The Royal Opera, 2012-13 Season | Opera reviews, news & interviews
The Royal Opera, 2012-13 Season
Six new productions, Rossini and Meyerbeer rarities - full listings for Kasper Holten's first season as opera director
2-26 March & 9-20 July: Puccini's Tosca. Jonathan Kent's opulent production of the immortal "shabby shocker" of opera, in which an opera singer in love with a political dissident falls foul of the terrifying commandant of Rome, Scarpia. Tosca and Cavaradossi are sung by three casts, Amanda Echalaz/Massimo Giordano, Kristine Opolais/Yonghoon Lee and Martina Serafin/Aleskandrs Antonenko. Maurizio Benini conducts March, Daniel Oren conducts July. (13 performances)
8-22 March: George Benjamin's Written on Skin (UK PREMIERE). According to theartsdesk, George Benjamin is "a compositional genius". Following the success of his 2006 theatrework Into the Little Hill, this new opera has a Martin Crimp libretto and is staged by leading theatre director Katie Mitchell in her ROH debut. The story is set in 13th-century Provence, where a landowner invites an illuminator of books into his house. Adultery, murder, cannibalism and fatal defenestration ensue. Barbara Hannigan and Christopher Purves star, Benjamin himself conducts. (5 performances)
30 March-26 April: Verdi's Nabucco (NEW PRODUCTION). Placido Domingo takes the baritone lead role for several performances as he gradually forsakes his tenor repertoire as King Nebuchadnezzar struggling against his scheming daughter Abigaille. Leo Nucci sings the first five shows, Domingo the second four. Nicola Luisotti conducts and Daniele Abbado, son of conductor Claudio, directs this co-production with La Scala Milan, Houston Grand Opera and Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu, which is designed by Alison Chitty. (9 performances)
29 April: Nabucco cinema relay (pre-recorded), with Placido Domingo, conducted by Nicola Luisotti
April 2013: The Firework-Maker's Daughter (LONDON PREMIERE), Linbury Studio Theatre. New opera by David Bruce with Glyn Maxwell's libretto based on a Philip Pullman fairytale about a girl who runs away from home to become a firework-maker. John Fulljames directs. Further details tbc.
16 April-9 May: Mozart's Die Zauberflöte. David McVicar's 2003 production of "The Magic Flute", designed by John Macfarlane (pictured above by Mike Hoban/ROH), is conducted by Julia Jones, with Ekaterina Siurina and Sophie Bevan singing Pamina to the Tamino of either Charles Castronovo or Andrew Staples. Papageno is either Christopher Maltman or Simon Keenlyside, and the stratospheric role of the Queen of the Night is taken by Albina Shagimuratova. (9 performances)
4-25 May: Verdi's Don Carlo. Magisterial opera about son-father conflict, magnified by the political stakes surrounding them. Philip II of Spain is the great Ferrucio Furlanetto, with Jonas Kaufmann as his son Don Carlos, and Anja Harteros as Elizabeth of Valois, the third in the love triangle. This 2008 production was designed by Bob Crowley and directed by Nicholas Hytner. Antonio Pappano conducts (co-production with Norwegian National Opera and the Metropolitan Opera New York). (7 performances)
17 May-11 June: Rossini's La donna del lago (NEW PRODUCTION). The "ultimate bel canto cast" is promised for this new staging of Rossini's tuneful rarity about the lady of the lake with whom King James of Scotland falls in love. Joyce DiDonato, Juan Diego Flórez and Colin Lee sing the leading roles, conducted by Michele Mariotti. Dick Bird and Yannis Thavoris design sets and costumes, and John Fulljames directs. (8 performances)
27 May: La donna del lago live cinema relay, with Joyce DiDonato, Juan Diego Flórez, conducted by Michele Mariotti
20 June-6 July: Britten's Gloriana (NEW PRODUCTION). Three anniversaries coincide, Britten's centenary, 60 years since the opera's Covent Garden premiere during Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation, and hence the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Britten's portrait of Elizabeth I is the English equivalent of Verdian opera, directed in a new production by Richard Jones with Susan Bullock as Elizabeth I and Toby Spence as Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex. Kate Royal and Peter Coleman-Wright also feature. Paul Daniel conducts, Ultz designs, and Lucy Burge choreographs the courtly dances. Co-production with Hamburg State Opera (6 performances)
24 June: Gloriana live cinema relay, with Susan Bullock and Toby Spence, conducted by Paul Daniel
27 June-16 July: Verdi's Simon Boccanegra. Revival under Antonio Pappano's baton of the 1991 Elijah Moshinsky production designed by Michael Yeargan, with Thomas Hampson in the title role as the Doge of Genoa whose complicated relationship with daughter Amelia (Hibla Gerzmava) takes place against a powerful political backdrop. Ferruccio Furlanetto and Jihoon Kim also adorn the cast. (6 performances)
30 June: Jette Parker Young Artists Summer Concert. The annual main stage performance for the alumni of Covent Garden's singing programme: this year sopranos Dusica Bijelic and Susana Gaspar, mezzos Justina Gringyte and Hanna Hipp, tenors Pablo Bemsch and David Butt Philip, baritones Michel de Souza and Ashley Riches, and bass Jihoon Kim. A light staging, but the full orchestra of the Royal Opera House, conducted by Andrew Davis.
5-21 July: Puccini's La rondine. Angela Gheorghiu and Ermonela Jaho are luxury casting in this run of the bijou opera about Magda, a Parisian professional mistress who falls in love with a younger man (Gheorghiu pictured right by Catherine Ashmore/ROH). The 2003 production by Nicolas Joël is opulently designed in Twenties Vienna styles by Ezio Frigerio and Franca Squarciapino, conducted this time by Marco Armiliato. Vittorio Grigolo sings opposite Gheorghiu, the other Ruggero Lastouc is to be announced. (8 performances)
19 & 21 July: Strauss's Capriccio in Concert. Renée Fleming sings one of Strauss's most succulent soprano roles as the Countess torn between lovers, just as an opera-lover is torn between words and music. Andrew Davis conducts this concert performance, with a cast including Joseph Kaiser and Christian Gerhaher. (2 performances)
The Royal Opera: Director of Opera, Kasper Holten; Music Director, Sir Antonio Pappano; Associate Director, John Fulljames
Subscribe to theartsdesk.com
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
To take an annual subscription now simply click here.
And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?
Our classical writers choose 12 of the best
Fresh revival with strong cast and dynamic conducting from Jakub Hrůša
Donizetti gets Glyndebourne's season off to a sober and psychological start
Broad brushstrokes and big voices in Calixto Bieito's pacey but half-cooked Bizet
Much-loved music director begins his long goodbye with Wagner's ritual drama
Claire Rutter leads a strong cast in dimly lit, static version of Verdi's camp melodrama
Barrie opera colourfully scored and staged but musically short-winded
Fascinating programme and ravishing delivery undermined by symbolic bric-a-brac
Savoyard supreme Mike Leigh and top cast play it straight to serve a comic masterpiece
Too much talk and not enough song
Superior performance makes a compelling case for Smetana’s neglected masterpiece
A triumphant return to the stage for Szymanowski's neglected score