Enea Scala, Asmik Grigorian & Christopher Maltman Highlight Oper Frankfurt’s 2019-20 Season

By Francisco Salazar

Oper Frankfurt’s new season is massive. It is loaded up with over a dozen new productions and even more revivals.


Damiano Michieletto directs a new production of Rossini’s “Otello” starring Enea Scala in the title role, Karolina Makuła as Desdemona, Theo Lebow as Iago, and Jack Swanson as Rodrigo. Sesto Quatrini conducts.

Performance Dates: Sept. 8-Oct. 20, 2019

Asmik Grigorian sings the title role in Puccini’s “Manon Lescaut” with Joshua Guerrero as her lover Des Grieux and Iurii Samoilov as Lescaut.  Lorenzo Viotti and Takeshi Moriuchi rotate at the pit in the new production by  Àlex Ollé.

Performance Dates: Oct. 6-Nov. 23, 2019

Anselm Weber directs a new production of Shostakovich’s “Lady Macbeth of Mtsenk” with Anja Kampe, Dmitry Golovnin, Dmitry Belosselskiy, and AJ Gluecker. Sebastian Weigle conducts.

Performance Dates: Nov. 3-Dec. 12, 2019

Karsten Januschke conducts R.B. Schlather’s new production of Handel’s “Tamerlano.” The cast is set to include Lawrence Zazzo, Yves Saelens, Elizabeth Reiter, Brennan Hall, Cecelia Hall, and Liviu Holender.

Performance Dates: Nov. 7-23, 2019

Paula Murrihy sings the title role of Fauré’s “Penelope” in a new production by Corinna Tetzel. Joana Mallwitz conducts the opera which also stars Eric Laporte, Joanna Krasuska-Motułewicz, Božidar Smiljanić, Peter Marsh, Sebastian Geyer, Ralf Simon, Dietrich Volle, Danylo Matviienko, Nina Tarandek, Kirsten MacKinnon, Angela Vallone, Julia Moorman, and Monika Buczkowska.

Performance Dates: Dec. 1, 2019-Jan. 23, 2020

Vincent Wolfsteiner and Rachel Nicholls in Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde.” The new production directed by Katharina Thoma will also star Andreas Bauer Kanabas and Falk Struckmann alternating as King Marke, Claudia Mahnke and Tanja Ariane Baumgartner rotating as Brangane, Christoph Pohl and Simon Bailey performing Kurwenal and Iain MacNeil as Melot. Sebastian Weigle conducts.

Performance Dates: Jan. 19-Feb. 29, 2020 & June 12-July 2, 2020 

Simone Di Felice conducts Rossini’s “La Gazzetta” in a new production by Caterina Panti Liberovici. Sebastian Geyer, Elizabeth Sutphen, Mikołaj Trąbka, Matthew Swensen, Angela Vallone, Nina Tarandek, and Danylo Matviienko star in the production.

Performance Dates: Feb. 2-16, 2020

Ambur Braid, Christopher Maltman, AJ Glueckert, Claudia Mahnke, and Gerard Schneider star in a new production of Strauss’ “Salome.” Barrie Kosky directs the production conducted by Joana Mallwitz.

Performance Dates: March 1-April 13, 2020

Heather Phillips and Elizabeth DeShong sing the title roles in Rossini’s “Bianca e Falliero” with Giuliano Carella conducting Tilmann Köhler’s new production. The opera will also star Bruce Sledge, Kihwan Sim, Attila Mokus, and Michael Petruccelli.

Performance Dates: April 5-May 15, 2020

Benjamin Reiners conducts concert performances of Thomas’ “Mignon” with Julie Boulianne, Elizabeth Sutphen, Attilio Glaser, Jean Teitgen, Michael Porter, Barnaby Rea, and Zanda Švēde.

Performance Dates: April 17 & 19, 2020

Lucia Ronchetti’s “Inferno” makes its world premiere in a production by Kay Voges and Marcus Lobbes. The opera will star Sebastian Kuschmann, Ray Chenez, Matthew Swensen, Frederic Mörth, Danae Kontora, Alfred Reiter, and Alexander Kravets. Tito Ceccherini conducts.

Performance Dates: April 18-May 9, 2020

Hans Werner Henze’s “Der Prinz von Homberg” returns with a new production by  Jens-Daniel Herzog. The opera will be conducted by Jonathan Darlington with a cast that includes  Iurii Samoilov, Eric Laporte, Ambur Braid, Peter Marsh, Nina Tarandek, and Iain MacNeil.

Performance Dates: June 7-July 4, 2020


Dmitry Egorov stars in the title role of Handel’s “Radimisto” with Zanda Švēde, Jenny Carlstedt, Kihwan Sim, Kateryna Kasper, Vince Yi, and Božidar Smiljanić. Simone Di Felice conducts.

Performance Dates: August 25-Jan. 18, 2020

Attilio Glaser stars as Mozart’s “Idomeneo” with Cecelia Hall, Florina Ilie, and Ambur Braid.  Rasmus Baumann conducts.

Performance Dates: August 31-Sept. 27, 2019

Martinů’s “Julietta” returns with  Juanita Lascarro in the title role, Ian Koziara, Jonathan Abernethy, Iain MacNeil, and Brandon Cedel.  Alexander Prior conducts. 

Performance Dates: Sept. 13-Oct. 5, 2019

Křenek’s “Drei Kurzopern” will showcase three operas with Davide Damiani starring in “Der Diktator” with Angela Vallone, Vincent Wolfsteiner, and Juanita Lascarro and  Barnaby Rea starring in “Schwegewicht oder die Ehre der Nation.” Rea is joined by Barbara Zechmeister, Jonathan Abernethy, Danylo Matviienko, Judita Nagyová, and Michael McCown. The third work “Das Geheime Konigreich” is set to star Damiani, Ambur Braid, Sebastian Geyer, and Peter Marsh. Lothar Zagrosek conducts.

Performance Dates: Oct. 11-Nov.1, 2019

Sebastian Weigle conducts a revival of Flotow’s “Martha” with  Kateryna Kasper and Juanita Lascarro in the lead role. They are joined by  Katharina Magiera, Iain MacNeil, Barnaby Rea, Gerard Schneider, AJ Glueckert, Gordon Bintner, and Franz Mayer.

Performance Dates: Nov. 8-Dec. 31, 2019

Migran Agadzhanyan and Alfred Kim star in the title role of Verdi’s “Don Carlo.” They are joined by Tamara Wilson and Olesya Golovneva alternating as Elisabetta, Andreas Bauer Kanabas and Simon Lim as Filippo, Carmen Topciu and Tanja Ariane Baumgartner as Eboli and Audun Iversen and Bogdan Baciu sharing the role of Posa. Stefan Soltesz conducts David McVicar’s production with  Magnús Baldvinsson and Anthony Robin Schneider rounding out the cast as the Grand Inquisitor.

Performance Dates: Dec. 7, 2019-Jan. 5, 2020

Christopher Maltman and Franco Vassallo star in the title role of Verdi’s “Rigoletto.” Kateryna Kasper, Alina Adamski, and Florina Ilie are Gilda, while Gerard Schneider sings the Duke. Kihwan Sim, Barnaby Rea, and Anthony Robin Schneider rotate as Sparafucile while Tanja Ariane Baumgartner and Judita Nagyová share the role of Maddalena. Pier Giorgio Morandi conduct.

Performance Dates: Jan. 24-Feb. 21, 2020

Zanda Švēde sings the title role of Bizet’s “Carmen” with Jean-François Borras in his signature role of Don José, alternating with Giorgio Berrugi. Stefan Blunier and Nikolai Petersen alternate at the pit with  Kirsten MacKinnon and Gordon Bintner rounding out the cast.

Performance Dates: Jan. 31-March 7, 2020

Jonathan Abernethy, Esther Dierkes, Dietrich Volle, Magnús Baldvinsson, and Johannes Martin Kränzle star in Delius’ “Romeo und Julia auf dem Dorf.” Elias Grandy conducts the rarely performed work.

Performance Dates: March 6-28, 2020

Titus Engel conducts the double bill of Debussy’s “La Damoiselle Elue” and Honegger’s “Jeanne d’Arc Au Bucher.” The Debussy work is set to star Elizabeth Reiter and Katharina Magiera while  Johanna Wokalek, Sébastien Dutrieux, Florina Ilie, Elizabeth Reiter, Katharina Magiera, Peter Marsh and Brandon Cedel star in Honegger’s work.

Performance Dates: March 14-April 3, 2020

Lawrence Foster conducts Britten’s masterpiece “Peter Grimes” with Vincent Wolfsteiner, Katie van Kooten, Simon Bailey, and Jennifer Johnston.

Performance Dates: April 11-May 2, 2020

Two casts highlight Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” with Gordon Bintner and Iurii Samoilov alternating in the title role. Božidar Smiljanić and Brandon Cedel will sing Leporello, while Kirsten MacKinnon will take on Donna Anna. Donna Elvira will be portrayed by Elizabeth Reiter and Karen Vuong, while Jonathan Abernethy, Michael Porter, and Matthew Swensen will share the role of Don Ottavio.

The cast will be rounded out by Bianca Andrew, Nina Tarandek, Liviu Holender, Andreas Bauer Kanabas, and Anthony Robin Schneider. Titus Engel and Nikolai Petersen will rotate at the pit.

Performance Dates: April 24-June 26, 2020

Janáček’s “Das schlaue Füchslein” will star Elizabeth Reiter, Kelsey Lauritano, Michael Nagy, and Zanda Švēde with Ryan Wigglesworth conducting.

Performance Dates: May 1-23, 2020

Maria Bengtsson, Patrick Zielke, Cecelia Hall, Sebastian Geyer, and  Kateryna Kasper are set to star in Strauss’ “Der Rosenkavalier” with Stefan Soltesz and Sebastian Weigle conducting.

Performance Dates: May 10-June 11, 2020

Izabela Matuła, Gevorg Hakobyan, and Hovhannes Ayvazyan headline Verdi’s “La Forza del Destino” with Carlo Montanaro conducting. The rest of the cast is set to star Andreas Bauer Kanabas, Judita Nagyová, and Misha Kiria.

Performance Dates: June 21-July 5, 2020


The season will also include recitals and concerts from Jakub Józef Orliński, Pretty Yende, Stanislas de Barbeyrac, Maria Bengtsson, Alma Sadé, Helene Schneidermann, Florian Boesch,  Gaëlle Arquez, Peter Mattei, and John Osborn. Ensemble member Kirsten MacKinnon, Zanda Švēde, Anthony Robin Schneider, Claudia Mahnke, Konstantin Krimmel, and Božidar Smiljanić will also give recitals.