Breaking: Covent Garden has 13 new operas

Breaking: Covent Garden has 13 new operas


norman lebrecht

May 14, 2019

The season launch was later than ever, but it’s been worth waiting for. Highlights are Asmik Grigorian as Jenufa, Joyce DiDonato as Agrippina, Bryn Terfel as Don Pasquale.


Don Giovanni

Conductor: Hartmut Haenchen
Director: Kasper Holten

Don Giovanni: Erwin Schrott
Leporello: Roberto Tagliavini
Donna Anna: Malin Byström
Donna Elvira: Christine Rice
Zerlina: Louise Alder


Conductor: Edward Gardner
Director: Benoît Jacquot
Werther: Juan Diego Flórez
Charlotte: Isabel Leonard


Conductor: Maxim Emelyanychev
Director: Barrie Kosky
Agrippina: Joyce DiDonato
Nerone: Franco Fagioli
Poppea: Lucy Crowe
Ottone: Iestyn Davies


The Intelligence Park
Co-production with Music Theatre Wales; in association with London Sinfonietta

Music: Gerald Barry
Libretto: Vincent Deane

Conductor: Jessica Cottis
Director and designer: Nigel Lowery

Don Pasquale

Conductor: Evelino Pidò
Director: Damiano Michieletto
Don Pasquale: Bryn Terfel
Norina: Olga Peretyatko

Zauberland (Magic Land)

An encounter with Schumann’s Dichterliebe

New to The Royal Opera

Music: Robert Schumann and Bernard Foccroulle
Text: Heinrich Heine and Martin Crimp

Director: Katie Mitchell
Set and costume designer: Chloe Lamford
Julia Bullock (soprano)
Cédric Tiberghien (piano)
Ben Clifford, Natasha Kafka, David Rawlins, Raphael Zeri (actors)

Die Zauberflöte

Conductor: TBC
Director: David McVicar
Tamino: Benjamin Hulett
Pamina: Elsa Dreisig
Papageno: Vito Priante
Queen of the Night: Tuuli Takala, Christina Poulitsi

Death in Venice

New production, The Royal Opera
Co-production with Volksoper Wien

Conductor: Sir Mark Elder,

Marc Padmore, Gerald Finley

Conductor: Antonio Pappano
Director: Christof Loy

Elektra: Nina Stemme
Chrysothemis: Sara Jakubiak
Klytämnestra: Karita Mattila

The Turn of the Screw

Conductor: Finnegan Downie Dear
Director: Natalie Abrahami

She Described it to Death

The Royal Opera
Co-commission between Guildhall School of Music & Drama and The Royal Opera

Composer Matt Rogers’s new opera takes its inspiration from a future hindered by over-population, to which a sci-fi angle brings an intriguing solution, and new problems of its own. This chamber piece follows Rogers’s previous success The Virtues of Things (2015) and comes to the Linbury Theatre as the third Doctoral Composer-in-Residence collaboration between The Royal Opera and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. She Described It to Death, a major new commission, is an intriguing opportunity to get up close to the contemporary – and possibly even the future.



Conductor: Pappano

Jonas Kaufmann

Lise Davidsen


  • Akutagawa says:

    Why can’t they present this information via a convenient link to a pdf of the brochure like sensible opera houses?

    • Bill Worley says:

      Another example of the Royal Opera House not being sensible

    • Carlos says:

      Really, their website is by far the worst of all among the most important opera houses. Almost amateur.

    • Artea says:

      Outsourcing must the reason. Last season the single ROH brochure was outsourced to consultants for the first time and as a result was appalling. Maybe it’s the same again now.

  • Esther Cavett says:

    Isn’t this 13 new productions – not 13 new operas ?

  • Karl says:

    I did a double take. I thought there would be 13 newly composed operas….

    I wish opera companies would find other Massenet operas besides Werther. He wrote some marvelous grand operas. His early grand opera Le roi de Lahore was performed nearly 60 times in its first two seasons. Massenet considered Esclarmonde to be his finest achievement.

  • ThrownOutOfTheKremlinForSinging says:

    Why don’t you list who is singing the Commendatore and who is singing Sarastro? Got something against basses? Basses have better bottoms, you know.

  • Me! says:

    Several production and cast = Met opera nyc. Btw Met ring cycle was fully sold out in almost 4000 seat house – why not report on that since their occupancy rate of such interest to you

  • William Spode says:

    Kaspar Holten? How many last chances will they give him?

  • Jeremy Atkin says:

    With all this new stuff surely they could have slipped in that unstaged opera by the sulky ‘Megaphone Man’ in Oz :

  • William Spode says:


    Conductor: Maxim Emelyanychev
    Director: Barrie Kosky
    Agrippina: Joyce DiDonato
    Nerone: Franco Fagioli
    Poppea: Lucy Crowe
    Ottone: Iestyn Davies

    So it’s a clone of the ENO production of ten years ago,. then? Fagioli is star casting for a secondary role. The ENO production had Lucy Crowe… ooops, there she is again! Emelyanychev is the real deal. Kosky isn’t – but he will just sprinkle a glitzy budget over things as usual, and leave the actual work to the staff producers. John Berry’s best ideas still being shamelessly plundered.

    • Richard Cumming-Bruce says:

      Joyce’s Handel is one of the great glories of opera in the current era, and justify the initiative by itself. Her Ariodante and Alcina were almost miraculous forces of nature. For me, it will be the highlight of the season.

  • Tom says:

    They don’t publish a brochure for the whole season… Only for each part of the season.

    • LEWES BIRD says:

      ROH brochure, LOL. Tom, even that trimestrial brochure you evoke appears to have been stopped ever since ROH inaugurated its new Café Cloakroom a few months ago. There don’t seem to be any brochures any longer. There is a little concertina-type credit card-size thingy. That’s it.

    • Akutagawa says:

      Not true. They also publish a smaller format brochure for the whole season, which I received every year when I was still a friend. There is no reason why they couldn’t have made a pdf of that and linked to it. Honestly, the only reason to go to the ROH site on the day that the new season is released is to find out what’s on when for planning purposes, and that was totally impossible without multiple click through as for individual productions. Truly pathetic.

  • Robin Worth says:

    I don’t know about 13 new operas, but have you seen that there are 18 performances of Boheme? And a third run of the Mitchell Lucia, where seats were being discounted at the first revival.

  • Esther Cavett says:

    These problems are exactly what I’ve found.
    We should all of us complain ! Who is the best person to write to – somebody who might actually take notice of feedback? Anybody know..

    • tristan says:

      not sure but ROH definitely needs a change! Pappano did a fabulous job but should move on, so should the artistic direction as the casting re Giovanni, Werther, Tristan, Butterfly etc is very poor.
      A rather boring season

  • Marc says:

    Juan Diego as Werther! LOL!!!

    • Nik says:

      What’s so funny? His voice is changing, and this is exactly the sort of thing he is focusing on now.

  • William Spode says:

    “One female conductor ‘not acceptable ratio’ (ROH)

    – Guardian