Wednesday 22 April 2009

Royal Opera House 2009/10 Season

Next year's ROH season has now been announced, not that you'd know that by having a glance at their website. The details are hidden away in the press release section (or you can skip that and follow these links for the summary, the opera and the dance).

So, what stands out? Well, first things first, the season opener (a previous concert performance notwithstanding) is Don Carlos. This is a revival of Hytner's superb production of last June, to which we gave a relatively enthusiastic review (this may be understating it somewhat). The big change is that we get Jonas Kaufmann in place of Villazon in the title role. Given he was one of the weak links last time round (and there was a sense that Pappano was having to hold the orchestra back so as not to overwhelm him), this is very good news indeed. Equally good news is the return of Simon Keenlyside as Rodrigo. Poplavskaya returns as Elizabeth, a slight shame, since she cannot act. The other concern must be John Tomlinson as the Grand Inquisitor. I know I'll upset some, but I think his voice is now in territory where he could best serve his reputation by retiring gracefully; I realise the role is very old, but it requires a voice that is not past it. Semyon Bychkov takes over from Pappano in the pit.

The other standout is the March of revival of Bill Bryden's 1990 Prihody Lisky Bystrousky, The Cunning Little Vixen, if you prefer. This is notable primarily for the presence of Janacek supremo Sir Charles Mackerras. The cast includes Emma Matthews and Christopher Maltman.

In April, this is followed by a new David McVicar production of Verdi's Aida (later in the year McVicar's excellent Figaro gets a revival, though whether Colin Davis can equal Charles Mackerras's achievement is doubtful, but Soile Isokoski will be worth hearing as the Countess). Meanwhile, downstairs in the Lindbury, Carlos Wagner's disappointing production of Ades' Power Her Face gets a revival (only worth seeing if you're desperate for some onstage nudity, as, to judge from the Google search terms people use to get to this site, a slightly disturbing number of people clearly are).

Elsewhere, Ben Heppner and Nina Stemme sing Tristan and Isolde, with Pappano in the pit. Zambello is on hand for a revival of Carmen as well as a new production of Tchaikovsky's The Tsarina's Slippers, but I won't be attending: never the biggest fan of Carmen to begin with, I'm not keen to see another Zambello after her butchery of Don Giovanni (saved only by Mackerras and a superb cast). A rather old production of Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier gets a revival, most notable for the presence of Soile Isokoski as the Marschallin. January brings a revival of Jonathan Miller's Cosi Fan Tutte.

Still, all in all, it's pretty promising. I just wish we had a house in Scotland that put on half as much.

Lastly, I don't know what, but the Royal Opera House have obviously done something to their PDF file that makes it impossible to search through the document (this is extremely annoying).


Charlotte Higgins, chief arts writer at the Guardian, very kindly gives us a link, so it would be rude not to return the favour. Her overview can be found here.


Nick Fletcher said...

Looks like a interesting line! Will definitely see if I can go to Sir Charles doing Cunning Little Vixen, as I am involved in a production of it next Feb ( I know student productions aren't your normal fare but you should come and see it! (I'll even get you free ticket!)

Tam Pollard said...

I noticed that post - I'd love to see your production of Vixen (Janacek is one of my favourite composers so I'm not one to pass up such an opportunity, especially if it's free).


Thanks for this. If you want to see the ballet line-up, maybe you'd like to put up a link to my blog ? It's

thanks !

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