Following an introduction by Tony Hall, Music Director Antonio Pappano explained that the five Olympic rings became a starting point for planning the season and rather than opening the season with a couple of revivals leading up to the first new production of the season around October time, for the first time in many years the Royal Opera is going to open with a new production.
Richard Jones will direct the first complete staging of Puccini’s Il Trittico in the house since the ‘60s, adding stagings of Il Tabarro and Suor Angelica to his already existing production of Gianni Schicci There’s top flight casting as Eva-Maria Westbroek, Anja Harteros, Anna Larsson and Lucio Gallo are all scheduled to appear.
Pappano went on to say that at the other end of the season, which in effect is the start of the 2012/13 season the company will perform complete Ring Cycles – a fitting culmination to Olympic year.
The other major works which make up the five ‘Olympic Rings’ are a revival of Graham Vick’s highly acclaimed staging of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, the world premiere of Judith Weir’s Miss Fortune, a new staging by Robert Carsen of Verdi’s Falstaff and perhaps most exciting of all, David McVicar stages Berlioz’s epic Les Troyens with a mouth-watering cast that includes Anna Caterina Antonacci, Jonas Kaufmann and Eva-Maria Westbroek.
Rusalka belatedly receives its first staged performances at The Royal Opera in a production first seen at the Salzburg Festival directed by Jossi Wieler and Sergio Morabito that looks both challenging and engrossing and one of the most exciting of the younger generation of conductors, Yannick Nézet-Séguin makes his company debut. Camilla Nylund (another debut) sings the title role.
The remainder of the season is made up of revivals – La Traviata returns for a whopping twenty-two performances, and all three of the Mozart/Da Ponte operas return with an especially strong cast for Le nozze di Figaro. Jeffrey Tate makes a long overdue return to conduct Der fliegende Holländer with Falk Struckmann in the title role and there are revivals of Faust, La Sonnambula, Rigoletto, La fille du régiment, Otello and Salome. John Copley’s ultra-traditional staging of La bohème returns but with a sensational cast including Anja Harteros and Barbara Frittoli as Mimi, Nuccia Focile as Musetta and Joseph Calleja and Roberto Alagna sharing the role of Rodolfo.
Operatic legend, Placido Domingo, celebrates his forty-year association with the House with two special performances in October when he will sing the title roles in Rigoletto (Act 3), Simon Boccanegra (Act 3) and Otello (Act 3).
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