Vienna’s future? Something borrowed, something blue

Vienna’s future? Something borrowed, something blue


norman lebrecht

September 13, 2019

The incoming director of the Vienna State Opera, Bogdan Roščić, has leaked plans for 10 new productions to the tabloid press.

His star attraction will be a Traviata, imported from the Paris Opéra.

He is also promising to re-engage the former music director Franz Welser-Möst, alongside the willy-waving conductor Teodor Currentzis and the regisseur-provocateur Barrie Kosky

The new Vienna has all the hallmarks of a Bogdan record-company production. It’s a bunch of deals that look just like everyone else’s.

In a word: Bog-standard.







  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    There are some positive signs. He is appointing a new music director. It would be great if conductors like the previous music director (whose name I do not know how to type in properly in this computer) and Bertrand de Billy make a come back. Currentzis is never dull, and Barrie Kosky is tame in regie opera standards (one must remember in the German speaking world the musical standards are very high, but productions are appalling. For example, I have never seen a decent production in Dresden, ever).

  • Petros Linardos says:

    What is so different? Imported productions and usual suspects conducting, singing or directing has been business as usual for decades.

  • Mike Schachter says:

    Fancy doing something as unusual as Traviata, shocking!

    • norman lebrecht says:

      And secondhand…

      • Petros LInardos says:

        What’s the big deal about second hand? Back in 1984, the Vienna State Opera imported from La Scala Giorgio Strehler’s Simon Boccanegra, with Abbado conducting. If the Paris Traviata is not a worthwhile production, that’s another matter.

        • Yes Addison says:

          Unless Paris has changed Traviatas since last I looked, it’s the Benoît Jacquot from 2014. If so, it’s…fine. Pretty enough in a sparsely decorated way. It stakes out some armistice zone between traditional and not-traditional, meaning neither side is going to get very fired up either for or against.

          I wouldn’t say it’s comparable to a Strehler classic, though. His Boccanegra was the best production of that work I know. Macbeth too.

        • Yes Addison says:

          Never mind the above. Now I see Paris is, in fact, changing Traviatas, and their new one (by Simon Stone) is the one Vienna will be sharing.

        • Novagerio says:

          Exactly: the glamorous Karajan Years at the State Opera (1957-64) were mostly La Scala productions imported back and forth betweern the houses (!) – That’s when the prestige rose, especially when the operas were done in the original language, and with artists like Callas, Tebaldi, di Stefano, del Monaco etc.

          Of course, one will never experience those standards anymore, and perhaps it’s not even the point.

  • Bogda says:

    I think it’s premature to assess his plans based on this information. Let’s wait at least until he announces the season. We only know that he’s bringing new Traviata from Paris, that Kosky will direct something and that Currentzis will play an opera with his orchestra (something similar Mayer has been doing with baroque operas in Vienna). We also know that he’s bringing Castorf (Castorf recently said he will be staging Gounod in Vienna). Certainly a major shift from current appalling programming in , so let’s see how it all unfolds.
    As for Traviata, current Viennese production clearly needs to be retired, the new one has clearly been planned some time ago when Simon Stone seemed like a very promising director and bringing him to Vienna seemed like an obvious choice.

  • V.Lind says:

    Does “leaked” mean “gave an interview to”?

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    Ah well, that return to Vienna is off the agenda for good. Why do I feel so good about it?