Newsletter - July 2017
Allan Clayton, Hamlet, Glyndebourne © Richard Hubert Smith
"To be, or not to be: that is the question." Allan Clayton was and is princely in the much heralded world premiere of Brett Dean's Hamlet at Glyndebourne.
Forget Cumberbatch. Forget even Gielgud. I haven't seen a more physically vivid, emotionally affecting or psychologically astute portrayal of the Prince of Denmark than Allan Clayton gives in this sensational production...you can't take your eyes off this deceptively dishevelled, shambling figure.
Richard Morrison, The Times *****
Hamlet will be broadcast live in UK cinemas on 6 July. You can also see Allan in another Shakespearian creation, Purcell's Miranda to open the 17-18 season at Opéra Comique.
Ronald Samm appeared in Monteverdi's Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria at The Grange Festival. Rupert Christiansen of The Daily Telegraph commended Ronald's "show-stopping comic turn as the drunken Iro". In September Ronald will make his debut as Wagner's Siegfried in the third act of Götterdämmerung at Oper Wuppertal.
Clara Mouriz will sing Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro at San Sebastián's Quincena Musical and Madrid's El Escorial festivals.
Carlo Rizzi has the honour of opening the season at the Metropolitan Opera with a new production of Norma by Sir David McVicar and will also conduct the much loved Zeffirelli Turandot. Most recently, Carlo conducted a new production of Rigoletto by Damiano Michieletto at Dutch National Opera.
William Lacey conducted his first Jenůfa at Grange Park Opera after Billy Budd at the Bolshoi and Don Giovanni at the Stanislavsky. Lacey returns soon to the Bolshoi for Le nozze di Figaro.
Richard Farnes conducted the London Philharmonic Orchestra in Tom Cairns' production of La traviata at Glyndebourne.
Hartmut Haenchen's residency at Opéra de Lyon as part of its Festival Mémoirs saw two legendary productions once again, Ruth Berghaus' Elektra and Heiner Müller's Tristan und Isolde. Haenchen then was at the helm of Grand Théâtre de Genève and David Bösch's new Così fan tutte, Haenchen's version described in the German language periodical Opernwelt as "a stroke of genius!" Haenchen in July and August will return to the Bayreuther Festspiele to conduct five performances of Parsifal and a special concert celebrating the 100th birthday of Wieland Wagner.
Elias Grandy, Generalmusikdirektor of Theater und Orchester Heidelberg renews for a second term and will open the new season in Heidelberg with Don Giovanni.
George Jackson conducts the world premiere of immer weiter, a chamber opera by Irene Galindo Quero and Jesse Broekman at Staatsoper Hamburg.
François-Xavier Roth led two concurrent productions in June, Le nozze di Figaro in Cologne and Saint-Saëns' Le Timbre d'argent, unheard since 1914, at the newly re‑opened Opéra-Comique. To open the 17-18 season in Cologne, he will conduct his first Tannhäuser directed by Patrick Kinmonth.
Stefan Solyom conducted Pelle Erövraren, Den Stora Kampen by Erik Norberg at Helsingborg Arena and will open the season at Malmö Opera with Fiddler on the Roof.
Martin André, former Music Director at Teatro Nacional de São Carlos, Lisbon, returned for new productions of Pagliacci and Der Zwerg. In September he returns to Opera North for L'enfant et les sortilèges and Osud.
Visual Artists in Opera
Alexander Polzin, Aida, La Monnaie © Monika Forster
German sculptor Alexander Polzin designs a new Aida for La Monnaie, directed by Stathis Livathinos and conducted by Alain Altinoglu. The production is being be streamed here until 21 July.
Performance artist and director Sjaron Minailo directed a new production of Die Zauberflöte at Teatr Wielki Poznań. Adam Olaf Gibowski of Kulturaupodstaw thought the production "captivates with simple means of expression. The clear symbols speak directly to the viewer's imagination...[he has] managed to create a work of the highest artistic value."
Sjaron Minailo, Die Zauberflöte, Poznań © Bartek Barczyk
Directors and Designers
Patrick Kinmonth creates two new productions in quick succession. He directs and designs La clemenza di Tito for Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe, and directs the original Dresden version of Tannhäuser for Oper Köln conducted by François-Xavier Roth. His production of Die Gezeichneten closes Oper Köln's season this month.
Laurent Pelly's prolific few months saw him direct and design costumes for a new production of Donizetti rarity Viva la Mamma! at Opéra de Lyon, of which Rue du Théâtre says "Pelly ... directs this hilarious and brilliant farce with undisguised jubilation". He also directed a new production of Le Coq d'or with set designs by Barbara de Limburg at the Teatro Real, Madrid as well as revivals of his iconic production of La fille du régiment with dialogues by Agathe Mélinand at Gran Teatre del Liceu, while The Royal Opera, London saw a revival of L'elisir d'amore.
Katharina Thoma returns to Glyndebourne to direct the revival of her production of Ariadne auf Naxos, with Lise Davidsen in the title role conducted by Cornelius Meister. Barry Millington of London's Evening Standard wrote "Ingenious staging mixes comedy with the mythic"
Tatyana van Walsum makes her Salzburg Festival debut designing costumes for Shirin Neshat's Aida, starring Anna Netrebko and conducted by Riccardo Muti.
Elijah Moshinsky's new production of Verdi's Macbeth, in the rarely heard 1847 original version, opens at the Buxton International Festival in July, conducted by Stephen Barlow.
Johan Simons' final production of his innovative directorship of the Ruhrtriennale is the world premiere of a music theatre piece, Cosmopolis, based on the novel by Don DeLillo at the Jahrhunderthalle Bochum.
After reviving her much loved La Cenerentola at Opera Wrocławska, a co-production with Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Irina Brook was named Officer de l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres and distinguished with the Légion d'honneur as a result of a lifetime's work as a theatre and opera director, and recognising her directorship of Théâtre National de Nice, the only female in such a position in France.
Completing nine years as Principal Conductor at Opéra de Lyon, Kazushi Ono conducted a gala concert featuring extracts from works he has performed during his tenure. At the close of the concert Kazushi was awarded the title of Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres by Yoshi Oida, on behalf of the French Cultural Minister, Françoise Nyssen, and also the Médaille de la Ville de Lyon presented by Georges Képénékian, Deputy Mayor of Lyon. Prokofiev's The Fiery Angel, conducted by Kazushi was awarded the Prix Claude Rostand for the best production of the year.
Laurent Pelly and Barbara de Limburg's Le Coq d'or, a co-production between La Monnaie, Opéra national de Lorraine à Nancy and Teatro Real, Madrid, garnered the Prix de l'Europe Francophone.