The Royal Opera announces the 2010-11 Season

New productions of Cendrillion, The Tsar's Bride & Tannhauser, plus world and UK premieres

10 March 2010

Terfel as Scarpia and Gheorghiu as ToscaThe Royal Opera House has announced details of the resident companies' 2010-11 season at Covent Garden. In total, there are eight world premieres, two UK premieres, five new productions and fourteen revivals, as well as a major tour to Japan involving Anna Netrebko in Manon and Angela Gheorghiu in La traviata.

New productions of Wagner's Tannhauser, Rimsky-Korsakov's The Tsar's Bride, Massenet's Cendrillon and Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur provide several of the highlights of the new season, along with the world premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage's Anna Nicole.

Revivals include Jonathan Miller's Cosi fan tutte and Don Pasquale, David McVicar's Aida, Magic Flute and Rigoletto, Willy Decker's Peter Grimes, and Caurier and Leiser's Madama Butterfly, Hansel und Gretel and Il barbiere di Siviglia.

The stars lined up to appear include Joyce DiDonato (Cendrillon), Gerald Finley (The Pearl Fishers), Bryn Terfel (Tosca), Ben Heppner (Peter Grimes), Nina Stemme (Fidelio), Eva-Maria Westbroek, Jonas Kaufmann (Adriana, Tosca), Karita Mattila (Tosca), Marcello Giordani (Tosca), Olga Borodina (Adriana Lecouvreur, Aida) Rolando Villazon (Werther), Simon Keenlyside (Macbeth), Ewa Podles, Johan Botha, Nicole Cabell, Dmitri Hvorostovsky (Rigoletto), Roberto Alagna (Aida) and Angela Gheorghiu (Adriana, Tosca).

In addition to Music Director Antonio Pappano, the conductors planning to take to the Covent Garden pit include Sir Colin Davis, Sir Charles Mackerras, Sir Mark Elder, Semyon Bychkov, and, in a rare return to the ROH, Sir Andrew Davis.

The company also announced that a new opera by Judith Weir, Miss Fortune, has been co-commissioned with the Bregenz Festival and will appear at Covent Garden in March 2012 in a production by Shi-Zheng Chen, conducted by Paul Daniel.

The Turnage work, Anna Nicole, will have its world premiere on 17 Februrary 2011 and will be directed by Richard Jones with Pappano conducting. Eva-Maria Westbroek will star as Anna Nicole, the American model who died in 2007 at the age of 39.

English Touring Opera will visit the Linbury Studio Theatre with the world premiere of Alexander Goehr's new opera, Promised End, which is based on King Lear. The first performance is 9 October 2010. ETO will also bring a new revival of the eighteenth-century classic English opera The Duenna.

Additionally, the Linbury will see the world premiere of James MacMillan's new opera in May 2011, directed by Katie Mitchell. In July 2011, The Opera Group will then bring a new opera to the Linbury, by the Wigmore Hall's composer in residence, Luke Bedford, to be based on Milton's Paradise Lost.

September 2010 sees the UK premiere of Philip Glass's In the Penal Colony, in a production with Music Theatre Wales. That same month sees the UK premiere, on the main stage, of Agostino Steffani's Niobe, a little-known baroque piece that won acclaim in this production from the Schwetzingen Festival in 2008. French soprano Veronique Gens will play the title role, while baroque specialist Thomas Hengelbrock conducts his Balthasar-Neumann-Ensemble.

The new production of Adriana Lecouvreur will be staged by David McVicar, with an impressively stellar cast including Angela Gheorghiu, Jonas Kaufmann, Olga Borodina and Alessandro Corbelli. Sir Mark Elder will conduct the opera, which opens in November 2010 and will be the first time since 1906 that it's been seen at Covent Garden.

Tannhauser hasn't been seen at the ROH since 1987, and the new production forms part of the company's ongoing survey of Wagner's non-Ring operas leading up to the bicentenary of his birth in 2013. Again, the cast is impressive, with Eva-Maria Westbroek's Elisabeth, Johan Botha in the title role, and Christian Gerhaher as Wolfram. Semyon Bychkov conducts the production, which is by Tim Albery.

In April 2011, British director Paul Curran makes his ROH debut with the company's first-ever production of The Tsar's Bride. Mark Elder conducts a largely Russian cast, including ex-Jette Parker Young Artists Marina Poplavskaya and Ekaterina Gubanova.

July 2011 also brings a strongly-cast new production, this time of Massenet's Cendrillon, which has never been performed at Covent Garden before. Alice Coote plays Prince Charming to Joyce DiDonato's Cinderella - an intriguing double-dose of mezzos in the lead roles - while the rest of the line-up includes Eglise Gutierrez and a rare appearance by Polish contralto legend Ewa Podles. Bertrand de Billy conducts.

Bizet's The Pearl Fishers hasn't been performed by the company since 1920, and in spite of ENO's upcoming full-scale production in English this season, the ROH have decided to put on two concert performances with Antonio Pappano in October. Nicole Cabell makes a welcome return, with Gerald Finley and American tenor John Osborn as the friends as rivals Zurga and Nadir.

Two productions by Jonathan Miller return within two days of each other in September. Cosi fan tutte opens the season on 10 September, conducted by Thomas Hengelbrock, while Don Pasquale returns on 12 September with Sir Charles Mackerras, who also returns for Hansel and Gretel on 23 December.

Rigoletto returns on 11 October 2010, with Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Paolo Gavanelli sharing the title role alongside Eglise Gutierrez as Gilda. Sir Colin Davis returns for The Magic Flute from 1 Februrary 2011, with a cast including Christopher Maltman and Kate Royal, while the new Aida (from 11 March 2011) features Fabio Luisi conducting at the ROH for the first time. Micaela Carosi is Aida to Roberto Alagna's Radames, while Olga Borodina is Amneris.

For the revival of Hansel and Gretel, Christine Rice plays Hansel to former Young Artist Ailish Tynan's Gretel. Jane Henschel returns as the Witch, with Thomas Allen and Yvonne Howard as the parents. Former Young Artist Rory Macdonald conducts The Barber of Seville, which features Aleksandra Kurzak, Bruno Pratico and Levente Molnar. Meanwhile, CBSO music director Andris Nelsons returns for Butterfly, which stars Anthony Michaels-Moore, Patricia Racette and James Valenti.

Massenet's Werther will be revived for the first time on 5 May 2011, with Rolando Villazon returning to the ROH for the first time since his surgery. Pappano conducts, with Sophie Koch starring as Charlotte. Then on 24 May, Verdi's Macbeth comes back, again under Pappano's direction, with Simon Keenlyside and Martina Serafin as the leads. A double-cast Tosca then brings together names such as Terfel, Gheorghiu, Mattila, Kaufmann, and Giordani.

Three more revivals complete the season: Fidelio with Nina Stemme and Endrik Wottrich, conducted by Kirill Petrenko (29 May 2011); Gounod's Romeo et Juliette with Piotr Beczala and Nino Machaidze (26 October 2010); and Peter Grimes with Ben Heppner returning to the title role opposite Amanda Roocroft's Ellen Orford (which she played down the road at ENO to great success last year) and Jonathan Summers's Balstrode. Sir Andrew Davis returns to conduct.

A number of new Young Artists have been appointed, too, with the annual 'Meet the Young Artists' week occurring from 25 to 30 October 2010. This year, a fully staged production of Haydn's L'isola disabitata will be part of the programme.

by Dominic McHugh

Photo: Terfel as Scarpia and Gheorghiu as Tosca.

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