It’s that time of the year again!
The 2023-24 season is about to begin and audiences are getting ready to choose performances as they head back to the opera. With so much to choose from, OperaWire is breaking down 10 opera productions that are must-sees for all opera lovers from around the world.
Aida – Berlin State Opera – Opens on Oct. 3, 2023
Verdi’s opera is one of the most performed in the repertoire and it will be exciting to see how director Calixto Bieito reimagines it by focusing on the Kammerspiel-like passages of the opera as well as the conflict between the political events surrounding the piece at the time it was produced and the present day. To top it off the cast will showcase Marina Rebeka in her highly anticipated role debut alongside Grigory Shkarupa, Elīna Garanča, Yusif Eyvazov, René Pape, and rising star Vladislav Sulimsky. Verdi specialist Nicola Luisottti conducts.
Dead Man Walking – Metropolitan Opera – Opens on Sept. 26, 2023
It’s been 23 years since Jake Heggie’s opera made its world premiere and it has become the most widely performed new opera of the last 20 years. Now it finally arrives at the Met Opera, with Joyce DiDonato, Ryan McKinny, Latonia Moore, and Susan Graham, who premiered the opera in 2000. Ivo van Hove directs the opera with Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Steven Osgood sharing the podium. The opera will be broadcast as part of the Met’s Live in HD series.
Don Carlo – Teatro alla Scala – Opens Dec. 7, 2023
The opening of the Teatro alla Scala is always an event that is celebrated around the world as it is screened worldwide in theaters and broadcast on streaming and television. Verdi’s seminal has inaugurated La Scala’s season on numerous occasions, most notably with conductors Claudio Abbado, who conducted it twice for the Scala openings on December 7 in 1968 and 1977, and Riccardo Muti. This season, the company will present Lluís Pasqual’s production with an all-star cast that includes Anna Netrebko, René Pape, Francesco Meli, Luca Salsi, Ain Anger, Jongmin Park, and Elīna Garanča. Riccardo Chailly conducts while Ekaterina Semenchuk and Maria José Siri also star in the final two performances.
Il diluvio universale – Donizetti Opera Festival – Opens on Nov. 17, 2023
Discovering a rare classic is always a pleasure and the Donizetti Opera Festival will showcase the composer’s 1830 opera. The festival will present the Neapolitan version. Riccardo Frizza, the festival’s music director, will be on the podium while the performance will be directed by the Masbedo artistic duo. The cast will be led by Nahuel Di Pierro, Nicolò Donini, Davide Zaccherini, Eduardo Martínez, Sabrina Gárdez, Enea Scala, Giuliana Gianfaldoni, and Maria Elena Pepi.
Die Fledermaus – Bayerische Staatsoper – Opens on Dec. 23, 2023
General Music Director Vladimir Jurowski and Director Barrie Kosky reunite for a new production of J. Strauss’ most popular operetta. For Barrie Kosky, the production of Die Fledermaus is his sixth directing work at the National Theater and it will feature choreography by Otto Pichler. Diana Damrau returns to opera with a cast that includes Georg Nigl, Martin Winkler, Andrey Nemzer, Sean Panikkar, Markus Brück, Kevin Conners, and Katharina Konradi.
Intelligence – Houston Grand Opera – Opens on Oct. 20, 2023
Composer Jake Heggie, librettist Gene Scheer, and director/choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar bring a new opera commissioned by the Houston Grand Opera. The opera which takes place during the Civil War is set to star Jamie Barton, Janai Brugger (in her company debut), J’nai Bridges, Michael Mayes, Caitlin Lynch, and Nicholas Newton. Acclaimed conductor Kwamé Ryan takes the podium for his HGO debut.
Innocence – Dutch National Opera – Oct. 7, 2023
The Dutch National Opera is set to present the company premiere of the late Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho‘s last opera. “Innocence,” which has become one of the most frequently performed contemporary composers in the world, features a libretto by compatriot and bestselling author Sofi Oksanen and dramaturg Aleksi Barrière. Elena Schwarz conducts the production by Simon Stone which is set to star Jenny Carlstedt, Lenneke Ruiten, Thomas Oliemans, Lilian Farahani, Markus Nykanen, Frederik Bergman, and Lucy Shelton.
Medea – Teatro Real – Opens Sept. 19, 2023
The Teatro Real opens the new season by dedicating “Medea” to Maria Callas, who performed Cherubini’s opera and created one of the most iconic interpretations in history. Paco Azorín will direct the opera with a stellar cast that includes Maria Agresta, Saioa Hernández, and Maria Pia Piscitelli in the title role. Enea Scala, Francesco Demuro, Nancy Fabiola Herrera, Silvia Tro Santafé, Jongmin Park, Alexander Vinogradov, Sara Blanch, and Marina Monzó round out the stellar cast. Ivor Bolton conducts.
Turandot – Wiener Staatsoper – Opens Dec. 7, 2023
Claus Guth is set to direct a new production of Puccini’s final work and will bring a version that sticks to the composer’s score. The production will feature Asmik Grigorian in her role debut as the ice princess Turandot. She will be joined by Jonas Kaufmann, following critically acclaimed concert performances and a recording of “Turandot.” Kristina Mkhitaryan and Dan Paul Dumitrescu round out the cast with Franz Welser-Möst conducting.
El Último Sueño de Frida y Diego – LA Opera – Opens on Nov. 18, 2023
Gabriela Lena Frank and Nilo Cruz’s acclaimed work makes its LA Opera premiere with Resident Conductor Lina González-Granados conducting. Daniela Mack and Alfredo Daza star alongside Ana María Martínez. Lorena Maza directs the production, which originated in San Diego and San Francisco Opera.