The 2011 – 2012 Season at Rome Opera 11.10.2011 (JB)

12/10/2011

The 2011 – 2012 Season at Rome Opera 11.10.2011 (JB)

It was standing room only in the huge circle foyer today at the Rome Opera for the announcements of the new season. Nor were the ladies and gentlemen of the press disappointed. They went off with a wealth of information with which to delight their readers. There was a feeling of being present on an historic occasion. So here goes.

During the interval of a performance of Aida at the Baths of Caracalla on 6 August 2011, there was a spontaneous assembly of the members of the Teatro dell’Opera’s Orchestra. They were asked if they would like to sign a letter inviting Riccardo Muti to become their Honorary Director for Life. The letter was sent through the theatre’s sovrintendente and signed on behalf of the orchestra by their leader, Vincenzo Bolognese. On 15 August 2011, Maestro Muti replied in a hand-written letter from Salzburg (the press were given photocopies) saying he was most touched and delighted to accept their proposal. Rejoicing all round.

The orchestra is the heartbeat of an opera house. As readers of my dispatches will know, the Rome Opera has a remarkably fine heartbeat, which is improving steadily. Maestro Muti had already voluntarily involved himself in auditions, thus guaranteeing improvements on what is already a solid base. This activity will increase with his new appointment. He will also continue to conduct two operas during each season and guide and advise all artistic decisions.

Sovrintendente Catello De Martino reported that the theatre would be closing its books on the present season without any deficit. Ticket sales were up, he said, and in spite of the recession and some non-Italian repertoire (!), performances which did not usually attract audiences in this conservative city were greatly increasing. All performances of Elektra were sold out. If you want to know why, read my report here: www.seenandheard-international.com/2011/10/04/greek-tragedy-reflecting-european-politics. And this is an opera which often does not sell out in German speaking countries.

Much of the credit for this success must go to the theatre’s excellent Artistic Director, Alessio Vlad, who will now additionally have the wisdom and experience of Riccardo Muti to aid his admirable programming. The rostrum of conductors would be the envy of any world-class theatre. And there is strong emphasis on the most gifted younger generation of singers. Stage Direction is in the hands of some of the most imaginative men on the planet. There are eight titles which make up the season with six or seven performances of each opera. Nearly all productions are in collaboration with other leading theatres.

Macbeth opens the season with performances between 27 November and 11 December, with Muti conducting and Peter Stein’s Salzburg production adapted for a smaller stage. Tatiana Serjan, Sebastian Catana and Riccardo Zanellato lead the cast.

From 18 through 24 January, Bernstein’s witty opera, Candide will be staged, conducted by Wayne Marshall (another favourite conductor of the orchestra) in a production from the San Carlo Opera of Naples by Lorenzo Mariani and with Michael Spyres, Adriana Asti, Jessica Pratt and John Graham-Hall in the cast.

Daniela Dessi sings the title role in Madama Butterfly (21 – 28 February) conducted by Pinchas Steinberg and directed by Giorgio Ferrara in a co-production with the Teatro Massimo of Palermo.

Die Zauberflöte in David McVicar’s Covent Garden production with Erik Nielsen conducting is on from 27 March to 1 April with Cynthia Sieden, Hanna Elizabeth Müller, Juan Francisco Gatell and Olaf Bar in the cast.

The admirable team of Bruno Campanella (conductor) and Ruggero Cappuccio (director) join forces between 18 and 24 April for Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Annalisa Stroppa, Juan Francisco Gatell, Alessandro Luciano and Paolo Bordogna in the leading roles.

Riccardo Muti again takes the podium between 25 May and 5 June for Verdi’s Attila in a new staging by Pier Luigi Pizzi (also responsible for sets and costumes) with Tatiana Serjan, Ildar Abdrazakov and Nicola Alaimo in the cast.

Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is to be conducted by James Conlon in Paul Curran’s staging (19 to 26 June) with Claudia Boyle, Elle Dehn, Lawrence Zazzo, Shawn Mathey, Peter Rose and Natascha Petrinsky in leading roles.

La Gioconda will be the final opera of the season from 23 to 31 October, conducted by Roberto Abbado with staging, sets and costumes by Per Luigi Pizzi in co-production with Madrid and Barcelona and Jennifer Wilson and Olga Borodina leading the cast.

Micha can Hoecke announced the ballet season, which doesn’t quite have the glitter of the opera casting but includes a Nutcracker for Christmas, Coppelia in February, an American programme in March and an evening dedicated to Béjart in May and Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet with John Cranko’s choreography in September and October 2012.

More detail on the Opera’s website: www.operaroma.it. Congratulations to Rome Opera on this adventurous programming. I look forward to reporting further.

Jack Buckley

 

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