Opera is one of those upper class pursuits that with time has become much more democratic yet not less enchanting. Here is a selection of 10 must see operas for the 2013 season.
Opera traces its roots to Monteverdi, a Venetian composer active in the baroque period. Transforming traditional Madrigolds into full-blown productions and calling upon Venice’s strong tradition in theatre opera was born. Composers of the likes of Verdi, Rossini, Bizet and Mozart all chose opera as a vehicle for stunning musical oeuvres.
Still alive and well today, opera continues to mesmerize audiences and with a hint of experimentation its popularity and charm continue to live strong. Swide has collated a selection of 10 must see operas set in the most beautiful opera houses the world has to offer.
Sydney: Giuseppe Verdi, A Masqued Ball
A production by La Fura dels Baus, with the innovative direction of Alex Ollé. Italian composer and conductor Andrea Molino directs acclaimed soprano Tamar Iveri and rising Mexican tenor Diego Torre in their role as Amelia and Gustav III, while the outstanding José Carbó portrays Count Anckarstroem. This new production is set to be a new benchmark in theatrical innovation and promises to be as mindboggling and daring as it is musically lush.
San Francisco: Mark Adamo, The Gospel of Mary Magdalen
Mary Magdalen and the infamous Gospel dissevered in recent year at the center of this modern opera that sees its world premier this season. The subject may ruffle a few feathers, nevertheless, Mark Adamo is hailed as a brilliant theatre composer and Kevin Newbury directs a talented cast that includes Sasha Cooke, William Burden and Maria Kanyova. Nathan Gunn. Michael Christie, in his San Francisco Opera debut, conducts.
Royal Opera House: Benjamin Britten, Albert Herring
Benjamin Britten’s 1947 opera presents a spirited and comic portrait of rural English life. It updates Guy de Maupassant’s short story ‘Le rosier de Madame Husson’, transporting the action to a small Suffolk market town in 1900. English Touring Opera’s new production, directed by Christopher Rolls, provides a handsome setting for the energy and lyricism of Britten’s score, combined with Eric Crozier’s entertaining libretto.
Opera National de Paris: Georges Bizet, Carmen
The violent passion set under the scorching Spanish sun, Philippe Jordan directs the much anticipated return to the Paris Opera House of Bizet's most loved opera Carmen. For the lovers of more classic opera, this is a must see.
MET Opera, Georg Friedrich Hendel, Giulio Cesare
The British production which mesmerized London is now ready to take over New York. David McVicar's production of Handel’s Caesar and Cleopatra incorporates elements of Baroque theater and 19th-century British imperialism to illuminate the opera’s ideas of love, war, and empire building. The world’s leading countertenor, David Daniels, sings the title role opposite Natalie Dessay as an irresistibly exotic Cleopatra. Baroque specialist Harry Bicket conducts.
La Scala: Richard Wagner, Lohengrin
The grand opening of La Scala this year features an acclaimed Richard Wagner opera, Lohengrin. The story of the eponymous character is taken from medieval German romance, and centers around a wrought love story and the struggle between good and evil. With tenor Jonas Kaufmannand in the title role and soprano Anja Harteros as Elsa, the opera is set to be a winning decision for this season's opening.
Bolshoi: Alexander Borodin, Prince Igor
The mythical Bolshoi in Moscow has undergone a complete overhaul in its production calendar for the coming season under General Director Anatoly Iksanov. Director Yuri Lyubimov, whose bold and experimental version of the classic historical plot will raise many an eyebrow as it has none of the pompousness so characteristic of all of the Bolshoi’s previous productions of Prince Igor.
Verona Opera festival: Giuseppe Verdi, Aida
Set in one of the most spectacular arenas, the Verona Opera Festival celebrates its centenary in 2013. To mark the occasion, a number of "greatest hits" are being performed. Most notably Giuseppe Verdi's Aida, with a grand new stage design by Fondazione Arena di Verona and directed by the La Fura dels Baus, counting Aida: Hui He Radames: Fabio Sartori and Omer: Meir Wellber as director, its a fitting tribute to the rich history of the arena.
Glyndebourne Festival, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Hippolyte et Aricie
When it comes to Glyndebourne its hard to go wrong. The 2013 season is packed full of innovative productions and classic renditions from Britten's Billy Budd to Verdi's Falstaff. Word on the grapevine is that the new production of Jean-Philippe Rameau, Hippolyte et Aricie will be a must see oeuvre.
Vienna Opera House: Franz Wesler-Most, Tristan und Isolde
A classic venue for opera, the Vienna Opera House's season is full of crowd pulling names, including Placido Domingo conducting Romeo and Juliette. Opt for a crowd pleaser in Viennese tradition with Tristan und Isolde directed by David McVicar; with: Peter Seiffert, Stephen Milling, Nina Stemme, Tomasz Konieczny and Janina Baechle.