, Zach Borichevsky, Corinne Winters (c) Tristram Kenton ENO 1516 La boheme, Duncan Rock, Nicholas Masters, Ashley Riches, Zach Borichevsky (c) Tristram KentonENO 1516 La boheme, Zach Borichevsky, Corinne Winters 7 (c) Tristram KentonENO 1516 La boheme, Rhian Lois, Company (c) Tristram Kenton

It was so beautiful to behold such a huge cast, singing such stunning music with the orchestra swelling underneath, it actually made me a bit emotional just revelling in the sheer theatricality of it all! All of the leads were fantastic, with perhaps my favourite being hunky baritone Duncan Rock who plays the painter Marcello, swaggering and brooding round the stage like a tipsy ox.


The Coliseum itself actually took my breath away. It is hands-down the most beautiful theatre I’ve ever been in. All white and gold and dripping in details all bathed in creamy lighting, it’s just utterly gorgeous. We sat in the stalls, and tickets there are pretty pricey, BUTTTT did you know that tickets at the ENO start at just £12?! With 500 tickets every performance under £20?! OPERA FOR EVERYONE YO! Everything is sung in English, as they believe that connects the artistic intention with the performers and the audience in the best way, but they also surtitle too so in particularly dexterous musical passages you can still keep track of the dialogue. Also the seats were so comfortable that I am happy to report that my bum did not go numb.

ENO 1516 La boheme, Nicholas Masters Ashley Riches, Zach Borichevsky, Corinne Winters, Duncan Rock (c) Tristram Kenton ENO 1516 La boheme, Corinne Winters 2 (c) Tristram Kenton ENO 1516 La boheme, Company, Murray Kimmins (c) Tristram Kenton

It felt like SUCH a treat. A real glammed up treat. Hanging out at the bar during the interval, I was all goggle-eyed at the champagne bar and the salmon blinis on offer (this is coming from a girl who’s happy with a pint and a pack of Nobby’s Dry Roasted Peanuts) and felt sooo hella fancy. But then I stuck with what I knew. AND WHO KNEW! YES YOU CAN DRINK CIDER AT THE OPERA, IT’S ALLOWED!

cider salmon blini hunters wines

Having had such a wonderful evening banishing and dispelling my long-held opera fears, I am totally keen to go back and see more. It’s completely accessible, it doesn’t have to be expensive and there’s sex and swearing and comedy up on that stage, which are all things I can massively get involved with. It’s actually really exciting to think there’s a whole genre that I get to now indulge in and see. WHAT TREATS!

ENO 1516 La boheme, Zach Borichevsky, Corinne Winters  4 (c) Tristram Kenton

Gotta go, off to make a cuppa and yelp along to the Queen of the Night Aria. SOZ NEIGHBOURS AHHHHHHHHHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHHA AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH


I was a guest of the English National Opera but if I hadn’t absolutely loved the entire evening, I wouldn’t have written about it!

All production photography by Tristram Kenton



  1. Amy

    November 26, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    I’m so jealous!! I studied opera in college, and now I live in a small community – we have a lively arts scene, but opera really takes some oomph to accomplish. Thank you for sharing this gorgeous production, and I’m so glad your bum didn’t go numb!

    1. bloodyhellbrennan

      November 26, 2015 at 10:59 pm

      To see it on such a huge scale is truly something amazing! Haha my bum is glad too. All that extra winter mince-pie induced padding is clearly paying off! X

  2. Yvonne

    December 22, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    The ENO looks great and I never made it in! I had tickets three times and each time something came up, even though I just flew in!

    And La Bohème! I’m just working on some cliff notes for that opera to be prepared for a project. Looks like I need to get myself over to London soon again!


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