Opera and more in Buenos Aires during 2020

Opera Buenos Aires 2020 – An interesting line up, including new Ring cycle 

After a largely traditional season in 2019, the Teatro Colón’s programme for 2020 is varied and interesting with much to look forward to.

Despite the difficult economic conditions and major political changes, a regular feature of Argentine life that much of the populace and organisations generally appear to navigate without sinking, the season continues at the current level by number, with eight operas (one in concert), three chamber operas, three works in the choral symphony series and some noteworthy new names in the ‘great international interpreter’ series.

The season kicks off on March 17, like 2019 with grand opera from Verdi, with a new local production of Nabucco. Renato Palumbo is on the podium and Sebastián Catana will be in the title role, with Rebeka Lokar as Abigail, Abramo Rosalen as Zaccaria, Sergio Escobar as Ismael and Guadalupe Barrientos as Fenena.

Menotti’s The Consul follows in another new Colón production in early May. Justin Brown is the musical director with a cast including Leonardo Neiva as John Sorel and Carla Filipcic Holm as his wife Magda – a role she has played previously to acclaim for Buenos Aires Lírica.

Bizet’s Pearl Fishers follows in May/June in a production by Michal Znaniecki and Srba Dinić as conductor. Argentine Fabián Veloz returns to the stage as Zurga, with Lawrence Brownlee as Nadir and Hasmil Torosyan as Leila.

Another reprise of Roberto Oswald’s 1992 production of Tosca in June is arguably the one moot title of the year. Though an always popular work, it will be just four years since the same production was given with Marcelo Álvarez making his first return to the Colón stage. But the main principals, all Latin American, will be different and include Uruguayans María José Siri in the title role and Erwin Schrott as Scarpia and Argentine Marcelo Puente as Cavaradossi. The conductor is to be announced.

A new production of Das Rheingold in August should be a highlight of the year as well as marking the first part of a new Ring cycle that will continue over the following three years. Besides the controversial reduced ‘Colon Ring’ in 2012, the last complete cycle was over 20 years ago. Colón artistic and production director-general Enrique Arturo Diemecke will conduct a mixed visiting and local cast including seasoned Wagnerian Greer Grimsley as Wotan, Denyce Graves as Erda, Andrew Cummings as Donner, Guadalupe Barrientos as Fricka and Gustavo López Manzitti as Froh.

September/October will see a co-production with Tenerife Opera and Oviedo Opera of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor. Evelino Pidò is on the podium with a cast including Albina Schagimuratova in the title role, Saimir Pirgu as Edgardo, Andrei Kymach as Enrico, George Andguladze as Raimondo and David Astorga as Arturo.

Another highlight should be the season’s baroque title, Handel’s Serse in November. Remarkably, this work has had only a single previous production in the Colón, in 1971. This new production by Alejandro Tantanian and Iñaki Encina as musical director has principals including Raffaele Pe in the title role, Constanza Díaz Falú as Atalanta, Verónica Cangemi as Romilda and Paola Gardina as Amastre.

The season closes in November/December with a concert production of de Falla’s La vida breve. Carlos Vieu conducts, and principals include Nancy Fabiola Herrera as Salud, Andeka Gorrotxategi as Paco, Anabella Carnevali as the Abuela and Ricardo Seguel as Sarvaor.

Chamber and choral

The three chamber operas for the year are all modern. These are Donnacha Dennehy’s one act The Second Violinist (date to be specified), Daniel Catán’s La hija de Rappaccini in October and Tomás Bordalejo’s Oficina 470 in December.

The choral symphony series also comprises three works. These are Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with Verónica Cangemi and Sonia Prina on 5 June, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis on 29 July and Stravinsky’s Les Noces with Martha Argerich as one of the four pianists on 15 November.

Other highlights

The popular ‘Great international interpreters’ series is always keenly awaited and in prospect are recitals from the Italian soprano Mariella Devia on May 30, the young South African soprano Pretty Yende on June 6 and the French counter-tenor Philippe Jaroussky – who previously appeared on the Colón stage (in 2014) for Mozarteum Argentino – on October 10.

At the time of writing the only 2020 season announcements from the local independent companies are from Mozarteum Argentino, which normally includes one or more sung recitals in its season. Programmed for 2020 are the Vienna-based Cypriot soprano Theodora Raftis with the Orchester Wiener Akademie under Martin Haselböck in June and the Polish tenor Piotr Beczala in November.

The Teatro Colón’s 2020 brochure is available here. Bookings here.

Mozarteum Argentino’s 2020 season is here.

Jonathan Spencer Jones

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