The Rome Opera season has been announced with nine programmes to be staged during 2022-2023.
Dialogues des Carmélites according to Emma Dante live on Rai5 and Radio3
On Sunday 27 November 2022, the curtain rises on a new production of Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmélites, which has not been at Teatro Costanzi (Rome Opera's theatre) since 1991. Michele Mariotti will conduct with Emma Dante directing the co-production with La Fenice in Venice. Corinne Winters is Blanche de la Force, returning after recent successes in Rome in Madama Butterfly and Kát'a Kabanová; Anna Caterina Antonacci (who with Mariotti and Dante was the protagonist of Poulenc's Voix Humaine in Bologna) will play Madame de Croissy; other members of the cast are Ewa Vesin (Madame Lidoine), Ekaterina Gubanova (Mère Marie de l'Incarnation) and Jean-François Lapointe (Marquis de la Force). The opening night will be broadcast by Rai Cultura live on Rai5 as well as on Radio3 Rai.
Belcanto stars for L'elisir d'amore
After the Christmas holidays, from 11 to 15 January 2023, there will be a revival of Gaetano Donizetti's L'Elisir d'amore with John Osborn and Aleksandra Kurzak in the roles of Nemorino and Adina. The production is by Ruggero Cappuccio, which was successfully staged in 2011 and revived in 2014. Conductor Francesco Lanzillotta will be making his debut at the Rome Opera.
A new Aida by Davide Livermore
Michele Mariotti returns from 31 January to 12 February 2023 for a new production of Aida, a work he conducted last year at the Paris Opéra. The production is by Davide Livermore, with Giò Forma's sets, Gianluca Falaschi's costumes, Antonio Castro's lighting and D-Wok's video projections. The cast has Krassimira Stoyanova as Aida, Fabio Sartori as Radamès, Ekaterina Semenchuk as Amneris, Vladimir Stoyanov as Amonasro and Riccardo Zanellato as Ramfis.
Homage to Zeffirelli with Pagliacci
On the centenary of Franco Zeffirelli's birth, the Rome Opera remembers the great maestro with one of his best-loved productions, Pagliacci by Ruggero Leoncavallo. It was first staged in 1992 and has been revived regularly ever since. The roles of Nedda and Canio are played by Nino Machaidze and Brian Jagde. The seven performances, from 12 to 19 March 2023, will be conducted by Daniel Oren.
Robert Wilson and Arvo Pärt for Adam's Passion
On Friday 31 March and Saturday 1 April at the Nuvola di Fuksas (the architecturally exciting new conference centre in Rome) will see Adam's Passion, the performance conceived in 2015 by Robert Wilson in collaboration with Estonian composer Arvo Pärt and presented for the first time in Italy. The work is based on Wagner's idea of a “total work of art” and fuses together music, under the baton of Tõnu Kaljuste, dance, with Lucinda Childs in her debut at the Rome Opera, lighting, curated by A.J. Weissbard, and singing. All this to recount, in the evocative language of Wilson and Pärt, the life of Adam after his expulsion from Eden.
Music Director Michele Mariotti's third production of the season is part of a three-year project realised in collaboration with the Puccini Festival at Torre del Lago on the centenary of the composer's death. His Triptych will be broken down and recomposed into three diptychs, proposed one per year for three seasons, thanks to the pairing of each title with another 20th-century masterpiece. “Only after composing Il tabarro,” says Mariotti, “did Puccini decide to accompany the one-act drama with Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi. The idea of the Trittico therefore didn't come immediately. Our idea was to break it down, pairing each title with another 20th-century one-act work, which would enhance its most salient musical and dramaturgical features. A way to look at Puccini's triple masterpiece from a different point of view. In the 2022-2023 season we will stage Il tabarro and Béla Bartók's Bluebeard's Castle, contemporary because both were first staged in 1918, and also both have stories of violence towards the woman and incommunicability within a couple, something we are reminded of too often in the news.
“In the following season will Suor Angelica together with Il prigioniero (The Prisoner) by Luigi Dallapiccola: two more works united by violence expressed through religious fanaticism. Then in the 2023-2024 season, the project will conclude with Gianni Schicchi and L'heure espagnole by Maurice Ravel: two extraordinary comic operas with a cynical and somewhat bitter look at the misfortunes of life.”
The first stage of this “Trittico ricomposto” will be on stage from 6 to 18 April 2023, in a new production by the German director Johannes Erath, who has already worked with Mariotti at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich for Verdi's I masnadieri, and who is making his debut in Italy in an opera. The protagonists of Tabarro are Luca Salsi, Gregory Kunde and Maria Agresta, while those of Bartók's masterpiece are Ekaterina Semenchuk and Mikhail Petrenko. The performance will be filmed by Rai Cultura and broadcast by Rai5.
Janáček project with From the House of the Dead
May sees the continuation of another three-year project on the works of Czech composer Leoš Janáček. The first was staged in the 2021-2022 season with Kát'a Kabanová, then in the 2022-2023 season comes From the House of the Dead, and the project will conclude in 2023-2024 with Jenůfa. All three titles are in co-production with the Royal Opera House in London. From the House of the Dead is scheduled for five performances from 23 to 30 May 2023 and is being staged for the first time at the Rome Opera House. Krzysztof Warlikowski, a Golden Lion winner at the Biennale Teatro di Venezia, directs and he is making his opera debut in Italy. The young Russian conductor Dmitry Matvienko will be on the podium, a new talent who recently won the Malko Competition in Copenhagen.
Eleonora Buratto makes her European debut as Madama Butterfly
From 16 to 24 June 2023, Puccini's Madama Butterfly returns to the stage in Àlex Ollé's highly acclaimed staging in this collaboration with the Sydney Opera, created for the summer season at the Caracalla Baths in Rome and re-adapted for the Teatro Costanzi. The protagonist is Eleonora Buratto, who as Cio Cio-San recently achieved praise at the Metropolitan in New York, and who sings Butterfly for the first time in Europe. Alongside her is Dmytro Popov as Pinkerton, Anna Maria Chiuri as Suzuki and Roberto Frontali as Sharpless. On the podium is Roberto Abbado, who is conducting the work for the first time.
Giulio Cesare in Egitto in a production by Michieletto
The opera season concludes in October 2023, from 13 to 21, with five performances of Giulio Cesare in Egitto by Georg Friedrich Händel. The production, directed by Damiano Michieletto, is co-produced with the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, Oper Leipzig and Opéra national de Montpellier and is being staged in Italy for the first time. The conductor is Baroque specialist Gianluca Capuano. It stars three of today's most successful countertenors: Raffaele Pe in the title role, Carlo Vistoli as Ptolemy and Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen as Sextus. The part of Cleopatra will be sung by Danielle de Niese. The performance will be filmed by Rai Cultura and broadcast on Rai5.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.