The 2011-2012 Berlin opera season
What's on at the three Berlin operas in 2011-2012 - a preview
By Heiko Schon, translated by Andrej Huesener
Staatsoper Unter den Linden
Artistic director Jürgen Flimm continues to promote contemporary opera in 2011-12.
Four of the eight new productions are of works created in the 20th and 21st centuries, starting with Janacek's From the House of the Dead on 3 October 2011 in Patrice Chereau's celebrated production, with Willard White, Roman Trekel and Stefan Margita, and conducted by Sir Simon Rattle.
From 19 November 2011, the Czech theme continues with a new production of Smetana's The Bartered Bride
, produced by Balasz Kovalik with designs by Csaba Antal.
Karl-Heinz Steffens will conduct the Berlin Staatskapelle.
The Staatsoper's recent excursions into operetta have been less successful, but the house will try again to sparkle with a new production of Jacques Offenbach's Orphée aux Enfers
, produced by Philipp Stölzl and conducted by Christoph Israel.
The cast includes actors such as Stefan Kurt (Orpheus), Gustav Peter Wöhler (Pluto) and Ben Becker (Jupiter).
Whether the new venture will catch on better than other recent outings can be experienced from 16 December 2011.
Starting on 15 January 2012, Jürgen Flimm will present his previous Zurich production of Handel's oratorio Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disenganno
, conducted by the great Marc Minkowski.
From the Salzburg Festival, a prior production of Al gran sole carico d'amore
by Luigi Nono will transfer to Staatsoper.
The piece will play at Kraftwerk Mitte from 1 March 2012, conducted by Ingo Metzmacher.
Andrea Breth follows up her masterful production of Wozzeck
with a new version of Alban Berg's second opera Lulu.
Conducted by Daniel Barenboim and with soprano Mojca Erdmann in the title role, the event promises to be of the highest musical calibre.
No Staatsoper season is complete without conductor Rene Jacobs:
he'll be celebrating the 20th anniversary of his association with the Staatsoper in 2012.
Jacobs will bring a rarity to Berlin, a production of Emilio de Cavalieri's Rappresentazione di anima et di corpo
, produced, designed and lit by Achim Freyer.
It premieres on 8 June 2012.
Yet another co-production with Salzburg Festival is Wolfgang Rihm's Dionysos
, staged as part of the INFEKTION! Festival from 8 July 2012.
Pierre Audi will revive his production designed by Jonathan Meese;
Ingo Metzmacher, who conducted the Salzburg premiere, will also wield the baton in Berlin.
Deutsche Oper Berlin produced a new Don Giovanni
as recently as 2010;
the Staatsoper therefore announces a guest performance of Robert Carsen's Don Giovanni
from La Scala di Milano, conducted by Daniel Barenboim and with a cast including Christopher Maltman, Anna Netrebko and Giuseppe Filianoti, from 24 June 2012.
The Staatsoper's plans for 2012 also include two concert performances of VIncenzo Bellini's Norma
with Edita Gruberova on 29 October and 3 November 2011, as well as Carl Heinrich Graun's Montezuma
with Vesselina Kasarova and Pavol Breslik on 26 and 28 January 2012.
The repertory also has many tempting offers:
Music Director Daniel Barenboim will conduct his first Barber of Seville
Aleksandra Kurzak stars as Violetta (La Traviata
; June/July 2012);
Christine Schäfer sings Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro
Waltraud Meier will sing her signature role of Isolde in Tristan und Isolde
Placido Domingo and Anja Harteros will share the stage in Simon Boccanegra
and Andris Nelsons will conduct Madama Butterfly
, with Kristine Opolais singing the title role (May 2012).
The studio stage offerings include more contemporary works such as Last Desire
Wahnsinn, das ist die Seele der Handlung
(April/May 2012), Lehrstück
(June 2012) and Die Musik ist los - 100 Jahre Cage
New productions for children and young people include Aschenputtel
(November/December 2011), Moscow Tcheryomuchki
Der gestiefelte Kater
will also be revived in January 2012.
Andreas Homoki, prefacing the preview of his last season, says that there's no better job for an opera director than taking over as artistic director of the Komische Oper Berlin.
Looking back on Homoki's reign at the Komische Oper one could say that the Komische Oper Berlin could not have done better than to hire Homoki.
The house has a unique artistic vision and stimulates public debate about opera, bringing the art form opera to life.
This will be Homoki's last season at Komische Oper before he departs for Zurich, and he will say his farewells as chief director with a new production of Janacek's The Cunning Little Vixen.
Brigitte Geller will sing the title role;
Alexander Vedernikov conducts the Komische Oper Orchestra.
The animal theme continues on 30 October 2011 with the premiere of Christian Jost's insect opera Mikropolis
, conducted by the composer and staged by Nadja Loschky.
Director Sebastian Baumgarten follows up his Im Weissen Rössl
with a new production of Georges Bizet's indefatigable Carmen
From 27 November 2011, Stella Doufexis will sing the title role, conducted by Stefan Blunier.
From 29 January 2012, the infamous Catalan director Calixto Bieito will show his version of Carl-Maria von Weber's Der Freischütz
, designed by Rebecca Ringst and conducted by Music Director Patrick Lange.
They first collaborated on the classic Kiss Me Kate
Here they'll reunite for something altogether darker:
actress and soprano Dagmar Manzel and Barrie Kosky will stage a new version of Kurt Weill's The Seven Deadly Sins
, from 12 February 2012 (conductor: Kristiina Poska).
The works of Daniel Francois Esprit Auber are a rarity on Berlin's stages;
from 11 March 2012, audiences can discover his opera The Bronze Horse
, produced by Frank Hilbrich and conducted by Maurizio Barbacini.
The final new production of the season is delivered by the sought-after director of the moment Stefan Herheim, working for the first time at the Komische Oper Berlin.
His version of Handel's Xerxes
stars Stella Doufexis (Xerxes), Brigitte Geller (Romilda), Dimitry Ivashchenko (Ariodante), with Konrad Junghänel conducting.
What else is on offer?
Dagmar Manzel treats her fans to Kiss Me Kate
the sensational Rusalka
(November 2011, January 2012) is revived, as is the hotly debated Abduction from the Seraglio
(April, May 2012);
and Andreas Homoki's best productions are of course revived in his last season: La Bohème
The Love for Three Oranges
(February/May 2012); Der Rosenkavalier
( March/April 2012).
Last but not least, a non-operatic recommendation:
the first symphony concert of the season brings Hamburg's Music Director Simone Young to Berlin on 14 October 2011.
Kirsten Harms will say her farewell with a gala performance of Tannhäuser on 9 July 2011, but Dietmar Schwarz will take up the position as artistic director only in 2012-13.
Christoph Seuferle will therefore not only serve as opera director but also as interim artistic director - though not quite for the whole season, as the Deutsche Oper will terminate its season early in mid-June 2012 for urgent repairs on the stage machinery.
The Deutsche Oper will continue its programme of Zukunft Grosse Oper, though unfortunately it will discontinue its revivals of lost masterpieces.
The first premiere of the season is Giuseppe Verdi's Don Carlo.
Marco Arturo Marelli produces and designs;
music director Donald Runnicles will conduct, with Anja Harteros and Adrienne Pieczonka sharing the role of Elisabeth.
Just before his 84th birthday, a perennial favourite will return to the Deutsche Oper:
Alberto Zedda will conduct a new production of Gioacchino Rossini's Tancredi
from 22 January 2012.
Pier Luigi Pizzi will produce and design, Patrizia Ciofi will sing the role of Amenaide.
The Deutsche Oper is also showing a work by Leos Janacek:
Christof Loy will debut in Berlin with his version of Jenufa
Donald Runnicles will conduct, the cast includes stars such as Hanna Schwarz and Jennifer Larmore.
Götz Friedrich's production of Lohengrin
will be replaced by Kaspar Holten's new staging from 15 April 2012.
The cast includes Albert Dohmen (King Heinrich), Marco Jentzsch (Lohengrin), Ricarda Merbeth (Elsa) and Petra Lang (Ortrud);
since Wagner at the Deutsche Oper is top priority, music director Donald Runnicles will conduct.
And that's all the new staged productions at Deutsche Oper next season due to the stage machinery works.
However, a number of concert performances complete the plans for 2011-12:
Georges Bizet's Les pecheurs des perles
with Patrizia Ciofi, Joseph Calleja and Ante Jerkunica (19/22 December 2011),
Giuseppe Verdi's I due foscari
(9/11 May 2012 with Leo Nucci, Ramon Vargas) and Il Trovatore
(6/9 June 2012 with Anja Harteros and Stephanie Blythe),
Leonard Bernstein's Candide
(15/8 March 2012 with Grace Bumbry, Simone Kermes, and Toby Spence) and an evening combining Felix von Weingartner's Die Dorfschule
with Carl Orff's Gisei - Das Opfer
(19 May 2011 only).
Stars announced for 2011-12 include Diana Damrau (Lucia di Lammermoor
, 8 June 2012);
Vittorio Grigolo (La Boheme
, 30 December 2011 and 3 January 2012/La Traviata
, January, February 2012),
Ambrogio Maestri (Falstaff
, November/December 2012), Krassimira Stoyanova (Luisa Miller
, March 2012),
Thomas Hampson (Un Ballo in Maschera, February 2012), Peter Seiffert (Tristan und Isolde
, February 2012) and Nina Stemme (concert, 27 April 2012).
The Deutsche Oper's legendary Ring cycle
in a time tunnel opens the season in September 2011 when it is performed twice.
The cast includes Mark Delavan/Greer Grimsley (Wotan), Jennifer Wilson/Janice Baird (Brünnhilde), Robert Dean Smith (Siegmund), Petra Maria Schnitzer (Sieglinde), Torsten Kerl/Stephen Gould (Siegfried) , Matti Salminen (Hagen),
Markus Brück (Donner, Gunther), Gordon Hawkins (Alberich), Peter Maus/Burkhard Ulrich (Mime), Daniela Sindram (Fricka), Heidi Melton (Gutrune) and Karen Cargill (Waltraute).
Donald Runnicles conducts the Deutsche Oper Orchestra.