So that’s how you play Consequences on Photoshop. This random jumble of ill-assorted imagery is the ROH’s regrettably accurate depiction of their ragbag spring season, which opens for booking on 5 December (Friends) and 15 January (public).
First up is a double-cast rerun of David McVicar’s Die Zauberflöte, in which the main novelty will be a Woman in the pit, Julia Jones. Ekaterina Siurina and Charles Castronovo are the young couple in the April cast, and Christopher Maltman returns as Papageno. In the May cast, Sophie Bevan and Andrew Staples are joined by Simon Keenlyside. They may all fade beside the thrilling Albina Shagimuratova (listen below), making her ROH debut as Queen of the Night.
Hottest show of the season is Nicholas Hytner’s returning Don Carlo, with Pappano conducting. Put the two ticket max down to the Jonas Kaufmann effect. Fabulous Ferruccio Furlanetto is back as King Philip, and Mariusz Kwiecien makes a surprising role debut as Posa (we shall see). Anja Harteros may or may not turn up.
We are warned that John Fulljames’ hastily put together new production of La donna del lago (replacing the previously-contracted and legendarily dreadful Paris version) is low on budget. But it scores high on stars. Joyce DiDonato is the donna, and it might be the first time Colin Lee has appeared on the same stage as some guy the ROH call ‘Juan Flórez’.
Finally, in June there’s a new Richard Jones production of Britten’s Gloriana, which is performed only rarely for a reason. Anyone who didn’t get their fill of Susan Bullock in the Ring cycle will be thrilled, but I’m finding it hard to work up much enthusiasm myself.
As usual, there are several educational evenings as well. The highlights are inevitably shown on the website eventually, so it’s hard to recommend forking out for the live events. However one that stands out is the 1 May presentation on the forthcoming King Roger. The show itself isn’t for a couple of years, and it’s unusual (possibly unprecedented) for the secretive ROH to allow the public a glimpse of the creative process so early on. ‘Kasper’ (surname apparently dropped Rihanna-style) presents. A good opportunity perhaps to ask exactly what the ROH is doing about establishing the artistic identity it so desperately lacks at present.
By the way, a boring warning. Some changes the ROH made last week have caused a few users (including me) to receive DNS error messages when trying to access the website. I have no idea why it’s taking them so long to resolve what is a relatively simple problem, but until they do, you should be able to get in on http://126.96.36.199 instead. This will raise a ‘security certificate error’ message, which you can ignore. If you’re not comfortable doing this, then try a different internet connection (via a different ISP), as the problem is ISP-specific.
Royal Opera House Spring Season 2013 revs up – Intermezzo.