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Charles Wuorinen [Photo by Nina Roberts]
13 Feb 2013

The New Season at Teatro Real

It is another “What Could Have Been” moment. The debut of Brokeback Mountain by Charles Wuorinen is part of Madridʼs Teatro Real coming season.

The New Season at Teatro Real

By Frank Cadenhead

Above: Charles Wuorinen [Photo by Nina Roberts]


It is another indication of what could have been the future of the New York City Opera had they found the financial resources to keep Gerard Mortier in New York.

Philip Glassʼ newest opera, The Perfect American, about the final years of Walt Disney, attracted a large slice of the opera worldʼs attention just a few weeks ago and Wuorinenʼs opera will likely do the same next year in Madrid. With a libretto by Annie Proulx, the author of the original story which appeared in the New Yorker in 1997, the story is about an intense love affair between two men, Wyoming sheep herders in the 1960s. The subsequent 2005 movie was a major popular hit.

Both of these operas had already been talked about when Mortier learned that the NYCO could not fund the next season, his first, at the financial level he had been promised. His eventual move to Madrid gave him a stage to realize some of the dreams discussed.

Along with the Wuorinen opera, Die Eroberung von Mexiko (The Conquest of Mexico) by German composer Wolfgang Rihm will premiere in October. This production will be staged by Pierre Audi and stars soprano Nadja Michael as Montezuma with baritones Georg Nigl and Holger Falk sharing the role of Cortez.

In addition to these new works, the well traveled Bill Viola/Peter Sellars video production of Wagnerʼs Tristan und Isolde can also be seen. A production of Lohengrin will be on the schedule in April. Purcell’s The Indian Queen will also be on the schedule in November in a Peter Sellars production. Other operas on the list include Gluckʼs Alceste (a new production by bad-boy director Krzysztof Warlikowski) with Anna Caterina Antonacci and Sofia Soloviy alternating in the title role and Offenbachʼs Tales of Hoffmann conducted by Sylvain Cambreling and directed by Christoph Marthaler.

The opera’s management again denied rumors that Mortier might leave before the 2016 end of his contract. The 2015 vacancy at the helm of La Scala in Milan has created much public speculation. There are eleven productions in the 2013-2014 season. Further information is at

Frank Cadenhead

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