Zurich Opera House in 2019-20

Season Preview: Zurich Opera House 2019/2020

Opera Premieres – The season opens with a new production of Janáček’s Makropulos Case with Evelyn Herlitzius in the title role. Dmitri Tcherniakov produces, Jakob Hrůša conducts. Premiere on 22nd Sept. 2019 with 7 further performances (until 22nd October 2019).

Handel’s oratorio Belshazzar will be staged and produced by Sebastian Baumgarten. Laurence Cummings conducts. Premiere is on 3rd November 2019 with 8 further performances through to 6th December 2019.

Christof Loy will be the producer for a new production of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, so we can expect the unexpected; Enrique Mazzola conducts, Johannes Martin Kränzle sings the title role. Premiere on 8th December 2019, 8 further performances over the Christmas and New Year period, ending on 9th January 2020.

Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride Premieres on 2nd February 2020; Andreas Homoki produces, Gianluca Capuano conducts. None other than Cecilia Bartoli sings the title role in the first 5 performances, then Birgitte Christensen takes over. Last performance 28th February 2020.

Richard Strauss’s Arabella will be conducted by Fabio Luisi in a new Robert Carsen production. Julia Kleiter sings Arabella. Premiere 1st March 2020, last performance 31st March 2020.

Operetta continues to make its mark in Zurich. This season, in addition to an Operetta Gala conducted by Fabio Luisi and with Camilla Nylund and Piotr Beczała, the new production with be Kálmán’s Die Csardasfürstin with Annette Dasch and Pavol Breslik. Ulf Schirmer, an operetta specialist, conducts. Premiere on 5th April 2020, last performance 3rd May 2020.

Thomas Hampson will sing the role of Jan Vermeer in a new opera by Stefan Wirth entitled Girl with a Pearl Earring, also featuring Felicity Palmer. Premiere 24th May 2020, last performance 19th June 2020.

The Verdi new production will be I vespri siciliani, conducted by Fabio Luisi, produced by Calixto Bieito. Maria Agresta and Quinn Kelsey are the vocal stars. Premiere on 21st June 2020, last performance 10th July 2020.

Opera Revivals – Revivals include Nabucco conducted by Fabio Luisi – with an appearance for one (and the final) performance only by Placido Domingo singing the baritone role of Nabucco – on 13th October 2020. Gala prices of course, 380 Swiss Francs might (but only might) secure you a stalls seat, that’s approximately £300. Otherwise Dalibor Jenis sings the title role, with Catherine Naglestad as Abigaille. Premiere 24th September 2019.

La traviata also conducted by Luisi features some new young singers: Kristina Mkhitaryan as Violetta and Liparit Avetisyan as Alfredo; and stalwart George Petean as Germont. Premiere 26th September 2019, last performance 11th October 2019.

Der Freischütz returns, with Axel Kober in the pit. Benjamin Bruns sings Max, Jacquelin Wagner makes her house debut in the role of Agathe. Christof Fischesser sings Kaspar. First performance 29th September 2019, final performance 27th October 2019.

Kirill Serebrennikov, still under house arrest in Russia, might or might not be allowed out to oversee his production of Così fan Tutte. Ottavio Dantone conducts; Russian singers abound, Ruzan Mantashyan, Anna Goryachova, Konstantin Shushakov, Alexey Neklyudov, with Michael Nagy as Don Alfonso. First performance 20th October 2019, last performance 8th November 2019.

Il turco in Italia returns on 10th December 2019 for 5 performances for those who miss it this Spring, or want to see it again. Antonino Fogliano conducts, a Jan Philipp Gloger production. Rosa Feola sings Fiorilla, Kyle Ketelsen sings Selim.

In time for Christmas 2019 Hänsel und Gretel makes a welcome return in a Robert Carsen production; Paul Daniel conducts. Opening night 15th December 2019, last performance 19th January 2020.

Cecilia Bartoli and Javier Camarena will ensure a packed house for La Cenerentola. Gianluca Capuano is in the pit. Opening night on New Year’s Eve at gala prices, then 3 performances in January 2020.

The Magic Flute returns in January 2020 for 5 performances. Sascha Goetzel conducts.

Andreas Homoki’s production of Fidelio returns at the end of January 2020, Markus Poschner conducts, Anja Kampe sings Leonore, Andreas Schager makes his house debut as Florestan.

Andreas Homoki’s splendid production of Wozzeck also makes a come-back, with the incomparable Christian Gerhaher as Wozzeck. Hartmut Haenchen conducts. I recommend the DVD. Opening night 9th February 2020, then 3 more performances in February.

Juan Diego Flórez will be the draw for La bohème; Ruzan Mantashyan sings Mimì. Marco Armiliato is in the pit. Opening night 8th March 2020, last performance 29th March.

Otello returns on 17th March with Aleksandrs Antonenko as Otello; Guanqun Yu sings Desdemona, Juan Jesus Rodriguez as Iago. Daniele Rustioni conducts.

Marco Armiliato returns to conduct Aida on 19th April with performances through to 10th May 2020. Aida is sung by one of Russia’s current Verdi singers, Veronika Dzhioeva, Radamés is sung by Italian tenor Stefano La Colla.

Saimir Pirgu sings the title role in Gounod’s Faust. Opening night 9th May 2020, last performance 23rd May 2020. American conductor Ryan McAdams makes his house debut in the pit.

Luca Pisaroni sings the title role in Don Giovanni, with Jane Archibald as Donna Anna. Riccardo Minasi conducts. Opens on 30th May 2020, last 13th June 2020.

Andreas Homoki’s production of Lohengrin returns with Piotr Beczała and Elza van den Heever. Opens on 28th June, last performance 11th July 2020. Simone Young conducts.

Carmen is conducted by Robert Trevino. Varduhi Abrahamyan sings Carmen, Dmytro Popov is Don José. Opens 3rd July, closes 12th July.

Ballet – The ballet season opens on 12th October 2019 with a Premiere by Ballet Director Christian Spuck, entitled Das Mädchen mit den Schwefelhölzchen to music by Helmut Lachenmann.

On 30th December 2019 choreographer William Forsythe celebrates his 70th birthday and he will be in Zurich that day. He will be honoured by Zurich Ballet with 10 performances of three of his works, The Second Detail, Approximate Sonata and One Flat Thing, Reproduced (20 flat tables).

Walking Mad is a work choreographed by Hans van Manen, Premiered with Nederlands Dans Theatre in 2001; it is joined by Kleines Requiem from 1996.

Revivals include Verdi’s Messa di Requiem, the Nutcracker and the Mouse King, Emergence, and Faust

Concerts – The opera house orchestras (Philharmonia Zurich and La Scintilla) will put on five philharmonic concerts next season, including Haydn’s Creation (22nd December 2019), conducted by Riccardo Minasi, Mendelssohn’s Third Symphony (‘Scottish’) conducted by Gianandrea Noseda (future Music Director at Zurich Opera) on 19th January 2020, Mahler’s First Symphony under Manfred Honeck (17th May 2020) and Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony with Fabio Luisi conducting (12th July 2020).

Lieder Recitals – Last but not least, an impressive array of recitals: Angela Gheorghiu, Pretty Yende, Krassimira Stoyanova, Benjamin Bernheim, Julia Kleiter, Michael Nagy, Stéphanie d’Oustrac and Christof Fischesser.

For more details, go to the Opera House website click here.

John Rhodes

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