English National Opera Chorus in The Force of Destiny (ENO)
English National Opera Chorus in The Force of Destiny (ENO)
© Robert Workman

In a gesture that's either ironic or an early hint at a loosened notch in its belt-tightening efforts, English National Opera took to Twitter to celebrate the nomination of its threatened choristers - along with its brilliant pit musicians - saying "...our fab orchestra & chorus are up for Outstanding Achievement in Opera".

Fab they are, and well earned the Olivier Award nomination most certainly is, especially as it's unlikely such a nod will be repeated in future years if the company's planned decimation of its creative forces goes ahead. Bet on them winning this year, then, if you can get the odds.

However, Felicity Palmer and Tamara Wilson are certain to be popular co-nominees in the ‘Outstanding Achievement in Opera' category for their unforgettable performances in The Queen of Spades and The Force of Destiny respectively, both also for ENO, while Antonio Pappano has had a brilliant year at the Royal Opera and bags the fourth slot.

The ‘New Opera Production' category may prove more contentious, as among the three nominees are Morgen und Abend at the ROH, which pleased WhatsOnStage more than it did many other critics and operagoers, and Calixto Bieito's production of the aforementioned The Force of Destiny, a staging that was lifted out of mediocrity by splendid singing and orchestral playing. Damiano Michieletto's mordant account of Cavalleria rusticana & Pagliacci at the Royal Opera House is likely to be the favourite in this category, and deservedly so.

Full nominations in the opera categories are as follows:

Best New Opera Production:

Cavalleria rusticana & Pagliacci at the Royal Opera House
Morgen und Abend at the Royal Opera House
The Force of Destiny at the London Coliseum

Outstanding Achievement in Opera:

Antonio Pappano for his conducting of Cavalleria rusticana/Pagliacci, Guillaume Tell and Król Roger at the Royal Opera House
English National Opera Chorus and Orchestra for The Force of Destiny, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and The Queen of Spades at the London Coliseum
Felicity Palmer for The Queen of Spades at the London Coliseum
Tamara Wilson for The Force of Destiny at the London Coliseum

The winners in these and all other theatre categories will be announced at the Royal Opera House on 3 April.