Last week, both the Deutsche Oper and the Staatsoper posted their 2012/2013 seasons online. I must admit that I’m a little disappointed. Last month, the Komische Oper announced an exciting and ambitious season, their first under the artistic directorship of incoming intendant Barrie Kosky. The Staatsoper, which is still in exile at the rather drab Schiller Theater, has put together a curiously uninspiring line-up for Barenboim’s 20th anniversary year with the company. Especially on the heels of previous two seasons, where it often seemed to me that the Staatsoper was making an extra-effort to entice audiences westwards to the Schiller Theater with diverse reparatory choices by exciting directors, the announcement of the coming season is a bit of a let down. There are seven new productions, including the second half of Guy Cassier’s (so-far) mixed bag of a Ring Cycle, a co-production with La Scala that continues in October 2012 with Siegfried and concludes in March 2013 with Götterdämmerung. Among the remainders, there are two not-so-new new productions, including Philip Stölzl’s Holländer (originally done for Theater Basel) and Toshio Hosokawa’s Hanjo, a Calixto Bieito production (OY!) that was seen at the Ruhrtriennale). And regietheater stalwart Hans Neuenfels is back with Mozart’s early La Finta Giardiniera. Of the bunch, I’m looking forward most to Katie Mitchell’s return with little-known Swiss composer Frank Martin’s Le Vin Herbé, an oratorio based on the myth of Tristan and Iseut. That said, the most exciting things seem to be happening at the Werkstatt, the company’s second stage, on which more modest productions are mounted. I’m most excited for Viktor Ullmann’s little-seen Der Kaiser von Atlantis and the Kurt Weill rarity Der Jasager / Der Neinsager. The repertory choices leave me cold, but I’m glad to see two of the house’s most striking recent productions, Agrippina and Matsukaze, are returning.
Things are looking a little brighter down Bismarkstrasse at the Deutsche Oper, where Dietmar Schwarz is starting out as intendant. The man from Basel seems determined to make a few changes and this season will see six new productions, up from four this year. The company’s first premiere is Helmut Lachenmann’s The Little Match Girl in a production by David Hermann and conducted by Lothar Zagrosek. This is followed in October with a new Parsifal from Stölzl, who showed an excellent Rienzi here two seasons ago. General music director Donald Runnicles conducts and Klaus Florian Vogt stars. It’s good to see that the DOB is continuing to retire all their musty Götz Friedrich Wagner stagings. (Fingers crossed for tomorrow’s premiere of Lohengrin, also starring Vogt)They can’t yet separate, though, from the 1980s Ring, which will come back for two cycles in 2013/14.
After such an auspicious season opening in the fall, the remainder of the offerings are a teeny bit less inspiring. These include a new Love of Three Oranges from house favorite Robert Carsen and a Rigoletto from Jan Bosse. But for the remainder of the season, I’m most excited for David Alden’s ENO production of Peter Grimes. And Lord knows what to expect from March’s “world premiere” of Der Ring: Next Generation, which is naturally based on Wagner.
I’m also happier with the DOB’s reparatory choices, which are more impressive that the Staatsoper’s. It includes all the major Wagner operas (with the Ring coming in 2013-14), plus Rienzi and the recent productions of Braunfels’ Joan of Arc and Berlioz’s Les Troyens as well as Achim Freyer’s dazzling staged version of Verdi’s Requiem (featured image). Additionally, the DOB is inaugurating a new series of more experimental productions (similar to the Staatsoper’s Wertstatt) called the Tischlerei. My interest is most piqued by Mahlermania, Hoffmann (inspired by Offenbach) and M & the Acid Monks, which is described as “desert pop theater.”
The New York Feuilleton was founded in New York 2005 by A.J. Goldmann. Since 2008, it has been based out of Berlin. Our mission is to offer a cross-section of cultural criticism and arts-related news, with an emphasis on film and classical music in Europe. To contact the editor, please email: email@example.com