HRH The Prince of Wales becomes Patron of the Royal Opera House

Plus: Jenis replaces Alvarez in Ballo and Lacombe replaces Oren in Tosca

18 March 2009

HRH The Prince of WalesSeveral important announcements have been made by the Royal Opera House over the past few days. The most remarkable revelation is that HRH The Prince of Wales, a long-time supporter of Covent Garden, has agreed to become Patron of the Royal Opera House.

The activities to which HRH Prince of Wales is committed are numerous, and all equally significant for the work of the ROH: Patron of the Royal Opera since 1975, he became President of the Friends of Covent Garden in 1978 and was made President of the Royal Ballet in 2004. In addition, he has taken part in didactic projects such as the ROH Education's Chance to Dance scheme involving children from six Southwark schools. He also recently visited the Covent Garden artists featuring in the acclaimed new productionof Der fliegende Holländer, including Bryn Terfel, and met dancers from the Royal Ballet.

HRH's appointment was welcomed with the greatest delight. From the press release, we learn of the enthusiasm surrounding the announcement, as Chief Executive of the ROH Tony Hall declared: 'I am absolutely delighted that HRH The Prince of Wales has agreed to become our Patron.  He has been the most tremendous supporter of us all and it is wonderful that he has agreed to deepen his relationship with us even further'.

On the other hand, important changes of cast and conductor have been announced for two forthcoming productions at the ROH. These variations will affect Un ballo in maschera and Tosca, which will be revived this coming June and July.

As for Un ballo in maschera, due to health problems Spanish baritone Carlos Alvarez will be substituted in all performances by Slovakian baritone Dalibor Jenis in the role of Renato.

Jenis is not new to the Covent Garden stage: after his debut in 2001 as Marcello in La bohème, he has pursued a brilliant career that led him to perform at La Scala (as Posa in Don Carlo), the Deutsche Oper Berlin (where he made his appearance as Renato in Un ballo) and the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin (as Renato again).

Maurizio Benini will conduct all seven performances, running from 26 June to 11 July. The rest of the cast (featuring Ramón Vargas as Riccardo, Angela Marambio as Amelia and Elena Manistina as Ulrica, Anna Christy as Oscar, Vuyani Mlinde as Tom, Giovanni Battista Parodi as Sam, Changhan Lim as Silvano and Martyn Hill as Minister for Justice) remains unchanged.

A further change involves the Covent Garden revival of Tosca, which runs from 9 July for five performances. Due to personal reasons, Daniel Oren won't be able to conduct this production. Instead, Jacques Lacombe, Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Orchestre Symphonique de Trois-Rivières (Québec), will take up his place.

Despite this being his debut with the Opera, Lacombe has already successfully collaborated with the Covent Garden artists. In fact, he has previously conducted Coppélia, The Nutcracker, Swan Lake and Giselle at the Royal Ballet.

In addition to his artistic relationship with Covent Garden, Lacombe has participated in various important international productions, including Tosca for Opéra de Metz, Der fliegende Holländer for the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Erwartung for Opéra de Québec and La bohème for Vancouver Opera.

The cast for Tosca, running from 9 to 18 July, remains unchanged. These performances will feature Deborah Voigt as Tosca, Marcello Giordani as Cavaradossi, Bryn Terfel as Scarpia, Kostas Smoriginas as Angelotti, Jeremy White as Sacristan and Martyn Hill as Spoletta.

by Marina Romani

Photo: HRH The Prince of Wales, photographed by Hugo Burnand

For complete information about Un ballo and Tosca at ROH, visit

Don CarloRelated articles:

News: Welsh National Opera 2009-10 featuring Bryn Terfel singing his first Hans Sachs
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News: Southbank Centre announces 2009-10 season
Review: Don Carlo at La Scala featuring Dalibor Jenis


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