The Royal Opera 2021-22 season features 11 new productions including Verdi, Berg, Dvořák and Handel.
These include Kaija Saariaho’s new opera Innocence – based on Sofi Oksanen’s novel and staged by theatre director Simon Stone.
For a new production of Rusalka, Asmik Grigorian returns to perform the title role, joining British artists Sarah Connolly, David Butt Philip, Matthew Rose and Emma Bell in a contemporary re-imagining of Dvořák’s lyric fairy tale, co-created by Natalie Abrahami and Ann Yee, conducted by Semyon Bychkov.
In his 20th year as Music Director of The Royal Opera, Antonio Pappano conducts two new Verdi productions. Robert Carsen’s Aida opens in September, starring Elena Stikhina and, in the second run, Angel Blue in the title role; Il trovatore opens in June 2023, bringing director Adele Thomas back to Covent Garden following the success of
Bajazet (2022) and Berenice (2019).
Pappano, the Royal Opera House’s longest serving Music Director, will also conduct a new production of Alban Berg’s Wozzeck in May 2023 – an opera he conducted during his first Season at ROH in 2002, which this year stars Christian Gerhaher in the title role, and sees director Deborah Warner return to Covent Garden following critical success of Peter Grimes.
The company continues its exploration of Handel’s Covent Garden works with two productions: Arminio, not seen in Covent Garden since 1737 and brought to life by a cast and creative team of Jette Parker Artists; and a new production of Alcina, directed by Richard Jones, conducted by Baroque specialist Christian Curnyn, starring soprano Lisette Oropesa and mezzo-soprano Emily D’Angelo. It continues its Benjamin Britten cycle with a new production of The Rape of Lucretia – staged by Director of The Royal Opera Oliver Mears and performed by members of the Jette Parker Artists Programme and Britten Pears Young Artists Programme.
The Linbury Theatre will see Matt Copson and Anna Morrissey co-direct Last Days, composed by ROH/Guildhall School Composer-in-Residence Oliver Leith, and adapted from Gus Van Sant’s cult 2005 film, loosely based on the final days of Kurt Cobain. January sees the UK premiere of Irish National Opera’s Least Like the Other – a portrait of Rosemary Kennedy. Woman at Point Zero, inspired by the novel by Egyptian writer Nawal El Saadawi, opens in June as part of Shubbak Festival 2023; and History of the Present – Maria Fusco’s semi-autobiographical, ground-breaking new film-opera marking the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement – opens in July. Both are also part of the Engender Festival.
International and British singers appear in revivals; Lise Davidsen in Tannhäuser opposite Stefan Vinke, and in Don Carlo with Brian Jagde, conducted by Daniele Rustioni; Bryn Terfel in The Barber of Seville, conducted by Rafael Payare; Anna Pirozzi, Russell Thomas, and Ermonela Jaho in Turandot; Malin Byström in Salome and in Tosca, opposite Gwyn Hughes Jones. Later in the Tosca run, Freddie De Tommaso reprises performances as Cavaradossi, joining Natalya Romaniw and Erwin Schrott; in late autumn, Richard Jones’ production of Puccini’s La bohème is sung by three casts that include Juan Diego Flórez and Danielle de Niese, conducted by, among others, Kevin John Edusei, making his ROH debut; and Jonas Kaufmann performs the title role in Werther opposite former Jette Parker Young Artist Aigul Akhmetshina.
Full details, dates, and casts, and to book: roh.org.uk
Main image: Angel Blue as Violetta in La Traviata. Credit: Catherine Ashmore.