Editorial: The ROH announces the 2012-13 season

Domingo's first Nabucco, star-studded La donna del lago and Verdi/Wagner focus for bicentenaries

14 March 2012

Royal Opera HouseThe Royal Opera announced its “revival focused” 2012/2013 season this morning, with six new productions, a star-studded roster, and some promising revelations.

The ebullient Director of Opera Kasper Holten (with Associate Director John Fulljames) have planned quite a fantastic season for the three centenaries in 2012/2013 (Verdi, Wagner, and Britten). The season opens with the first revival of Wagner’s ring cycle, of course sung by an all star cast that includes Bryn Terfel and Susan Bullock. The company will celebrate Britten with his Gloriana, directed by Richard Jones. The second half of the season’s celebrations finish with three rarer Verdi works (wisely, they saved the best for “last”): a revial of Don Carlo with a dream cast that includes Jonas Kaufmann, Anja Harteros, and Ferrucio Furlanetto, Simon Boccangera  with Thomas Hampson, and a new production of Nabucco with Leo Nucci and Plácido Domingo, who will make his début in the title role. Aficionados will be thrilled to hear two true operatic rarities, Meyerbeer’s Robert le diable (directed by Laurent Pelly) and Rossini’s La donna del lago (directed by none other than John Fulljames), both presented as new productions. Holten will be making his directorial début with Eugene Onegin, sung by the impeccable Simon Keenlyside.

The usual parade of canonical operas begins with L’elisir d’amore, with Roberto Alagna and Aleksandra Kurzak singing Nemorino and Adina, respectively.  Not a year can go by without the Royal Opera presenting Tosca (I’m not complaining), and this year will see Massimo Giordano return as Cavarodossi. David McVicar’s charming Die Zauberflöte returns in May with Sophie Bevan as Pamina. The ever popular La bohème will run for four consecutive months and its cast includes Rolando Villazón and Barbara Frittoli. Rounding out the canon will be Puccini’s La rodine, and audiences can look forward to Angela Gheorghiu singing Magda. Perhaps the most tantalizing “mainstream” offering will be Capriccio with none other than Reneé Fleming as the Countess and Andrew Davis conducting.

Wholly new works include the UK premiere of Written on Skin, conducted by the composer himself, George Benjamin. Harrison Birtwistle’s The Minotaur will return with Antonio Pappano conducting its original cast.

One of the other juicy items revealed today is that those who book online can expect a new system on the website (hopefully the “waiting room” will become a thing of the past). Additionally, the Royal Opera is lowering ticket prices for some of the most popular offerings (a wise move in these austerity driven times) and focusing on outreach, bringing opera to everyone. Tony Hall is indeed attempting (along with most of his staff) to do “more for less.”

It will undoubtedly be a fantastic season.

by Mike Migliore

More information is available at www.roh.org.uk.