Monday, 14 April 2014

New season 2014-2015 at the Opéra National de Paris

Here are the operas to be performed in Palais Garnier and Opéra Bastille during the 2014-2015 season : 

- Giuseppe Verdi : La Traviata
- Gioachino Rossini : Il Barbiere di Siviglia
- Giacomo Puccini : Tosca
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart : Die Entführung aus dem Serail
- Engelbert Humperdinck : Hänsel und Gretel
- Giacomo Puccini : La Bohème
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart : Don Giovanni
- Richard Strauss : Ariadne auf Naxos
- Claude Debussy : Pelléas et Mélisande
- Charles Gounod : Faust
- Jules Massenet : Le Cid
- Antonin Dvorak : Rusalka
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart : Die Zauberflöte
- Ernest Chausson : Le roi Arthus
- Christoph Willibald Gluck : Alceste
- Francesco Cilea : Adriana Lecouvreur 

16 operas by 12 composers in four languages. 
14 of these operas are among the most performed in the world.

In the foreword to the season program book, the general manager Nicolas Joel writes about six new productions : “Six nouvelles productions lyriques”. But, if you decide to check for yourself, you’ll find out there are only 3 (Tosca, Die Entführung aus dem Serail and Le roi Arthus). What a shame !
- Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia : directed by Damiano Michieletto, it has already been staged in Geneva in 2010, Reggio Emilia, Saint-Etienne and Firenze ; 
- Massenet’s Le Cid: directed by Charles Roubaud, it has been staged in Marseille in June 2011 ;
- Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur : directed by David McVicar, it has been staged in London in November 2010, and then in Barcelona and Vienna. 

The only two productions that could be of interest are Le Cid and Le roi Arthus. But Nicolas Joel is really not lucky, considering the Chausson opera has just been performed by the Opéra national du Rhin in Strasbourg and Mulhouse.

Therefore we have 3 real new productions, 3 false new productions, and 10 revivals.

Here are the world premiere performances that took place at Opéra national de Paris since 2007 : 
- Georg Friedrich Haas : Melancholia, June 2008 ; 
- Philippe Boesmans : Yvonne princesse de Bourgogne, January 2009 ; 
- Bruno Mantovani : Akhmatova, March 2011 ;
- Philippe Fénelon : La Cerisaie, January 2012 (it had been performed in concert in Moscow in December 2010). 
Since then, Opéra national de Paris has done nothing to promote living composers, ensuring their defection to foreign countries to have their operas performed (for example, Marc-André Dalbavie’s opera Charlotte Salomon will be performed next Summer in Salzburg).

We have no operas in Russian or English, no contemporary or even modern work (in fact no opera composed in the last 98 years, since Ariadne auf Naxos), no opera that has not been recorded.
At least, the casts will include some of the most famous singers of our time : Dmitri Hvorostovsky in La Traviata, Marcelo Alvarez and Ludovic Tézier in Tosca, Erwin Schrott in Don Giovanni, Franz Grundheber, Sophie Koch and Klaus Florian Vogt in Ariadne auf Naxos, Stéphane Degout in Pelléas et Mélisande, Piotr Beczala in Faust, Anna Caterina Antonacci, Annick Massis and Roberto Alagna in Le Cid, Sophie Koch, Thomas Hampson and Roberto Alagna in Le roi Arthus, Véronique Gens and Stéphane Degout in Alceste, Marcelo Alvarez and Angela Gheorghiu in Adriana Lecouvreur.

Unfortunately, these great casts can barely hide the poverty of this unchallenging season.

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