Iain Bell’s Jack the Ripper Opera Premieres at ENO

Iain Bell’s Jack the Ripper Opera Premieres at ENO

Jack the Ripper: The Women of Whitechapel by Iain Bell premieres at English National Opera on March 30. With a libretto by Emma Jenkins, Bell's fourth opera explores powerful themes of community and women struggling against the odds, posing questions about the hypocritical attitudes of ‘respectable’ society. This is the third in a series of operas from the British composer depicting life in London, following on from A Harlot’s Progress (2011), based on the series of six paintings by William Hogarth, and A Christmas Carol (2013) a monodrama derived from Dickens’ beloved novel. Jack the Ripper is a co-production with Opera North and runs at the Coliseum from March 30 - April 12 with six performances in total.

Book Tickets to Jack the Ripper: The Women of Whitechapel | May 30 - April 12  

Set in 1888 in a London doss house, Mary Kelly, who runs the house with her grandmother Maud, is teaching her daughter Iris to read and write to give her a chance to have a better life. But as the darkness descends and Mary watches the women in her life start to disappear, the community turn to her to find a way out of the labyrinth. The mythic status of the unidentified serial killer is addressed through a refreshingly modern lens, which speaks to us over a century later. With vocal and orchestral writing that always packs an emotional punch, Bell’s score features music that is mercurial and explosive one moment and heart-wrenchingly beautiful the next.


Mary Kelly, Natalya Romaniw
Maud, Dame Josephine Barstow
Polly Nichols, Janis Kelly
Annie Chapman, Marie McLaughlin
Liz Stride, Susan Bullock
Catherine Eddows, Lesley Garrett
Writer, William Morgan
Squibby, Alex Otterburn
The Pathologist, Alan Opie
Commissioner of Police, Robert Hayward
Sergeant Johnny Strong, Nicky Spence
The Photographer, James Cleverton

Creative Team

Music, Iain Bell
Libretto, Emma Jenkins
Conductor, Martyn Brabbins
Director, Daniel Kramer
Designer, Soutra Gilmour
Lighting, Adam Sullivan


About Iain Bell

Iain Bell (b. 1980) signed to Wise Music in 2016 and is already a prolific composer of opera. He has worked with some the leading singers and houses in Europe and the US, including Diana Damrau, Jay Hunter Morris, Simon Callow, Theater an der Wien, Houston Grand Opera, Teatro Sociale di Trento, and Welsh National Opera who took his Opera Award-nominated In Parenthesis to the Royal Opera House in Summer 2016. This year not only does Bell add English National Opera and Opera North to that list, but he will also see his second commission from an American company take to the stage, as New York City Opera premiere his ensemble opera Stonewall (June 19-23).

Read full biography

Related News