10 Must See Opera Productions Of The Fall 2017-18 Season [International]

By Francisco Salazar

After showcasing a wide range of repertoire that will be showcased this fall in the United States, it’s time to look at the European theaters. With hundreds of houses around the world opening at the same time, it was challenging to put together this list. But after looking through several theaters, OperaWire has curated the must-see operas for this fall and winter season that are sure to please audiences as well as challenge them with new works.

10. La Favorite – Teatro Real de Madrid 

On Nov. 2 Jamie Barton makes her Teatro Real debut as Lenore in Donizetti’s “La Favorite” making it one of the most anticipated for Spain audiences. Barton, who has risen to fame all over the world will be joined by the new Bel Canto king Javier Camarena as Fernand. Simone Piazzola sings Alphonse while Daniel Oren conducts what should be two stellar nights at the opera.

9. Marnie – English National Opera

After premiering “Two Boys” in 2011 at the ENO, Nico Muhly returns with his second world premiere with the company.  This time Muhly is collaborating with librettist Nicholas Wright on an adaptation of Winston Graham’s novel by special arrangement with Universal Pictures. Tony Award-winning director Michael Mayer makes his UK opera debut, collaborating with ENO Music Director Martyn Brabbins in a production that stars Grammy Award-winning mezzo Sasha Cooke in the title role. The opera premieres on Nov. 18 and is slated to appear at the Metropolitan Opera in a few years.

8. Le Nozze di Figaro -Bayerische Staatsoper 

Christof Loy is one of the most acclaimed directors of our time and this season he will direct a new production of Mozart’s masterpiece. Constantinos Carydis conducts the production which stars a young cast including Christian Gerhaher, Federica Lombardi, Anett Fritsch, Alex Esposito and Olga Kulchynska. The production opens Oct. 17 and will be broadcast on BR Klassik.

7. Fra Diavolo – Teatro dell’Opera di Roma  

Technically this is still part of the 2016-17 season but it is part of the fall and the fact that the opera is even being presented is simply exciting. Opening on Oct. 8 the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma has lined up a superb cast that includes John Osborn, Pretty Yende and Sonia Ganassi. Conducted by Rory Macdonald, this is one rare piece that audiences may want to catch.

6. Il Trovatore – Opera Frankfurt 

Elza Van Den Heever is one of the most versatile performers today, dominating the repertoire of Strauss, Verdi, Handel, Mozart, Bellini, and Donizetti. Five years after taking on the role of Leonora at the Canadian Opera, Van den Heever returns to the opera and headlines a new production by David Boesch. Also, starring is Brian Mulligan and Piero Pretti, this is one exciting young cast for this Verdi Masterpiece. The production opens on Sept. 10.

5. La Bohème – Royal Opera House 

In 2015, John Copley’s 40-year-old production retired after numerous successful runs. Two years later the Royal Opera House is bringing a new production by Richard Jones. Music Director Antonio Pappano will conduct the Puccini masterwork after numerous years and has lined up a phenomenal cast for the premiere. Michael Fabiano, Nicole Car, Mariusz Kwiecien and Nadine Sierra star in the production. Opening on Sept. 11, “La Boheme” will be filmed live in HD on Sept. 25.

4. Autumn Sonata – Finnish National Opera

One of the most anticipated productions at the Finnish Opera is the adaptation of Ingmar Bergman’s Oscar-nominated film by composer Sebastian Fagerlund, one of the most highly acclaimed Finnish composers. With a libretto by Gunilla Hemming in a new production by Stéphane Braunschweig, the opera should be intriguing for audiences. It will also be a chance to see Anne Sofie von Otter in her Finnish National Opera debut in an opera that was specifically written for her. “Autumn Sonata” has its world premiere on Sept. 8.

3. Szenen aus Goethes Faust – Berlin Staatsoper 

While this Schumann work is not considered an opera but an oratorio, the Berlin Staatsoper is presenting it in a new production by Jürgen Flimm with Daniel Barenboim conducting. What makes this even more enticing is the cast that the company has lined up. René Pape will perform the role of Mephistopheles while Roman Trekel will be Faust. Elsa Dreisig sings Gretchen. The rarely staged work receives its premiere on Oct. 3.

 2. Andrea Chénier – Teatro alla Scala 

Anna Netrebko has had two triumphs in new roles including “Aida” and “Adriana Lecouvreur.” Now La Scala audiences will see her first Maddalena in “Andrea Chénier.” The new role marks her third of the year and it also marks her third time headlining opening night at La Scala. She will be joined by her husband Yusif Eyvazov in the title role, Annalisa Stroppa and Luca Salsi. Riccardo Chailly conducts the production by Mario Martone. “Andrea Chénier” opens Dec. 7 with the performance streamed in cinemas and television all over the world.

1. Don Carlos – Opera National de Paris

It’s hard not to look forward to this production when Jonas Kaufmann, Sonya Yoncheva and Elina Garanca are all headlining. Ildar Abdrazakov, Ludovic Tezier and Dmitry Belosselskiy also star in what is likely to be the Opera de Paris’ highlight of the season and a historical performance. The new production will feature the original French version directed by visionary Krzysztof Warlikowski under the direction of Philippe Jordan. “Don Carlos” opens on Oct. 10 with a performance slated for cinema.


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