Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Full Throttle (Opera North 2015/16 season)

Some "regional" opera companies - and many major ones-  might hold off the gas if their season already included complete Ring cycles - on tour - even if only semi-staged. Opera North have done nothing of the kind. They've announced their season for 2015/16. And it is enormous. Five operas, plus Kiss me Kate - so a full tour; new opera; and the Ring.

Trends
1) more opera in English. My preference is always for the original language, but translation can be good - if it is done well. So any wobbles post-Farnes would be felt keenly here. I suspect Arts Council England are insisting on this on the wrong-footed notion it encourages
2) partnerships with theatre. Into the Woods in partnership WYP, much like many ROH and ENO setups with Barbican etc).
3) opera companies doing musical theatre (I'd guess to make money), Kiss me Kate but also Into the Woods.  I don't have a problem per se, but it doesn't seem an effective use of resources and talent doing something which commercial theatre does so successfully.

Operas and very selected casting

Così-fan-tutte in English - Jac Van Steen conducting.
L'Elisir in Italian - Tobias Ringbord conducting - cast to include Flyr Wyn and Duncan Rock
Barber in English Stuart Stratford conducting.
Jenůfa in English - Aleksandar Marković cat to include Susan Bickley, Elizabeth Sikora and most excitingly Ed Lyon (but not in Nottingham or Salford - probably worth a trip to Leeds in that case). Some will recollect here his excellent Steersman in ROH Dutchman earlier in the year and Sailor in Tristan late last year. Daniel Norman will replace him - whose pedigree is respectable. So it could well be both.

One might wait thirty years for a production of Andrea Chénier, then two come along at once. Not quite. I daresay planned well ahead of the ROH one, but a tough act to follow (review). Will Rafael Rojas come anywhere close to Jonas? It is a tough gig and requires a serious tenor. Fiona Kimm as Coigny/Madelon. In Italian, Oliver von Dohnányi conducting.

New chamber opera Pleasure was already commented on here
At the bottom of the page? Almost as a foonote: Der Ring des Nibelungen.

We might worry about 'in transition' to Post-Farnes world, and the 'in translation' is disappointing. But if we are supposed to be impressed by Holten's programme at the ROH (as has been argued variously and it is pretty enticing have committed far too much money to it already myself), then what on earth to make of this? Full throttle indeed.
I can't wait. But I wouldn't like to follow Farnes.

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