Anna Netrebko, Edita Gruberova, Vittorio Grigolo, & Puccini Among Highlights of Hungarian State Opera’s 2018-19 Season

The Hungarian State Opera has announced its 2018-19 season which is slated to includes a whopping 60 repertoire pieces and 16 premieres. The company has stated that the main theme of the season is taking audiences to Puccini’s Italy.  There are also a series of concerts with some of opera’s biggest stars. Let’s break it down.

Premieres (in order of performance dates) 

Orf’s “Carmina Burana” gets a series of concert performances with a concept from Tibor Bogányi.

Performance Dates:  Sept. 22, 23, Oct. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 

Puccini’s “La Fanciulla del West” will get a new production by Vasily Barkhatov with Éva Bátori and Szilvia Rálik splitting the role of Minnie. Csaba Szegedi takes on Jack Rance and Balázx Kocsár conducts.

Performance Dates:  Dec. 4, 6, 9, 13, 16, 22, 24

Mozart’s never-finished “L’Oca del Cairo, ossia Lo Sposo deluso” gets a world premiere in a production directed by Attila Toronykoy. István Kovács and Péter Balczó lead the cast. The opera is a pastiche of parts of the work and other pieces from the great composer. The world premiere takes place on the composer’s birthday.

Performance Dates:  Jan. 27, 30, Feb. 1, 3

Ponchielli’s “La Gioconda” will be revived under the direction of Ferenc Anger with a cast that includes Csilla Boross and Eszter Sümegi in the title. Jorge de Leon and Gergely Boncsér both share the role of Enzo while Gergely Kesselyák conducts.

Performance Dates:  Feb. 24, 28, March 3, 6, 10, June 1, 5 

Jeno Kenessey’s “The Gold and the Woman” makes a return to the opera in almost a century while “The Tót Family” gets a world premiere.

Performance Dates: March 16, 17, 23, 24 

Puccini’s “Manon Lescaut” gets a new production by Máté Szabó.

Performance Dates: May 17, 18, 23, 25, 30, June 2 

“Chrysanthemums, of The Death of Liù” will get a world premiere. The work is written by Szálinger Balázs and will be directed by Bálint Szilágyi.

Performance Dates:  May 19, 21, 25

Puccini’s second opera “Edgar” will get its second-ever production in Hungary in a co-production with Hungary’s arts academies. I

Performance Dates: May 24, 26, 28

Ferenc Anger directs Puccini’s “La Rondine” in the company’s first staging of the opera since it was presented in 1927 at the City Theatre.

Performance Dates: May 26, 27 

The final premiere of the season is Monteverdi’s “L’Incoronazione di Poppea” which will star Szabolcs Brickner as Nero and Borbála Keszi as Poppea. The new production will be directed by Kriszta Székely.

Performance Dates: June 1, 2, 4, 8

Revivals (in alphabetical order by title)

Giordano’s “Andrea Chénier” will return to the stage starring Alexandru Agache as Carlo Gérard and Eszter Sümegi as Maddalena.

Performance Dates: June 7, 9 

Erkel’s “Bánk bán” appears with Ildikó Komlósi and Judit Németh alternating the role of Gertrud.

Performance Dates:  March 14, 16, 21, 28, April 2, 7

Leoncavallo’s “La Bohéme” gets just one performance at the Erkel Theatre. 

Performance Dates: Dec. 17

Bizet’s perennial masterpiece “Carmen” will get a showcase in March 2019 with Viktória Mester in the title role.

Performance Dates:  March 7, 9, 13, 17 

The Italian double bill of “Cavalleria Rusticana” and “Pagliacci” takes the stage with Ildikó Komlósi as Santuzza and Kamen Chanev as Canio.

Performance Dates:  April 18, 25, 27, 28 

“Così Fan Tutte” will showcase a cast that includes Lilla Horti and Gabriela Balga as the two sisters Fiordiligi and Dorabella, respectively.

Performance Dates:  March 1, 3, 5, 8

 New Year’s Eve will feature Strauss II’s perennial classic “Die Fledermaus” under the musical direction of János Kovács.

Performance Dates:  Dec. 31, Jan 2, 3, 5

Strauss’ incredible “Die Frau ohne Schatten” will be conducted by Péter Halász.

Performance Dates:  July 7 

János Kovács conducts Goldmark’s “Die Königin von Saba.”

Performance Dates:  Jan. 13

Mozart’s final masterpiece “Die Zauberflöte” gets a holiday run with András Palderi as Sarastro and Tobor Szappanos as Tamino. Andrea Rost stars as Pamina.

Performance Dates:  Dec. 2, 5, 7, 9

Zoltán Kodály’s “Háry János” gets a lengthy run throughout April and May with three different conducts and three different casts.

Performance Dates:  April 26- May 11 

Rossini’s “Il Barbiere di Siviglia” will be only one of two operas by the composer to get a showcase with the company this season. Balász Kocsár conducts.

Performance Dates:  June 21, 23 

Gergely Kesselyák conducts Puccini’s “Il Trittico” for two nights in May.

Performance Dates:  May 23, 25 

Pongrác Kacsóh’s “John the Valiant” gets a run in March under the musical direction of Rácz Márton.

Performance Dates:  March 10, 16, 17, 30, 31

 Puccini’s “La Bohème” gets a holiday run, including a performance on Christmas Day, with four conductors and two casts in Kálmán Nádasdy’s 1937 production. There will also be a run of concert performances of the opera in early 2019. Damiano Michieletto’s 2012 vision of the work gets two performances in June.

Performance Dates (Nádasdy producton):  Dec. 8, 15, 21, 23, 25, 27 

Performance Dates (Concert Version):  Feb. 8, 11,13, 15, 18, March 2, 8, 22, 29

Performance Dates (Michieletto production): June 6, 8 

Verdi’s “La Traviata” takes over in late March and early April with two casts under the musical direction of Balázs Kocsár.

Performance Dates:  March 30, 31, April 3, 4, 6, 12 

Kocsár also leads two performances of “Le Nozze di Figaro” in June.

Performance Dates:  June 28, 30 

Meyerbeer’s “Les Huguenots” takes the stage under conductor Oliver von Dohnányi.

Performance Dates:  Jan. 23, 25, 27, 31

The second Rossini opera that the company will showcase is “L’Italiana in Algeri.” It will feature two casts under Francesco Lanzillotta.

Performance Dates:  Feb. 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 

Lucia di Lammermoor” will also be showcased with two casts, one of which stars legendary soprano Edita Gruberova in her signature interpretation.

Performance Dates:  Feb. 9, 10, 13, 14, 17,23

 Verdi’s first masterpiece “Nabucco” will star Alexandru Agache in four performances in early January.

Performance Dates:  Jan. 4, 6, 11, 13

The company’s controversial staging of “Porgy and Bess” takes to the stage yet again in April 2019 with two separate casts.

Performance Dates:  April 5, 6, 7, 13, 16, 17

 Rigoletto” will get a long run in July with two different casts.

Performance Dates:  July 14-28

Andrea Rost stars in “Simon Boccanegra” which is slated for just one performance in January.

Performance Dates:  Jan. 10 

Purcell’s dark opera “The Fairy Queen” will get a series of performances under Gergely Vajda’s musical direction.

Performance Dates:  April 12, 14, 25, 28 

Eszter Sümegi leads two performances of Puccini’s “Tosca” with Antoliy Fokanov as Scarpia.

Performance Dates:  May 19, 25

Szilvia Rálik takes on the title role of Puccini’s “Turandot” for two performances in May.

Performance Dates:  May 26, 29 

Two casts will get the spotlight in Verdi’s “Un Ballo in Maschera.” Massimo Zanetti conducts.

Performance Dates:  June 14, 15, 16, 23, 29, 30

Other Events

Per a press release, the company will also showcase a number of international stars in major concerts and galas. Vittorio Grigolo is set to star in the closing event of the company’s Puccini Festival. Elina Garanca will perform a recital while Sonya Yoncheva will make her Hungarian debut at the annual carnival gala. José Cura, Erika Miklósa, Andrea Rost, and Ramón Vargas will star in the gala concert while Erwin Schrott will make an appearance at the Margaret Island Open-Air Theatre. There will also be a collaboration between the Hungarian State Opera Orchestra and Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov, a collaboration that commenced a year ago at the Waldbühne Berlin. This year the orchestra and the two soloists will appear in Zurich and Cologne. There will also be concerts with Juan Diego Flórez at the Royal Opera House in Muscat as well as with Joseph Calleja at Müpa.

The company also has a number of major events with some of opera’s biggest stars. Verdi’s “Requiem” and Bach’s “St. Matthew’s Passion” will each get showcases.

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