Rome Opera’s 2014 – 2015 Season
Following the fiasco at La Scala, Riccardo Muti was cautious about taking on another Italian House. There wasn’t, of course, a Sovrintendente (General Manager) who would not have been delighted to enrol him as Principal Conductor. Various Sovrintendenti tried. To no avail. Rome made another approach. The orchestra met and discussed the possibility of working with Maestro Muti. There was no other conductor they would rather work with, they agreed. This was put to the vote. It passed unanimously. For legal reasons, the invitation had to come from the Sovrintendente’s office. But that gentleman made it clear that in this instance he was the messenger and enclosed the orchestra’s invitation, signed by them all. (The trouble at La Scala had been largely with the orchestra.) That brought about the historic deal. Riccardo Muti accepted to be Honorary Conductor For Life. He has been conducting two or three operas a year as well as concerts and been active in all auditioning, both vocal and orchestral. That is before we mention choice of operas for the entire season. The marriage of Muti with the orchestra and the Artistic Director, Alessio Vlad, seems to have been made in heaven. In the coming season, Muti will conduct two operas.
His Aida opens the season on 27 November with further performances on the 29th, and on December 2, 4, 7, 10, 12 and 14 in a new production by Pier’ Alli (who as usual, designs his own sets and costumes) and with alternating casts including Violeta Urmana, Ekaterina Gubanova Luca Dall’ Amico, Krassimira Stoyanova, Aleksandrs Antonenko, Marco Spotti, Luca Salsi, Antonello Ceron and Simge Büyükedes.
There will be eight further performances of the Alli Aida (23, 24, 26, 28, 29, 30 April and 2, 3, May) and conducted by the great maestro of Italian opera, Donato Renzetti and with casts which alternate between Anita Rachvelshvilli, Csilla Boross, Singe Büyükedes, Fabio Sartori, Sergio Escobar, Roberto Tagliavini, Antonello Ceron, Kiril Manolov and Luca Dall’Amico.
Maestro Muti’s second opera, Le Nozze di Figaro (21, 24, 26, 28, 30, 31 May and 3 June) has casts alternating with Alessandro Luongo, Markus Werba, Eleanora Buratto, Rosa Feola, Michaela Selinger, Isabel De Paoli, Carlo Lepore and Damiana Mizzi. This should be an exceptionally interesting production, being in the hands of the young, immensely gifted stage director, Andrea De Rosa. (see my review of his Curlew River in Perugia last autumn.)
Another exceptionally intelligent stage director, Willy Decker, (of the famed Salzburg Traviata) brings his Frankfurt production of Werther to Rome (18, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29 January) where the conductor is Jesus Lòpez-Cobos and leading singers Francesco Meli, Jean-Luc Ballestra, Marc Barrard, Veronica Simeoni and Ekaterina Sadovnikova.
Donato Renzetti is also on the podium for a revival of the original Tosca, first seen at its world premiere in this theatre in 1900 (1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 1, 12 March then 24, 26, 28 June) with Alessandro Talevi’s production based on the 1900 original and alternating casts of Oksana Dyka, Tatiana Serjan, Rafaella Angeletti, Yonghoon Lee, Alfred Kim, Roberto Frontali, Claudio Sgura, Saverio Fiore and Domenico Colaianni.
There is a revival of Leo Muscato’s staging of Rigoletto (4, 5, 6, 7, 8 February) outside season ticket arrangements, conducted y Gaetano D’Espinosa with alternating casts including Ivan Magri, George Petean, Giovanni Meoni, Irina Lungu, Mikhail Korobeynikov, Anna Malavasi and Pietro Picone.
Roberto Abbado conducts Luca Ronconi’s new production of Lucia di Lammermoor (31 March, 2, 4, 8, 10, 12 April) Principal singers are Marco Caria, Jessica Pratt, Stefano Secco, Alessandro Liberatore and Roberto Tagliavini.
James Conlon, with whom the orchestra particularly enjoy working, conducts Tchaikovsky’s Pique Dame –The Queen of Spades- (19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 30 June) in Peter Stein’s staging in coproduction with the Opera de Lyon and with Maksim Aksënov, Oksana Dyka, Ludovic Tézier, Igor Golovatenko and Alisa Kolosova.
Two very lively stage directors take charge of two sparky stage works in the autumn of 2015 to complete the programme. Giorgio Barberio Corsetti for John Adams’s I was looking at the ceiling and then I saw the sky, to be conducted by Alexander Briger (11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17 September). And Graham Vick for a new production of The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, conducted by John Axelrod (6, 11, 13, 15, 17 October).
Sovrintendente, Carlo Fuortes, reminded the press that this represents 14 shows, compared with 12 of last season, 5 new productions, against three in the present season and a total of 115 performances against 89 in the present season. That would seem to justify their continuing slogan of Roma Opera Aperta.