Page last updated at 11:32 GMT, Thursday, 15 April 2010 12:32 UK

Terry Gilliam signs up to direct opera

Terry Gilliam
Terry Gilliam has made a name for himself in Hollywood

Monty Python legend and Hollywood film-maker Terry Gilliam has signed up as a director for the English National Opera, it has been announced.

The Oscar-nominated screenwriter will direct a new production of Berlioz's The Damnation of Faust.

ENO's artistic director John Berry said: "He is a great storyteller and opera is all about telling a story."

Ten performances of his work will be staged at the London Coliseum in Covent Garden from 6 May 2011.

'Real surprises'

Gilliam, who made his name with the British comedy series Monty Python, has also directed several Hollywood films, including the recent The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.

Mr Berry said there was a reason Berlioz's The Damnation of Faust was selected for Gilliam.

"We have chosen something that was never really envisaged as an opera, rather it was a concert piece with a narrative, so he is not coming into this and being faced with a piece of core repertoire that everybody knows.

"But he has the imagination and creativity to make this a theatrical event."

Mike Figgis, who directed the 1995 movie Leaving Las Vegas, has also be agreed to direct a production for the opera company.

He will stage Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia, which has never before been done by the ENO.

"I think there will be some real surprises but I think it will be very appealing," Mr Berry said of Figgis's work, due to be staged in January of next year.

Ten new productions have been announced for the season, including the world premiere by Nico Muhly and the UK premiere of A Dog's Heart by Alexander Raskatov.

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Times Online Terry Gilliam, the Python star, makes Faust pact with opera house - 3 hrs ago Terry Gilliam to direct Faust for English National Opera - 17 hrs ago
Financial TimesTop film directors tackle opera for ENO - 19 hrs ago
Telegraph ENO's forthcoming season could be a knockout - 19 hrs ago Terry Gilliam to direct Faust opera - 23 hrs ago
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