Opernhaus Zürich for 2021/22







At long last, grand opera and grand ballet are set to return. After a season defined by the coronavirus, in which much was cancelled, pushed back, or presented online, we are especially pleased to announce the program for the coming 2021/22 season. The curtain will rise for the first time on September 12, and once it does, an abundance of premieres, revivals, concerts, and song recitals will show off the full power and range of the live experience. Although the pandemic will surely accompany us for a while longer, we remain committed to our promise to audiences: to offer our guests the largest possible variety of works, performers, and interpretations. In addition to a calendar chock full of events, one individual will decisively shape the whole season: Gianandrea Noseda begins his tenure as General Music Director.


A NEW ’RING DES NIBELUNGEN’ – A mammoth project – one that is perhaps the greatest challenge the repertoire has to offer – will be one of the central pillars of the upcoming season. From April 2022 through the autumn of 2023, the Opernhaus Zürich will bring a new ’Ring des Nibelungen’ to the stage. Richard Wagner’s tetralogy comprises both the starting point and core of Gianandrea Noseda’s and Andreas Homoki’s artistic collaboration. Tomasz Konieczny will make his house debut as Wotan in ’Rheingold’. Camilla Nylund and Klaus Florian Vogt, two Wagnerian singers of international acclaim, will make their respective role debuts as Brünnhilde and Siegfried during the course of the ’Ring’.

VERDI REPERTOIRE WITH A NEW GMD – Gianandrea Noseda will make his debut as GMD with a new production of Verdi’s ’Il trovatore’ in October 2021. Cultivating Verdi’s repertoire is one of the Opernhaus Zürich’s programmatic cornerstones. As such, it is fitting that the quartet of soloists for third and final part of the ’trilogia popolare’ is nothing less than world class. Making her debut as Leonora is soprano Marina Rebeka and making his debut as her lover Manrico is Piotr Bezcała, who returns as a guest to the Opernhaus Zürich. As his rival Count Luna is Quinn Kelsey, whom Zurich audiences will remember as Rigoletto, and rounding out the cast and making her debut at the Opernhaus Zürich is celebrated Georgian mezzo-soprano Anita Rachvelishvili as Azucena. Also making her first appearance in Zurich is the young British director, Adele Thomas.

DIVAS GALORE Cecilia Bartoli returns to her artistic home when she bows as Isabella in March 2022 in ‘L’italiana in Algeri’, in a production from the 2018 Salzburg Pfingstfestspiele (Salzburg Whitsun Festival). Side-splitting Rossini-esque glee is guaranteed with this turbulent multicultural comedy from directing duo Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier. Appearing alongside the ’diva assoluta’ are a multitude of outstanding performers including Lawrence Brownlee as Lindoro and Ildar Abdrazakov as Mustafà. Conductor Gianluca Capuano and the Orchestra La Scintilla promise to deliver a lively and authentic interpretation.

Donizetti’s trilogy of Tudor Queens is one of the soprano repertoire’s greatest challenges, and only the very greatest of those performers are capable of imbuing the trio of roles with life. Following up on her success in ’Maria Stuarda’ in 2018, star soprano Diana Damrau will debut the title role in ’Anna Bolena’ in December 2021. At her side are Luca Pisaroni as King Henry VIII and Karine Deshayes as her rival Jane Seymour. The production is in the capable hands of American director David Alden. And Enrique Mazzola, an Italian bel canto repertoire expert, returns to the podium of the Philharmonia Zürich.

WORLD PREMIERES AND RARE GEMS – Francis Poulenc’s ’Dialogues des Carmélites’ is rarely heard on the operatic stages of the world. Poulenc’s music is convincingly theatrical, evocative, and rife with lyrically intimate moments, and is presented here starting in February 2022 in a production by Jetske Mijnssen, who last appeared in Zurich with a wildly successful production of ’Hippolyte et Aricie’. The opera is populated with fascinating women’s roles. Evelyn Herlitzius, whose recent performance as Janáček’s Emilia Marty caused a sensation, takes on the role of the old Prioress. Olga Kulchynska – no stranger to Zurich audiences – makes her role debut as Blanche.

Shortly before its premiere in November of last year, the Baroque opera project ’L´Olimpiade’ was cancelled due to the pandemic. In March 2022, it can finally make its premiere, under the direction of Hungarian theatre and opera director David Marton, as he presents his unusual music-theatrical approach to Swiss audiences. Together with Austrian filmmaker Sonja Aufderklamm, Marton combines arias from Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s little-known opera ’L’Olimpiade’ with a documentary film whose subject is individuals at the end of their lives. The star-studded cast is led by Vivica Genaux and Anna Bonitatibus. Musically directing the Orchestra La Scintilla is Pergolesi expert Ottavio Dantone.

One of the first productions that fell victim to the coronavirus was the world premiere of ’Girl with a Pearl Earring’ from Swiss composer Stefan Wirth (*1975). Commissioned by the Opernhaus, this new piece is set to finally see the light of the world in April 2022. The plot tracks the creation of a painting by Jan Vermeer and is based on the bestseller by Tracy Chevalier. The world-class cast brings Thomas Hampson back to the Opernhaus Zürich, who bows as the master painter. Felicity Palmer, Laura Aikin, and the young American soprano Lauren Snouffer promise to make this world premiere one to remember.

One of the Opernhaus Zürich’s most beloved traditions is presenting the world premieres of operas made especially for the whole family. Now, with Homer’s ’Odyssee’, the oldest story there is will make its stage debut. It was written by the young Dutch composer Leonard Evers(*1985), who already has two successful music theatre works for young audiences to his name.

OPENING AND CLOSING WITH CENTRAL WORKS – The upcoming season will open and close with new productions of central operatic works. The season kicks off with ’Salome’ by Richard Strauss in September 2021 and will take its final bows with Mozart’s ’Le nozze di Figaro’ in June 2022. The cast for ’Salome’ will feature an upcoming star who is a new voice to the main stage in Zurich: Russian singer Elena Stikhina, who is a member of the ensemble at the St. Petersburg Mariinsky Theatre, will appear as the Galilean princess under the musical direction of Simone Young in a production by Andreas Homoki. Mozart’s ’Le nozze di Figaro’ will close out the season in a production by Jan Philipp Gloger, who promises to test the work’s capacity for modernity. The piece is populated by handsy men and confident woman and is teeming with sexual desire. Here, it will be sung by a young Mozartian ensemble, and the orchestra, conducted by style specialist Stefano Montanari, promises to deliver a historically-informed performance.

The Opernhaus Zürich will continue its series of opera performances in concert. Audience favourite Javier Camarena will appear as the pirate Gualtiero in Vincenzo Bellini’s ’Il pirata’. At his side is internationally renowned Russian coloratura soprano Albina Shagimuratova as Imogene. The young singers of the International Opera Studio will show their skills with ’Il mondo della luna’ at the Theater Winterthur.

OPERA REVIVALS – The many revivals this coming season will also feature a score of prominent guests with grand voices. After an absence of seven years, Anna Netrebko returns to the Opernhaus to sing the mad Lady Macbeth. Anja Harteros appears as Arabella, one of her signature roles. Sonya Yoncheva guests as Floria Tosca. The operatic double bill ’Cavalleria rusticana/Pagliacci’ bows with vocal stars left and right: Elīna Garanča returns as Santuzza and Marcelo Álvarez takes on the challenge of singing both Turiddu and Canio in one night. Before making her Brünnhilde debut in the ’Ring’, Camilla Nylund will also take to the stage in Zurich for her first Isolde. At her side as Tristan is the Swedish tenor Michael Weinius. Julie Fuchs will be crowned again as Poppea and Olga Peretyatko sings Fiorilla in the revival of ’Il turco in Italia’. The best Falstaff in the world is Bryn Terfel. Ludovic Tézier takes Simon Boccanegra. Benjamin Bernheim sings both Macduff in ’Macbeth’ and Edgardo in ’Lucia di Lammermoor’. Joseph Calleja makes his house debut as Cavaradossi. Gianandrea Noseda shows he is equally at home in the German repertoire with the revival of ’Tristan und Isolde’ as well as in the Italian repertoire with the ’Falstaff’ revival.

THE BALLETT ZÜRICH – The Ballett Zürich opens the 2021/22 season with a long-awaited European premiere of ’Angels’ Atlas’. The new piece by Crystal Pite, one of the leading choreographers of our time, was first presented by the National Ballet of Canada in 2020 and was produced in cooperation with the Ballett Zürich. Providing an exciting contrast to Pite’s work is the Swiss premiere of German choreographer Marco Goecke’s ’Almost Blue’. Set to songs sung by blues and gospel legend Etta James, as well as works by the US-based band Antony and the Johnsons, this work offers a reunion with Goecke and his inimitable language of movement. Pite’s celebrated choreographic work ’Emergence’ rounds out this three-part evening, which bears the title ’Angels’ Atlas’. Following up on his ’Messa da Requiem’ and ’Winterreise’ productions, Christian Spuck once again brings together vocal soloists and the Ballett Zürich to the stage of the Opernhaus Zürich. For his newest evening, he chose works by Claudio Monteverdi, exploring the magic of the origins of musical drama that blossoms in the composer’s arias, dance interludes, and madrigals. Music from this early-seventeenth-century Italian master’s Eighth Book of Madrigals’ is at the centre of ’Monteverdi’, Spuck’s new ballet production. And Edward Clug’s ’Peer Gynt’ will finally have its premiere. Marked by striking scenes, Clug’s choreography was premiered by the Slovenian National Ballet in Maribor in 2015, during his tenure leading the ballet there. This Slovenian choreographer unites Henrik Ibsen’s original material with Edvard Grieg’s incidental music, creating an incredible dance performance in the process.  And the ’Junge Choreografen’ series promises audiences an entire evening of new works. The event offers the dancers of the Ballett Zürich and the Junior Ballett the opportunity to take over artistic direction of their own creations. Bearing the title ’Boléro/Le Sacre du printemps’, Johan Inger’s ’Walking Mad’ and Edward Clug’s ’Le Sacre du printemps’ return to the program. Additional revivals include ’Leonce und Lena’ and ’Dornröschen’ by Christian Spuck, as well as ’Impulse’, the Junior Ballett evening with choreographies by Bryan Arias, Craig Davidson, and Juliano Nunes. And the Ballett Zürich tours Bangkok and Istanbul with ’Anna Karenina’.

CONCERTS, SONG RECITALS, AND MORE – It will come as no surprise that Gianandrea Noseda’s arrival will set the tone for the philharmonic season. Our General Music Director designate has appeared in front of the greatest orchestras of the world, from Vienna, London, Amsterdam and Berlin, to Washington and Chicago. And now, he will shape the Philharmonia Zürich’s sound and the program. Noseda will conduct three Philharmonia concerts, in which he will combine Dvořák’s symphonies and violin concertos by Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky with works by Bruckner and Brahms. Appearing on the opening concert program are pianist Daniil Trifonov, as well as violinists Janine Jansen and James Ehnes. In addition, Noseda will lead a New Year’s concert with superstar tenor Juan Diego Flórez. Further concerts in the 2021/22 season run the gamut from historically informed performance practice of Baroque repertoire to cutting edge modern music projects. The Orchestra La Scintilla and conductor Riccardo Minasi welcome Kristian Bezuidenhout and Mahan Esfahani, two of the early music’s most fascinating performers. And the Orchestra La Scintilla will even present a world premiere: French composer Philippe Schoeller has written a new work for two ensembles – one specialized in early music, one in modern music – that will be premiered in a joint project with the Collegium Novum Zürich. And fans of romantic symphonies can look forward to Gustav Mahler’s Sixth Symphony under the musical direction of Manfred Honeck.  And a number of star soloists – including Anja Harteros, Bryn Terfel, Camilla Nylund, Christian Gerhaher, Lise Davidsen, Georg Zeppenfeld, Dagmar Manzel, and Stephen Costello – will again present song recitals during the 2021/22 season.

Last but not least, the Opernhaus Zürich will kick of the new season with an opening ’Saisoneröffnung für alle’ celebration. The second weekend in September will see the doors of the Opernhaus thrown wide open once again for audiences. The highlight will be a live broadcast of ’Salome’ on September 12, when the season-opening premiere performance will be presented on the big screen on the Sechseläutenplatz as a part of the ’oper für alle’ celebration and will simultaneously be presented live online. In addition, there will be a public viewing on the Sechseläutenplatz of the ’Messa da Requiem’ ballet production. The entire weekend is presented free of charge to live and virtual audiences. But because that is not quite enough for a season made to celebrate art and rediscovered freedom, the Ballett Zürich production of ’Dornröschen’ as ’ballett für alle’ will close out the season.

Subscription sales will commence immediately. Advanced individual ticket sales will start at the beginning of September 2021 at the Opernhaus Billettkasse, online (click here), or via email: ticket@opernhaus.ch. 

We extend our deepest thanks to the Canton of Zurich, our friends, patrons, sponsors, our partners, and our loyal audience, who have all stood by the Opernhaus Zürich during an incredibly difficult period in its history. 

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