August 2009

The 2009-2010 Berlin opera season

What's on at the three Berlin operas in 2009-2010 - a preview

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The 2009-2010 Berlin opera season

What's on at the three Berlin operas in 2009-2010 - a preview

By Heiko Schon, translated by Nancy Chapple

Komische Oper

"I'm staying until 2012. Basta!" With these words, Andreas Homoki swept the rumor off the table that he might hand his baton over to Barrie Kosky earlier than planned. But in his function as head director, the Intendant of the Komische Oper is making himself rather scarce for the 2009-10 season: it seems he would rather dish up a new Traviata at Dresden's Semperoper, concentrating on the 2010-11 season opening (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg) and handing over all seven new productions in his own house to his colleagues in production. The designated future boss has first dibs: Barrie Kosky is presenting his vision of Verdi's Rigoletto starting 20 Sept. 2009. The first cast will include Hector Sandoval (Herzog), Julia Novikova (Gilda) and Bruno Caproni (in the title role). Conducting: Patrick Lange.

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The women's quartet of Elisabeth Naske (composition), Theresita Colloredo (libretto), Jasmina Hadziahmetovic (staging), and Catherine Larsen-Maguire (musical direction) is putting together a major family opera based on the classic book for young people by Kurt Held: Die rote Zora will have its German premiere on 1 Nov. 2009.
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On we go with two heroes of contemporary music theater: starting 22 Nov. 2009, Hans Neuenfels will present his new staging of Aribert Reimann's Lear for discussion. And wherever Neuenfels is, his wife cannot be far behind: you can experience Elisabeth Trissenaar as the Narr. General Music Director Carl St. Clair will conduct.
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After the success of her children's opera performances, Jetske Mijnssen now has an opportunity to take on belcanto. On 31 Jan. 2010, the premiere curtain will rise on Donizetti's Don Pasquale; Maurizio Barbacini will provide musical direction.
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Since his Theseus practically teemed with sap and strength, Alessandro de Marchi will conduct anew a work by Georg Friedrich Händel. Orlando, directed by Alexander Mørk-Eidem, will be added to the KOB's repertoire starting on 26 Feb. 2010.
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That the aforementioned Theseus was also exuberantly fresh boiled down to Benedikt von Peter's contribution. Now the 32-year old director can pitch into one of the most important core pieces of the German repertoire: Beethoven's Fidelio. Under Carl St. Clair's musical direction, the premiere will take place on 25 April 2010.
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In conclusion, Nicolas Stemann (direction) and Markus Poschner (conductor) will serve up buffonesque Offenbach. La Périchole will be on the playing schedule starting on 6 June 2010.
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The season has in store repertoire performances of Calixto Bieito's stagings of Die Entführung aus dem Serail and Armida. The ever-popular Kiss me, Kate (with Dagmar Manzel), Der Rosenkavalier (with Solveig Kringelborn) and Hoffmanns Erzählungen cannot be omitted, just like the classic The Love of Three Oranges (also at New Year's).



Deutsche Oper

Kirsten Harms may have to save, save, save - but nonetheless, preferably not save on doing things in a big way. So the DOB's Intendantin took up her red pencil and summarily eliminated Fidelio from the new season. This year's rediscovery had to "shed feathers" as well and will now be presented only as a concert performance. Nonetheless: Harms has come up with an interesting schedule, with a clear focus on the works of Richard Wagner. It kicks off, however, with belcanto (also in concert): Bellini's I Capuleti e I Montecchi will premiere on 6 Sept. 2009. Conducted by Karel Mark Chichon, Elīna Garača will sing Romeo.

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The newly minted GMD of the Leipzig Opera, Ulf Schirmer, will take on musical direction of the first new production. Kirsten Harms will present her vision of Richard Strauss' Die Frau ohne Schatten on 27 Sept. 2009.
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After her grandiose Schlaue Füchslein, Katharina Thalbach is finally returning to the DOB. This time, the effervescent all-round talent will be staging Rossini's Der Barbier von Sevilla. The premiere curtain will rise on 29 Nov. 2009; Enrique Mazzola will conduct in the orchestra pit.
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Rienzi is currently experiencing a renaissance at German theaters. Now - after new productions in Leipzig and Bremen - the house on Bismarckstrasse will shoulder Richard Wagner's early work. The directing team consists of Philipp Stölzl (director) and Michail Jurowski (conductor); the premiere is 24 Jan. 2010.
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The rarity mentioned at the outset is revealed to be Hermann Wolfgang von Waltershausen's Oberst Chabert. Jacques Lamcombe will conduct the performances on 26 and 28 March 2010; Bo Skovhus will sing the title role.
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The bouquet of premieres will conclude on 30 May 2010 with Verdi's Otello. Andreas Kriegenburg, well-known from straight theater, will stage the Moor of Venice; Paolo Carignani takes on musical direction.
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For the Wagner weeks (20 Sept. 2009 - 21 Feb. 2010), there'll be performances of Tannhäuser (with Peter Seiffert), Tristan und Isolde (with Evelyn Herlitzius), Lohengrin (with Ben Heppner and Ricarda Merbeth), Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (with Klaus Florian Vogt), Der fliegende Holländer (with Hans Peter König) and two complete Ring cycles (directed by GMD Donald Runnicles). In addition, we can look forward to guests Anja Harteros and José Cura (Otello, May, June 2010), Vesselina Kasarova (Carmen, April 2010), Diana Damrau (Lucia di Lammermoor, March 2010), Adrianne Pieczonka (Arabella, June 2010), Ambrogio Maestri (Falstaff, October 2009), Dmitri Hvorostovsky (Ein Maskenball, October, November 2009) and Elena Mosuc (La Traviata, December 2009, January 2010).



Staatsoper Unter den Linden

Well, there you go: Jürgen Flimm will vacate his office at the Festspiele in a timely manner, take leave of Salzburg with a 'Servus', and place his suitcases in the Intendant's rooms at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden. There will be only an abbreviated season at the SOB in 2009-10, since the transfer to the Schillertheater is coming up soon. Which means a friend of many years is happy to drop by, for instance star tenor Plácido Domingo. He will be switching temporarily into the baritone vocal fach and singing the title role in Verdi's Simon Boccanegra starting on 24 Oct. 2009. The co-production with La Scala of Milan will be developed by maestro Daniel Barenboim and Federico Tiezzi (direction).

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The party celebrating the move will continue with operetta - Die Fledermaus. Christian Pade has been engaged for this production. The premiere season will start on 21 Nov. 2009 and will be conducted by Zubin Mehta.
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Starting on 4 Feb. 2010, the house will expand its Baroque repertoire: Messrs Vincent Boussard (director), Vincent Lemaire (stage design), Christian Lacroix (costumes) and René Jacobs (musical direction) will take on the Händel opera about the Roman empress Agrippina.
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The end of the list of new productions has already been reached on 16 May 2010 with L'Ètoile by Emmanuel Chabrier. After Pelleas und Melisande, Sir Simon Rattle will conduct the Staatskapelle once again; Dale Duesing is responsible for the production.
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And what else? The names of the vocal delicacies include Nino Machaidze (Der Liebestrank, May 2010), Catherine Naglestad (Tosca, April 2010), Angela Denoke (Salome, April 2010) and Waltraud Meier (Tristan und Isolde, August 2009, March, April 2010).



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