Yes, yes. When it comes to opera, Berlin is indeed an embarrassment of riches. And while the opera season in the US has been over for the past month, and the summer festival season is still a month and change off, Berlin’s three opera houses are still going strong through mid-July. The coming week features one of the most promising lineups I can recall, with an especially strong showing from the Deutsche Oper Berlin. With the except of Monday, when theaters are usually dark, you can hear excellent opera (and some ballet) every night of the week! Here are our suggestions:
JUNE 19 – SUNDAY: Start off the week with the Komische Oper’s new production of Massenet’s Cendrillon, conducted by outgoing GMD Henrik Nanasi and staged by Damiano Michieletto. This is the newly polyglot KOB’s second French outing of the year, after Barrie Kosky’s season-opener of Les Contes d’Hoffmann.
JUNE 21 – TUESDAY: The fairy-tale theme continues with Nacho Duato’s classical staging of Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty over at the Deutsche Oper, danced by the Berlin Staatsballett.
JUNE 22 – WEDNESDAY: Switch over from fairy tale to mythology with the Jürgen Flimm / Frank Gehry production of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice. The main selling point of the Staatsoper’s staging in the sensational countertenor Bejun Mehta as the inconsolable musician. Hopefully conductor Domingo Hindoyan will be more a more sensitive guide to this Reformoper that Barenboim was at the premiere.
JUNE 23 – THURSDAY: Stay Greek with Strauss’ seminal shocker Elektra at the Deutsche Oper. Kirsten Harms’s brutal production is a perfect match for the heartless score. Donald Runnicles is sure to heat things up at the pit, which one of the best casts in recent memory, led by the tremendous Nina Stemme, light up the stage.
JUNE 24 – FRIDAY: Stay at the Deutsche Oper for Jan Bosse’s gripping metatheatrical production of Rigoletto, starring the world’s leading Gilda, the sublime Olga Peretyatko. George Gagnidze sings the deformed jester, while Yosep Kang lends his honeyed tones to the rakish duke.
JUNE 25 – SATURDAY: Circle back to the Komische for your second Baroque outing of the week, Rameau’s Castor et Pollux, in Barrie Kosky’s stripped-down production, conducted by Christopher Moulds. Günter Papendell and Allan Clayton star as the titular brothers.
JUNE 26 – SUNDAY: Find a seat, any seat, at the Berlin Philharmonie for a promising performance of Berlioz’s dramatic oratorio La damnation de Faust. Tugan Sokhiev is at the pulpit, conducting the Deutsches-Symphonie-Orchester. The impressive cast includes Piotr Beczala (Faust) Sasha Cooke (Marguerite) and Ildebrando D’Arcangelo (Méphistophélès). The excellent Rundfunkchor Berlin can be depended on for Berlioz’s overwhelming choruses.