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Commentary

G. Verdi: Aida
22 Dec 2008

Bayerische Staatsoper Announces Program for 2009 Munich Opera Festival

The Bayerische Staatsoper announced its program of the 2009 Munich Opera Festival — the only festival of its kind in the world so rich in tradition, with roots reaching as far back as 1875.

Bayerische Staatsoper Announces Program for 2009 Munich Opera Festival

 

The works of Giuseppe Verdi mark the beginning and end of the 2009 Festival: on June 30, the curtain in the National Theatre will rise on the festival gala performance of Aida, a new production this season, following the première on June 8. A performance of Falstaff on July 31 will then conclude five weeks of festival glory, which will again present audiences with a top-class programme of opera and ballet performances, concerts and song recitals.

The main point of interest will be focused on the festival première of Wagner’s opera Lohengrin in the National Theatre on July 5. For the tenth time, Kent Nagano will mount the podium of the Bavarian State Orchestra to conduct a new production. The stage director is Richard Jones, and an all-star cast headed by Jonas Kaufmann, Anja Harteros and Michaela Schuster will be on stage.

Besides Aida with Barbara Frittoli in a production staged by Christoph Nel and conducted by Daniele Gatti, the Festival will also offer an opportunity for audiences to become reacquainted with all the other new productions of this season:

Verdi’s dark-hued opera Macbeth (July 21/24), Andreas Kriegenburg’s Wozzeck production (July 17), enthusiastically acclaimed by press and public, the queen of bel canto, Edita Gruberova in Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia (July 1/6), Janáček’s Jenůfa (July 9) as a further work of the theatre’s Slavic repertoire as well as a ballet world première of this season: Jiří Kylián’s Zugvögel (July 3).

In addition, Mozart’s Idomeneo in the Cuvilliès Theater (July 23/26/30) and the new production of Strauss’ Ariadne on Naxos (July 13/16/20), which was premièred to rave reviews in the 2008 Festival, in the Prince Regent Theatre will both be revived this year. Other major highlights include the appearance of star soprano Angela Gheorghiu in a gala concert with the Bavarian State Orchestra on July 27 as well as Rolando Villazón in the title role of Jules Massenet’s Werther (July 4/7) together with Vesselina Kasarova as Charlotte, as well as song recitals with Diana Damrau (July 5), Waltraud Meier (July 20) and Jonas Kaufmann (July 26).

The 2009 Festival also has a special emphasis to offer. The “under construction” program heralded by Nikolaus Bachler in his editorial, has a number of surprises in the offing — among them a “construction site” on Marstall Square and the festival première of Leonard Bernstein’s one-acter Trouble in Tahiti on July 7: Kent Nagano will lead the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in a new version especially prepared for Munich at the Cuvilliès Theatre. Another featured event at “under construction” will be the world première of Narcissus and Echo by Californian composer Jay Schwartz. The sounds of a counter tenor, a viola and percussion set will transform the Allerheiligen Hofkirche (All Saint’s Court Church) into an echo space to reflect identity, deception and recognition.

For the second successive Year, BMW Munich will be aboard as official partner of the Munich Opera Festival — a relationship, which has its foundation in the long-standing support of Opera for All. In 2009 as well, the Festival will offer free open-air events: on June 28 a concert by the Bavarian State Orchestra under the direction of Kent Nagano on Marstall Square, and on July 5, the performance of Lohengrin will mark the first time in the over 10-year history of Opera for All that audiences will have a chance to witness the live transmission of a Festival première on Max Joseph Square.

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