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Daniel Kramer's new La traviata at English National Opera

Verdi's La traviata is one of those opera which every opera company needs to have in its repertoire, and productions need to balance intelligent exploration of the issues raised by the work with the need to reach as wide an audience as possible with an opera which is likely to attract audience members who are not regular opera-goers.

Haydn's Applausus: The Mozartists at Cadogan Hall

Continuing their MOZART 250 series, The Mozartists/ Classical Opera began dipping into the operatic offerings of 1768 at Wigmore Hall in January, when they presented numbers from Mozart’s La finta semplice, Jommelli’s Fetonte, Hasse’s Pirano e Tisbe and Haydn’s Lo speziale.

Schubert Schwanengesang revisited—Florian Boesch, Wigmore Hall

Schwanengesang isn't Schubert's Swan Song any more than it is a cycle like Die schöne Müllerin or Winterreise. The title was given it by his publishers Haslingers, after his death, combining settings of two very different poets, Ludwig Rellstab and Heinrich Heine. Wigmore Hall audiences have heard lots of good Schwanengesangs, including Boesch and Martineau performances in the past, but this was something special.

Rinaldo: The English Concert at the Barbican Hall

“After such cruel events, I don’t know if I am dreaming or awake.” So says Almirena, daughter of the Crusader Goffredo, when she is rescued by her beloved warrior-hero, Rinaldo, from the clutches of the evil sorceress, Armida.

Hamlet abridged and enriched in Amsterdam

French grand opera and small opera companies are an unlikely combination. Yet OPERA2DAY, a company of modest means, is currently touring the Netherlands with Hamlet by Ambroise Thomas.

The ROH's first production of From the House of the Dead

Krzysztof Warlikowski’s production for the ROH of From the House of the Dead is ‘new’ in several regards. It’s (astonishingly) the first time that Janáček’s last opera has been staged at Covent Garden; it’s Warlikowski’s debut at Covent Garden; and the production uses a new 2017 critical edition prepared by John Tyrrell.

Così fan tutte at Lyric Opera of Chicago

With artifice, disguise, and questions on fidelity as the basis of Mozart’s Così fan tutte, the composer’s mature opera has returned to the stage at Lyric Opera of Chicago.

WNO's Wheel of Destiny rolls into Birmingham

Welsh National Opera’s wheel of destiny has rolled into Birmingham this week, with Verdi’s sprawling tragedy, La forza del destino, opening the company’s ‘Rabble Rousing’ triptych at the Hippodrome.

A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Royal College of Music

The gossamer web of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is sufficiently insubstantial and ambiguous to embrace multiple interpretative readings: the play can be a charming comic caper, a jangling journey through human pettiness and cruelty, a moonlit fairy fantasy or a shadowy erotic nightmare, and much more besides.

Les Funérailles Royales de Louis XIV recreated at Versailles

Les Funérailles Royales de Louis XIV, with Ensemble Pygmalion, conducted by Raphaël Pichon now on DVD/Blu -ray from Harmonia Mundi. This captures the historic performance at the Chapelle Royale de Versailles in November 2015, on the 300th anniversary of the King's death.

Robert Carsen's A Midsummer Night's Dream returns to ENO

Having given us Christopher Alden's strangely dystopic production of Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream in 2011, English National Opera (ENO) has opted for Robert Carsen's bed-inspired vision for the latest revival of the opera at the London Coliseum.

Turandot in San Diego—Prima la voce

The big musical set pieces in Turandot require voice, voice, and more voice, and San Diego Opera has gifted us with a world-class cast of singing actors.

Dialogues de Carmélites at the Guildhall School: spiritual transcendence and transfiguration

Four years have passed since my last Dialogues des Carmélites, and on that occasion - Robert Carsen’s production for the ROH - heightened dramatic intensity, revolutionary insurrection (enhanced by an oppressed populace formed by a 67-strong Community Ensemble) and, under the baton of Simon Rattle, luxuriant musical rapture, were the order of the day.

'B & B’ in a new key

Seattle Opera’s new production of Béatrice et Bénédict is best regarded as a noble experiment, performed expressly to see if Berlioz’ delectable 1862 opéra comique can successfully be brought into the living repertory outside its native France. As such, it is quite a success.

Songs for Nancy: Bampton Classical Opera celebrate legendary soprano, Nancy Storace

Bampton Classical Opera’s 25th anniversary season opens with a concert on 7th March at St John’s Smith Square to celebrate the legendary soprano Nancy Storace.

Tenebræ Responsories
recording by Stile Antico

Tomas Luis de Victoria’s Tenebrae Responsories are designed to occupy the final three days of Holy Week, and contemplate the themes of loss, betrayal and death that dominate the Easter week. As such, the Responsories demand a sense of darkness, reflection and depth that this new recording by Stile Antico - at least partially - captures.

Mahler Symphony no 9, Daniel Harding SRSO

Mahler Symphony no 9 in D major, with Daniel Harding conducting the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, new from Harmonia Mundi. A rewarding performance on many levels, not least because it's thoughtfully sculpted, connecting structure to meaning.

A newly discovered song by Alma Mahler

It is well known that in addition to the fourteen songs by Alma Mahler published in her lifetime, several dozen more - perhaps as many as one hundred - were written and have been lost or destroyed.

Of Animals and Insects: a musical menagerie at Wigmore Hall

Wigmore Hall was transformed into a musical menagerie earlier this week, when bass-baritone Ashley Riches, a Radio 3 New Generation Artist, and pianist Joseph Middleton took us on a pan-European lunchtime stroll through a gallery of birds and beasts, blooms and bugs.

Hugo Wolf, Italienisches Liederbuch

Nationality is a complicated thing at the best of times. (At the worst of times: well, none of us needs reminding about that.) What, if anything, might it mean for Hugo Wolf’s Italian Songbook? Almost whatever you want it to mean, or not to mean.



08 Apr 2017

The Royal Opera House announces its 2017/18 season

Details of the Royal Opera House's 2017/18 Season have been announced. Oliver Mears, who will begin his tenure as Director of Opera, comments: “I am delighted to introduce my first Season as Director of Opera for The Royal Opera House. As I begin this role, and as the world continues to reel from social and political tumult, it is reassuring to contemplate the talent and traditions that underpin this great building’s history. For centuries, a theatre on this site has welcomed all classes - even in times of revolution and war - to enjoy the most extraordinary combination of music and drama ever devised. Since the time of Handel, Covent Garden has been home to the most outstanding performers, composers and artists of every era. And for centuries, the joyous and often tragic art form of opera has offered a means by which we can be transported to another world, in all its wonderful excess and beauty.”

New productions:

The Royal Opera’s Season includes six new productions at the Royal Opera House.

A new production of La bohème will be directed by Richard Jones. David Alden will direct Semiramide and Lohengrin : the latter, which will be conducted by Andris Nelsons - returning to the House after his outstanding performances of Der Rosenkavalier earlier this season - is the first staging of the opera at the Royal Opera House since 1977. Barrie Kosky, returning to the House after his critically acclaimed 2016 production of The Nose will direct Carmen . One of the Season’s highlights’ will surely be From the House of the Dead directed by Polish theatre director Krzysztof Warlikowsi, making his UK debut - a production which will initiate a complete survey of Janáček’s operatic oeuvre during the next six years. The Season will also see the world premieres of George Benjamin ’s new opera, Lessons in Love and Violence directed by Katie Mitchell and Donizetti’s L’ange de Nisida , conducted by Mark Elder 179 years after it was completed.

Antonio Pappano will conduct two new productions as well as revivals of Macbeth (starring Serbian baritone Željko Lučić in the title role and Russian soprano Anna Netrebko as his ambitious, scheming wife) and Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk.

In La Bohème, Australian soprano Nicole Car and former Jette Parker Young Artist Romanian soprano Simona Mihai will share the role of Mimì, and American tenor Michael Fabiano will tackle the role of Rodolfo for the first time at Covent Garden, following his debut as Lensky in 2015. Joyce DiDonato will take the title role in Semiramide, which she created for Alden’s production when it was given its premiere by the Bavarian State Opera in February 2017. Semiramide was last seen at Covent Garden in 1885 when Adelina Patti sang the title role; a concert performance of the opera was given by the Royal Opera House in 1986.

Pappano, now in his 16th season with The Royal Opera, will also conduct the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House in a concert performance with baritone Christian Gerhaher, and give a recital with Joyce DiDonato.


The Season’s programme also includes first revivals of Olivier Award-winning Cavalleria rusticana/Pagliacci (Simon Keenlyside sings his first Tonio), the much-discussed Lucia di Lammermoor (Michele Mariotti conducts, American-Cuban soprano Lisette Oropesa debuts as Lucia), Les Vêpres siciliennes and Philip Venables’ UK Theatre Award-winning 4.48 Psychosis .

The Season will also see revivals of Rigoletto, Falstaff, Die Zauberflöte and Don Giovanni (as directed by Kaspar Holten, and featuring Mariusz Kwiecień in the title role, which he created in this production in 2014).

Outside the House:

The Season also includes four premieres away from the Royal Opera House in collaboration with a range of partners, co-producers and co-commissioners: the world premieres of Mark-Anthony Turnage ’s new opera Coraline at the Barbican Centre; Mamzer Bastard by Guildhall School of Music & Drama/Royal Opera Composer in Residence Na’ama Zisser; and a new work by Tansy Davies produced by London Sinfonietta in association with The Royal Opera.

The Return of Ulysses will be performed at theRoundhouse, andLa tragédie de Carmen will be performed at Wilton’s Music Hall by members of the Jette Parker Young Artist programme.

The Royal Opera will collaborate with the V&A for an exhibition covering almost 400 years of operatic history: Opera: Passion, Power and Politics , which opens in September 2017.

Looking ahead to the 2018/19 Season, four full cycles of Keith Warner’s production of Der Ring des Nibelungen will be performed between September and November 2018; booking details will be available in autumn 2017.

During the 2017/18 Season, 12 productions — six from The Royal Opera and six from The Royal Ballet — will be relayed live from Covent Garden to cinemas around the world. The programme features a mixture of new productions and classic works. Find your nearest cinema.

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