Saturday, May 7, 2011


is the European Opera Day. In theaters across Europe there are soooo many interesting free events to see (c.f. this map and get more info about the events in theaters near you). Besides you may enjoy the program on Arte-TV  [quite obviously the world's coolest TV]:  Werther with Kaufmann and Koch opened the day. Next is Rigoletto with Damrau and Florez, and after two more operas(!) --tonight at 20:15 cet-- you may watch the TV premiere of Adrianna Lecouvreur (recent ROH production directed by David McVicar, with Gheorghiu and Kaufmann)

In Brussels, instead of Isabelle Adjani (photo), Marlis Petersen will incarnate Marguerite de Valois 

Another important thing to keep in mind is that the Internet ticket sales for the new production of Les Huguenots [Py/Minkowski] at La Monnaie/De Munt in Brussels start today at noon.  It is one of the most talked about operatic events this season, and so...  Here is your link

Ed: Don't forget to check out the 2011-2012 program at Theater Basel: you may then easily understand why they were voted the best opera theater in 2009 and in 2010. E.g. Wozzeck: Edith Haller was that fantastic Sieglinde in Bayreuth last year, Thomas J Mayer is that amazing Wotan in Paris, and Elmar Goerden is one of the best European theater directors  -- this will be his only second opera so far: the first one was Le Nozze also produced in... well, in Basel.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Nouvelles productions en Europe

May is usually a bit low key in terms of new productions. All theaters seem to be busy preparing to unleash their best shows in June to conclude their operatic season on a high note.

However, some highly promising new productions are scheduled to open this month, with  4+"1" among them standing out:

  1. Il trionfo del tempo e del disanganno new Calixto Bieito production in Stuttgart should be the director's first encounter with baroque. Calixto-shows are nowadays considered as being extraordinary cultural events.  DVD release is anticipated this time (contrary to the missed opportunity with Parsifal last year), and I predict Marina Prudenskaya will show everyone once again how brilliant she is. 
  2. Die Frau ohne Schatten will open in Copenhagen -- the house's artistic director Kasper Holten will direct this show that will be his goodbye to the house that he's given his finest creations: the best Ring we could see so far, amazing Maskerade... Respect! 
  3. La Damnation de Faust at the London Coliseum: Terry Gilliam is Monty Python, and anything created by Monty Python is more than worth our attention. Way to go ENO!
  4. Idomeneo at the Komische in Berlin will be directed by Benedikt von Peter whose extraordinary Parsifal is still running at Theater Basel: definitely one of your must-see productions this year. 
  5. Keith Warner presents his new show in Frankfurt --  Pizzetti's Murder in the Cathedral [Warum englische Fassung?], while Luc Bondy is preparing to show off his look on Rigoletto in Vienna. Peter Konwitschny instead  will shake the ramblas with his new Freischütz (GTL) and hopefully delete from our memory  a  pitiful production of this opera recently presented in Paris (Comique).

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Tour di maggio a Parigi

Komische Berlin - Karlsruhe discovery

I like reading the reports from the yesterday's press conference at the Komische Oper in Berlin during which the content of their next season has been unveiled. Check out my updates in the right column and you will see in particular that Stefan Herheim and Heike Scheele will be in charge of new Xerxes,  Calixto Bieito will produce new Freischütz, Sebastien Baumgarten will direct new Carmen (btw, Baumgarten is a delightfully talented director whose Tannhäuser will open this year's Bayreuther Festspiele)...

After Entführung aus dem Serail @ Komische Oper (May 2010)

The press conference was special because the next season will be the last with Andreas Homoki holding the position of the house's artistic director [he will move to Zurich, and Barrie Kosky will take his current position

Homoki is one of the best opera directors in the world -- a visionary director with guts and persistence who was one among the first directors who proposed intelligent Regie productions, and who --by  his huge talent and unmatchable sense for theater-- substantially contributed  to solidify the Regie position in today's opera-producing world. 
As artistic director he's cool in running the house, constantly refreshing it with new ideas, opened to new young directors, new musicians [NB that one of the finest opera orchestra and chorus you can find in Germany and/or in Europe today.]

His KOB team seems to be so homogeneous and well coordinated that even with their tight budget they boldly announced 7 new productions for 2011-2012. I liked to read that Homoki yesterday said: "We at the Komische Oper place great importance to producing our operas by ourselves instead of buying them from other houses."

Note that the Homoki's farewell season at the Komische will contain a number of revivals including memorable productions directed by himself: Bartered Bride, La Bohème, Love of 3 Oranges, Mahagonny, Rosenkavalier. To that add the new production of The Cunning little Vixen.

While going through the programs for 2011-2012 I was thrilled to discover a new gem: Badisches Staatstheater in Karlsruhe. To me their season 2011-2012 is a slam dunk: Les Troyens directed by David Hermann, Lohengrin by Benedikt v Peter (with Lance Ryan singing!), plus one new opera directed by Tobias Kratzer! Even their new Rigoletto --with Jim Lucassen in charge-- should be interesting.