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 in May 2019 will mark the centenary of the work with celebrated its world premiere shortly after the end of World War One: a work that until recently was considered an oddity in the Strauss canon. It doesn’t arrive until late May (it was previously announced to open the 2019/20 season) and Jonas Kaufmann, who was scheduled to sing his first Kaiser, has dropped out. Nevertheless, the dream combination of Stephen Gould, Camilla Nylund, Evelyn Herlitzius, Wolfgang Koch and Nina Stemme, paced by the unparalleled Christian Thielemann should make this a FRoSCH worth waiting for! Vincent Huguet, a disciple of the late Patrice Chéreau, directs.
Meyer has been adding titles to the Staatsoper’s repertoire at the rate of two per year. In December, Johannes Maria Staud’s und Durs Grünbein’s “Die Weiden” (The Willows), a work commissioned by the Staatsoper, will celebrate its world première, in a production by Andrea Moses. Modern music expert Ingo Metzmacher conducts a cast that includes Rachel Frenkel, Tomasz Konieczny, Thomas Ebenstein, Andrea Carroll and Herbert Lippert.
Another new work for the house is Manfred Trojahn’s 2011 “Orest,” a hit both in Amsterdam and Zurich. Michael Boder conducts. Marco Arturo Marelli directs. Thomas Johannes Mayer, Daniel Johansson, Audrey Luna, Laura Aikin, Evelyn Herlitzius star, in March 2019.
The other premieres of the season are all operatic war horses with crackling casts. In October, David McVicar will tackle “Les Troyens.” Brandon Jovanovich, Joyce DiDonato, Adam Plachetka, Rachel Frenkel and Margarita Gritskova star. Alain Altinoglu conducts.
In February, Laurent Pelly directs a new “Lucia” with Olga Peretyatko-Mariotti, Juan Diego Flórez, George Petean. Come June, Adrian Noble’s staging of “Otello” arrives with a Slavic-heavy cast: Aleksandrs Antonenko, Olga Bezsmertna and Vladislav Sulimsky.
Repertory highlight include Sven-Erich Bechtolf’s “Ring” cycle, back with a promising cast of seasoned Wagnerians (Stephen Gould, Evelyn Herlitzius) and the magnificent Axel Kober in the pit. Andreas Homoki’s lacklustre “Lohengrin,” should be enlivened by the riveting Andreas Schager, who makes in role debut as the knight of the swan in October’s revival. Lastly, when Alvis Hermanis’ sumptuous production of “Parsifal” returns the third consecutive Easter, it will be a rare chance to hear Matthais Goerne as Amfortas.