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Opera in the Summer 2007 (Europe)

If you are like us, your summer travel plans involve going places to hear opera. As we did in 2006 and 2005, here is a limited survey of some operas to hear. Operabase has updated its database of opera festivals for 2007, too, which attempts to be comprehensive (and is so, as far as I can tell). There is much more opera to be heard around Europe this summer (Bayreuth, Salzburg, and so on), but I can't list everything. See also our roundup of American opera in the summer.

This is one of the greatest summer opera festivals in the world, and its lineup this year does not disappoint. The chestnuts have good singers and interesting productions, and then there are the unusual items, like the staged version of Bach's St. Matthew Passion. It is the English answer to the operafied St. John Passion at the Châtelet in March (with Emmanuelle Haïm conducting the Concert d’Astrée, a staging design by Robert Wilson and choreography by Lucinda Childs, with Andreas Scholl, among others). The Nikolaus Lehnhoff Tristan and any production of The Turn of the Screw get our attention.

June 17 to August 12
Rossini, La Cenerentola
July 1 to August 26
Bach, St. Matthew Passion
Staged as an opera by Katie Mitchell, conducted by Richard Egarr
With Mark Padmore and Sarah Connolly
August 1 to 22
Wagner, Tristan und Isolde
Conducted by Jiří Bĕlohlávek, directed by Nikolaus Lehnhoff
With Nina Stemme and René Pape
August 11 to 25
Britten, The Turn of the Screw

While not really an opera festival, the Paris Opera always has interesting productions that continue into the summer. The new Christoph Marthaler production of La Traviata is probably going to cause the biggest stir, but the world premiere of Salvatore Sciarrino's new opera is prominent on the Ionarts radar.
May 15 to June 11
Wagner, Lohengrin
Directed by Robert Carsen, conducted by Valery Gergiev
With Ben Heppner and Mireille Delunsch
May 23 to June 10
Salvatore Sciarrino, Da gelo a gelo
World Premiere
June 14 to July 13
Verdi, Un ballo in maschera
Directed by Gilbert Deflo
June 16 to July 12
Verdi, La Traviata
Directed by Christoph Marthaler
With Christine Schäfer, Jonas Kaufmann, and José Van Dam

In the recent and ongoing upheaval of management change at almost all of the Parisian opera theaters, the Châtelet is about to finish its first season under Jean-Luc Choplin. The former Disney executive announced plans to lighten up the Châtelet's programming by guiding it back to its founding principle, to be the "théâtre musical de Paris," that is, as a house for operetta. Some of the most radical parts of the first season fall to the summer months, including Marc Minkowski's Carmen, which concluded this weekend, and Le Verfügbar aux enfers, the operetta-revue produced initially in the concentration camp of Ravensbrück, with words by Germaine Tillion, the celebrated member of the French resistance who turns 100 this summer. The season ends as it opened, with Francis Lopez's Le Chanteur de Mexico, which Choplin had originally planned with Roberto Alagna in the title role.
May 10 to 28
Bizet, Carmen
With Sylvie Brunet, Teddy Tahu Rhodes
Les Musiciens du Louvre, conducted by Marc Minkowski
June 2 and 3
Germaine Tillion, Le Verfügbar aux enfers
With Gaële Le Roi
June 19 to 29
Francis Lopez, Le Chanteur de Mexico

Ionarts is going to cover Aix-en-Provence for the first time this summer, thanks to the wanderings of Michael Lodico. The Aix Ring Cycle continues this year, after a notable success with Das Rheingold last summer, with Simon Rattle conducting the Berlin Philharmonic and the provocative staging of Stéphane Braunschweig. The best casting comes on a Figaro with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, behind Nathan Gunn and Kate Royal. Two eminent HIP conductors lead another Mozart opera, The Abduction from the Seraglio, and a 400th anniversary production of Monteverdi's Orfeo.
June 29 to July 8
Wagner, Die Walküre
Berlin Philharmonic, conducted by Simon Rattle
July 1 to 21
Mozart, Le Nozze di Figaro
Mahler Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Daniel Harding
With Nathan Gunn and Kate Royal
July 6 to 20
Mozart, Die Entführung aus dem Serail
Les Musiciens du Louvre, conducted by Marc Minkowski
July 6 to 15
Monteverdi, Orfeo
Concerto Vocale, conducted by René Jacobs
July 1 to 18
Monteverdi, Madrigals
Staged by Arco Renz, conducted by Kenneth Weiss

This is one of the festivals I am planning to cover during my time in Italy this summer, although I arrive too late to hear an all too rare performance of Monteverdi's first opera. I am hoping to bring you a review of the crazy half-Ring cycle by La Fura del Baus, which premiered in Spain earlier this month.
May 31 and June 1
Monteverdi, Dafne
Ensemble Antonio il Verso
Coro Costanzo Porta
June 14 to 29
Wagner, Das Rheingold and Die Walküre
With La Fura del Baus, conducted by Zubin Mehta

64TH SETTIMANA MUSICALE SENESE (Accademia Musicale Chigiana, Siena)
It's the summer of Orfeo, which was premiered 400 years ago in 1607. They may have Concerto Vocale in Aix-en-Provence, but we will also be reviewing the opera as performed by Rinaldo Alessandrini's Concerto Italiano.
July 8 and 9
Fabio Vacchi, La Madre del Mostro
World Premiere
Orchestra della Toscana
July 11
Monteverdi, Orfeo (concert performance)
Concerto Italiano, conducted by Rinaldo Alessandrini

The fabulous Baroque opera theater outside of Stockholm hit hard financial times a couple years ago. They had to scale back their summer schedule to just two operas, a trend that continues this year, and without the regular visit of Christophe Rousset and Les Talens Lyriques (a match made in heaven).
May 26 to August 11
Handel, Serse
July 28 to August 11
Monteverdi, Orfeo

Italy this summer, and hopefully Scandinavia next summer! As always, there will be new Finnish opera at the Savonlinna Festival, in the beautiful lake setting of Olavinlinna Castle. This year, the visiting company is from the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, and they bring two Russian operas.
July 7 to 17
Olli Kortekangas, Daddy's Girl
World Premiere
June 29 to July 11
Donizetti, Lucia di Lammermoor
With Eglise Gutiérrez
July 24 to 28
Modest Musorgsky, Boris Godunov
Bolshoi Theater
July 25 and 27
Leonid Desyatnikov, The Children of Rosenthal (2005)
Bolshoi Theater

There is no themed festival in Lyon this summer like the Kurt Weill festival last year. Still, a production of Rake's Progress, something old, and something new all look good.
May 24 to June 3
Stravinsky, The Rake's Progress
Directed by Robert Lepage
June 8 to 14
Isabelle Aboulker, Jérémy Fisher
New children's opera
June 24 to July 8
Mozart, Le Nozze di Figaro
Conducted by William Christie, directed by Adrian Noble

Amsterdam continues to offer interesting and all-contemporary operatic fare this summer, after the world premiere of Michel van der Aa's new opera last year. Jonathan Harvey's new opera imagines Richard Wagner in a Buddhist afterlife.
May 18 to June 9
Franz Schreker, Die Gezeichneten
June 6 to 13
Jonathan Harvey, Wagner Dream
June 10 to July 13
John Adams, Doctor Atomic
With Gerald Finley, Jessica Rivera, Eric Owens

I will leave the discussion of the Munich Summer Opera Festival to our man on the ground in Munich, but here are some of the highlights as it looks from here.
June 30
Unsuk Chin, Alice in Wonderland
Libretto by David Henry Hwang
July 2
Wolfgang Rihm, Das Gehege / Strauss, Salome
July 14
Mussorgsky, Khovanshchina


Mark Barry said...

Sir Spam Alot, or not.

Henry Holland said...

I went to the Amsterdam performances of Schreker's great Die Gezeichneten, having seen the production in Stuttgart 5 or 6 years ago.

The conducting and playing (by the Concertgebouw no less, who are the NO's pit band) were out of this world, just totally spectacular. Ingo Meztmacher gets Schrker's idiom completely and conducted the hell out of it. The playing was to die for, just perfect.

The staging is good and the third act orgy well done. Some full frontal (male and female) nudity, some hotties in the chorus, it was well done.

The singing, however, was very, very poor. Gabriel Schade shrieked and wobbled his way through Alviano's part, some woman whose name I can't remember was practically inaudible as Carlotta (and I didn't like what I heard when I could hear her) and the Tamare, the same. How disappointing considering the other elements were so well done.

The Het Muziktheatre is a great place to see an opera. I had seats both in the first row of the first balcony and in the very last row of the place and the sound and visuals are great, maybe 1,500 seats?

The Los Angeles Opera will be doing Geziechneten in the next couple of seasons, I can't wait to hear James Conlon conduct the whole score (he's conducted the amazing prelude before). Just get some good singers, that's all I ask....