April 2019 Opera Highlights

In the run-up to the world premiere of Detlef Glanert’s “Oceane,” which arrives on April 28, in what promises to be an atmospheric production by Robert Carsen, the Deutsche Oper Berlin alternates between Wagner, Verdi and Puccini. Carmen Giannattasio tackles the titular diva in Boreslaw Barlog’s warhorse production of “Tosca” (13.04 and 20.04), opposite Jorge…

Tristan und Isolde

In 2018, when this production was new, director / designer Dmitri Tcherniakov’s deceptively simple “Tristan” showcased the splendid Staatskapelle, the building’s newly improved acoustics and the company’s knack for putting together Wagner dream casts that could make Bayreuth green with envy. The Russian director, previously seen here with Parsifal and responsible for the company’s new…

Tosca

To kick off the 2014-15 season, Latvian director Alvis Hermanis delivered a lukewarm staging of “Tosca” with few good ideas to supplant Carl Riha’s 38-year-old traditional warhorse. Going along with a confusing and clueless staging of “Vissi d’arte” where Tosca unbuttoned Scarpia’s shirt, there was little indication that Hermanis had actually read the libretto. Then again,…

Pelléas et Mélisande

In May 2018, Pelléas et Mélisande returned to Berlin Staatsoper for the first time in a decade in time for the Claude Debussy centenary. Ruth Berghaus’ richly symbolic production from 1991 numbered among a handful of technically complex stagings unable to transfer to the Schiller Theater, the opera company’s home between 2010-2017. Berghaus’ production is…

The 2018/19 Season at Wiener Staatsoper

The busiest opera house on earth (a fact, not an opinion) just announced its 2018/19 season, the second-to-last under the successful intendanz of Dominique Meyer. Among the 50 operas that will light up the stage of the Ringoper, a new production of Richard Strauss’ masterpiece “Die Frau ohne Schatten” is perhaps the highlight. The performances…

Komische Oper’s 2018-19 Season: Metropolis as Metaphor

Weeks after the Lindenoper announced its most exciting season lineup in a long while, the Komische Oper Berlin revealed its ambitious plans for the 2018/19 season at Tuesday’s press conference. The operatic imaginary applied to Paris, Bruges, Lisbon, Berlin, Westphalia and Pakistan. “Metropolis as Metaphor” seems an appropriate slogan for the coming season, Barrie Kosky’s…

A Mouthwatering New Season at the Lindenoper

When the Metropolitan Opera announced its 2018-19 season several weeks ago, groans were heard throughout the opera-loving world. It had been a long while since anyone had managed to put together such a dull, boring season. Yesterday’s announcement of the coming season at the newly-renovated Staatsoper unter den Linden should have opera-goers everywhere leaping for…

BERLIN UNDIVIDED in March Issue of “Opera News”

My once-in-a-decade big schmear on Berlin’s vibrant classical and opera scene – with a candid interview with Daniel Barenboim – can be found in the March edition of Opera News. I feel extremely privileged to have lived in this city during what has arguably been its most musically dynamic and exciting decade. Barenboim’s impressions of…

Berlin Staatsoper’s Homecoming

The first thing to notice is the snazzy new logo for the Berlin Staatsoper, set to move back into its historic home on Unter den Linden in October, four seasons behind schedule. Make that four and a quarter, since the opera company won’t be 100% settled in by October 3, the traditional start of the…

First Look at Vienna’s New Parsifal

Tonight is the premiere of Alvis Hermanis’ star-studded staging of “Parsifal” at the Wiener Staatsoper (Vienna State Opera). Ahead of opening night (5:30pm), the Staatsoper has released production stills to whet our appetite. I must confess that I’ve never been much of a Hermanis fan (his Berlin “Tosca” is one of the dullest things I’ve…