The Greatest Ever Season: Rome Opera’s 2013-2014 Programme

On  27 February 2014 Anna Netrebko will make a triple debut: (1) at the Rome Opera, (2) under the baton of Riccardo Muti and (3) in the title role of Manon Lescaut.  Staging by Chiara Muti (Riccardo Muti’s daughter; see for her  excellent Dido and Aeneas  at Caracalla this summer).  If you haven’t got the tenor, you haven’t got Manon Lescaut  and Alessio Vlad, Teatro dell’Opera’s outstanding Artistic Director, says he travelled far and wide,  auditioning with Maestro Muti for this role, before they settled on Yusif Eyvazov (also a Rome Opera debut) with Simone Piazzola also in the cast.  Repeats on 2, 4, 6, 8 March.

Verdi opens and closes the season, the first,   conducted by Muti.  Ernani  27 November – 14 December 2013, with Luca Salsi, Tatiana Serjan / Anna Pirozzi,  Francesco Meli, Ildar Abdrazakov / Ildebrando D’Arcangelo with Staging, Sets and Costumes by Hugo de Ana (in coproduction with Sydney Opera House).  Rigoletto   21 –31 October 2014 is conducted by Renato Palumbo, with a Staging by Leo Muscato and a cast led by Albina Shagimuratova / Claudia Boyle, Giorgio Berrugi, Mikhail Korobeynikov, Pietro Picone.

A Ravel double bill,   30 January- 6 February 2014, of L’Enfant et Les Sortileges and L’Heure Espagnole  sees a welcome return of Charles Dutoit to the podium with staging and costumes by Laurent Pelly, direct from Glyndebourne, and Khatouna Gadelia, Stephanie d’Oustrac, Kathleen Kim, Julie Pasturaud, Andrea Concetti, Jean-Luc Ballestra and Francois Piolino in the cast.

Carmen  returns to the Rome stage 18 – 28 June, conducted by Emmanuel Villaume, Directed by Demilio Sagi and with Anita Rashvesvili / Clementine Margaine, Aleksandrs Antonenko / Andeka Gorrotxategui, Kyle Ketelsen / Simon Orfila, Maria Agresta / Eleanora Buratto.

From 28 March to 8 April the Rossini rarity, Maometto II  comes from La Fenice in Pier Luigi Pizzi’s staging, conducted by Roberto Abbado with Dmitry Korchak, Martina Rebeka / Carmela Remigio, Alisa Kolosova, Alex Esposito / Roberto Tagliavini.

8 to 14 May brings L’Elisir D’ Amore  with one of finest of all bel-canto conductors, Donato Renzeti, staged by Ruggero Cappuccio and with a cast of Rosa Feola / Ekaterina Sadovnikova, Francesco Meli / Antonio Poli, Alessandro Luongo / Joan Martin Royo,  Adrian Sampetrean / Marco Nisticò.

For me, one of the most interesting announcements of Maestro Vlad at the presentation press conference was the assurance that last year’s Curlew River, so movingly staged by Mario Martone and conducted  by James Conlon in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli (review link: will continue with the same team in the same place with The Prodigal Son  on 5 July.  The cycle of the three Britten parables for church performance will be completed in the 2014-15 season with The Burning Fiery Furnace. 

Future co-productions are under discussion with the Met, English National Opera, Madrid and others.  Rome Opera never looked healthier.  The orchestra was in good shape under previous management but it continues to improve, not least since Maestro Muti  requires his presence at orchestral auditions.  There are training programmes for a junior orchestra and children’s chorus and the theatre will soon launch a course for young singers under Riccardo Muti’s guidance.

Lucky Tokyo will receive two memorable productions from the present season: Nabucodonosor( and Simon Boccanegra ( between 20 May and 1 June, both with Maestro Muti and the original all-star cast.

Training continues apace too under the steely eye of Micha van Hoecke, Director of the Rome Opera Ballet.  Maestro van Hoecke announced real satisfaction with the progress of his prodigies.

The season begins and almost ends with Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake from 21 December to 16 January and Sleeping Beauty  from 23 May to 1 June.  Prokofiev’s Cinderella  will be on stage from 25 September to 5 October as the autumn dance offering.

The remaining two ballet programmes are made up of shorter pieces.  Notes De La Nuit  (5-9 January) has Quartet with music by Steve Reich and Philip Glass and  choreography by Francesco Nappa; Aunis with music by Maruice Pacher and choreography by Jacques Garner and Aria Tango with van Hoecke choreography to music of Luis Bacalov. Maestro van Hoecke is again choreographer to music of Verdi in Verdi Danse from 15 to 19 April.

For the first time, booking for these performances will be available internationally on-line.  Refer to the theatre’s website for this and further details:

Jack Buckley