Prague 2015/16 opera season offers nine premieres

New season promises to be more upbeat than its rather serious predecessor

The National Theatre Opera and the State Opera are preparing nine premieres for the 2015/16 season. Compared with the now ending season, which accentuates operatic dramas, the upcoming one offers a little more joy and vigor.

New titles include classics like Puccini’s Madama Butterfly and Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, as well as works that have long been absent from local stages like Giordano’s Andrea Chénier and Rossini´s La Cenerentola. The latter will be the sole new title at the Estates Theatre.

“In the coming season we will offer a total of 45 opera productions on four stages, thus continuing the broad dramaturgy, attractive directing concepts and highly valuable musical quality. Each of the selected works carries a powerful message in its topic and ability to reach today’s audience,” said Silvia Hroncová, the director of the National Theatre Opera and The State Opera.

“Creative teams of the upcoming productions were chosen with the delicate balance among our prospective domestic artists and personalities of the European theatre and opera. If in the last year we have seen a very positive response to Salome in the distinctive direction by Mariusz Treliński, we want to continue with this ambition with Keith Warner and his Elektra,” she added.

If you haven’t been to the State Opera recently, you should take advantage of this season. In July 2016, the venue is scheduled to begin a renovation and its productions will be moved to other venues.

The State Opera opens its new season with a title that was heard on that stage 110 years ago — Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma with Marie Fajtová in the title role. The stage director is a young Japanese artist Tomo Sugao. Scenography is by Boris Kudlička, who last autumn worked on Salome at the State Opera. It will be musically prepared by conductor Enrico Dovico. Premieres are planned for Oct. 2 and 4, 2015.

The first opera by Stravinsky, The Nightingale, and the last opera by Tchaikovsky, Iolanta, will be performed together.

These fairy tales will be retold at the National Theatre by a representative of the rising generation of opera directors, Dominik Beneš, along with the renowned conductor and current musical director of the Moscow New Opera, Jan Latham-Koenig. These two works will premiere Oct. 22 and 23, 2015.

The New Stage will host the oratorio Lost Objects by David Lang, Michael Gordon and Julia Wolfe of the New York group Bang on a Can. The work will be musically staged by Petr Kofroň with the orchestra of the National Theatre, and Michael Bielicky and Kamila B. Richter will take care of the visual component. The premiere will take place Dec. 17, 2015.

The only opera premiere at the Estates Theatre will be Rossini´s La Cenerentola, directed by the master of top bel canto works Enikő Eszenyi. Musical direction will be entrusted to conductor Jan Kučera and the title role will be performed by Ukrainian mezzo-soprano Lena Belkina.

Mezzo-soprano Dorothea Spilger, prize-winner of the National Theatre at last year’s Antonin Dvorak Singing Competition in Karlovy Vary, accepted the role of Tisbe. Opening nights are Jan. 21 and 22, 2016. La Cenerentola was presented at the National Theatre in only one production in 1932.

A new production by opera director Jiří Heřman at the State Opera will be Puccini’s tragedy Madama Butterfly. The work will be musically prepared by the State Opera music director Martin Leginus, with Maria Kobielska and Christina Vasileva starring as Cio-Cio San. The premieres are Feb. 4 and 9, 2016.

The work of Bohuslav Martinů will materialize at the National Theatre with the opera Juliette (The Key to Dreams), directed by Zuzana Gilhuus. The conductor will be Jaroslav Kyzlink. It premieres March 24 and 25, 2016.

Italian conductor Marco Guidarini is returning to the State Opera to musically prepare the production of Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette. Stage direction is by Sláva Daubnerová. Kateřina Kněžíková and Jana Šrejma Kačírková accepted the roles of Juliette, Roméo will be sung by Aleš Briscein and Martin Šrejma. Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette is premiering April 21 and 23, 2016.

Current artistic drama director of the National Theatre Michal Dočekal will finally debut as an opera director when he, together with the artistic director of the National Theatre Opera and the State Opera Petr Kofroň, will prepare Giordano’s Andrea Chénier. The love triangle set against the French Revolution debuted at the National Theatre in 1897, only a year after its world premiere at La Scala. The title role is performed by the tenors Rafael Alvarez and Mexican singer Hector Sandoval. The visual design will be created in participation with one of the most prominent personalities of Czech theater, Martin Chocholoušek. Premieres at the National Theatre are scheduled for May 5 and 6, 2016.

The State Opera’s farewell to the 2015/16 season will be June 10 and 12, 2016, when this stage will offer the extraordinary work Elektra by composer Richard Strauss. The National Theatre invited British director Keith Warner to direct. Thanks to Elektra a renowned German conductor Roland Böer will enjoy his Prague debut.

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