Those lucky enough to be travelling to Vienna over the coming months may well wish to take in an evening of music as part of their trip. The Vienna Philharmonic is one of the world’s most well-known orchestras, and a concert at the Musikverein may well be on the agenda. The big-hitting musical institutions in Vienna, however, enjoy an interesting symbiosis, in that the Vienna Philharmonic also provides the players for the orchestra at the opera house. This long association, coupled with the concept of ready-repertoire, allows the Staatsoper to present, every season, an astonishingly varied and generous programme that contains – albeit only for a few performances – many major works. This season (running from September 2019 to June 2020) is no exception, and among its 50 productions are all four Ring operas, Don Carlo, La Traviata, Ariadne auf Naxos, Madame Butterfly and Eugene Onegin.
Each season, though, always contains a handful of brand-new productions (and, indeed, brand-new works), and this season’s crop includes a new production of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Irina Brook and conducted by Simone Young opened on 2 October, and there are still a few performances left to run. The countertenor Lawrence Zazzo takes the lead as Oberon with Théo Touvet as Puck and Peter Rose as Bottom.
November and December this year see six performances of the world première of Olga Neuwirth’s Orlando, an adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s sexually ambiguous novel. Kate Lindsey takes the title role, supported by Eric Jurenas, Fiona Shaw, Anna Clementi and Constance Hauman. Polly Graham directs, and Matthias Pintscher conducts.
Beethoven’s Fidelio is often the subject of controversy, and the Staatsoper have decided to add to the mix with a compare-and-contrast proposal. The regularly performed third version of 1814 will feature in the company’s usual repertoire this season (four performances in April and May), but in February they present a new production of Beethoven’s original 1805 version (sometimes referred to as ‘Leonore’), Fidelio Urfassung. Conducted by Tomáš Netopil and directed by Amélie Niermeyer, the production will feature Jennifer Davis as Leonore, Benjamin Bruns as Florestan and Thomas Johannes Mayer as Pizarro.
Mid-to-late May sees a father-and-daughter collaboration for a new production of Mozart’s Così fan tutte. Ricardo Muti conducts and Chiara Muti directs a cast that includes Genia Kümeier, Marianne Crebassa and Alessio Arduini.
The last of the bouquet of new productions, Verdi’s Un ballo in Maschera, is in June. It will be conducted by Michele Mariotti, directed by Josef Ernst Köpplinger and feature Francesco Meli, Ludovic Tézier, Krassimira Stoyanova, Monica Bohinec and Maria Nazarova.
The Staatsoper is also keen on increasing its young audiences through a series of children’s operas every year, and this season includes a new commission: Albin Fries’s Persinette (the original French folk-tale that became Rapunzel). This will feature, as usual, young singers from the opera school along with an adult cast that includes Bryony Dwyer, Jinxu Xiahou, Regine Hangler and Sorin Coliban. Guillermo Garcia Calvo conducts and Matthias von Stegmann directs.
As always, more information on dates and times as well as ticket sales, may be obtained from the Wiener Staatsoper website