Zurich Opera in 2020-2021

Zurich Opera 2020/2021 – a preview

New productions

The season opens with a new production of Mussorgsky’s majestic Boris Godunov with Michael Volle as Boris, John Daszak as Schuisky and Brindley Sherratt as Pimen. Kirill Karabits conducts, the indefatigable Barrie Kosky is the producer. The première is on September 20th and there are six further performances through September and October. It is the full version, including the Polish scene. Oksana Volkova sings Marina.

Pergolesi’s operatic masterpiece is considered to be L’Olimpiade which Zurich Opera première on November 1st in a new production by Hungarian David Marton. Ottavio Dantone conducts, cast includes Vivica Genaux and Anna Bonitatibus. Further performances through November.

Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra comes next (6th December), in a new production by Andreas Homoki with Fabio Luisi in the pit. Christian Gerhaher, following on from his success in Zurich as Wozzeck, sings the title role, with Christof Fischesser also in the cast. Performances throughout December and into January 2021.

Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice benefits from a new production by Christoph Marthaler. Première is on February 14th. Stefano Montanori conducts. Nadezhda Karyazina sings Orpheus, Chiara Skerath sings Eurydice.

The rarity in the list is undoubtedly Roman Haubenstock-Romati’s Amerika. Haubenstock-Romati was a Polish-Israeli composer who ended up in Vienna; he died in 1994. His opera is based on a novel by Kafka by the same name. The opera has only been performed twice since its first performance in 1969. Sebastian Baumgarten directs, Gabriel Feltz conducts. Première on 7th March, further performances through March and into April.

Offenbach’s entertaining The Tales of Hoffmann needs no introduction. It receives a new production by Andreas Homoki, Antonino Fogliano conducts. Saimir Pirgu sings Hoffmann. Première on 11th April, then further performances through April and into May.

There will be concert performances of Rossini’s La donna del lago, conducted again by Antonino Fogliano. Karine Deshayes sings Elena. Performances start on 25th April 2021.

Following Arabella this season, Zurich Opera presents a new production of Richard Strauss’s Capriccio. Markus Poschner conducts, Christof Loy produces. Julia Kleiter sings the role of Countess Madeleine. Première on 24th May, further performances into mid-June.

The final new production, by Tatjana Gürbaca, is Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor. Speranza Scappucci conducts. Lisette Oropesa sings the title role, having sung it at Covent Garden and in Madrid.


There will be revivals of Verdi’s The Sicilian Vespers with Maria Agresta (Fabio Luisi conducts), Kálmán’s operetta Czardasfürstin with Annette Dasch and Pavol Breslik, and three Donizetti operas: his Maria Stuarda with Diana Damrau, his entertaining L’elisir d’amore (which was to have been conducted by the late Nello Santi) with Mauro Peter and Mané Galoyan and Don Pasquale in Christof Loy’s entertaining modern production. Massenet’s Manon and Werther both re-appear. Rossini-lovers can enjoy Il viaggio a Reims again, conducted by Riccardo Minasi and The Barber of Seville. Cecilia Bartoli returns on New Year’s Eve in Händel’s Alcina; Giovanni Antonini is in the pit. Bryn Terfel returns in mid-January 2021 in Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd with Angelika Kirschlager as Mrs. Lovett. Andreas Homoki’s production of Bellini’s I puritani returns in February. Barrie Kosky’s production of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin re-appears in April 2021 with Kirill Karabits in the pit; Pavol Breslik sings Lensky.

There is another chance to see Weill/Brecht’s Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny in May 2021. Then in June 2021 Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, with Ana Maria Martinez as Cio-Cio-San. Puerto-Rican soprano Martinez has sung the role at the Met, in Paris and in Vienna. Saimir Pirgu sings Pinkerton. Sir Mark Elder comes to Zurich to conduct Verdi’s Don Carlos; Marcelo Álvarez sings the title role, with Simon Keenlyside as Rodrigo. The production is by Sven-Eric Bechtolf.

Finally, right at the end of June 2021, some Mozart, his Idomeneo, conducted by Giovanni Antonini.


Bruckner-lovers should be keen to hear his rarely performed Symphony No.0, Markus Poschner conducts Philharmonia Zurich. Fabio Luisi brings us Franz Schmidt’s Fourth Symphony, which appears to be enjoying something of a revival. Lovers of great choral works can look forward to Gianandrea Noseda conducting Brahms’s A German Requiem and Riccardo Minasi conducting Bach’s St. John Passion. Finally, some Mahler, his Ninth Symphony, conducted by Fabio Luisi.


Local ballet director Christian Spuck choreographs new productions of Tchaikovsky’s ever popular Sleeping Beauty (October and right through the Christmas period until the end of March 2021); Edward Clug’s ballet Peer Gynt premières on 1st May 2021. Spuck’s intriguing Winterreise with Mauro Peter singing (most performances) returns in February 2021.


A mouth-watering list of solo recitals includes Anja Harteros, Simon Keenlyside, Bryn Terfel, Jonas Kaufmann and Juan Diego Flórez.

For all further details, please do visit the Zurich Opera’s website click here.

John Rhodes

Leave a Comment