Frankfurt will see 7 operas for the first time

Frankfurt will see 7 operas for the first time


norman lebrecht

May 08, 2020

The city has rolled out its next season with one world premiere and six operas that have never been staged there before.

They are:

György Ligeti
Le Grand Macabre (first ever performance in Frankfurt)
Sunday September 13th 2020
Conductor: Sebastian Weigle
Director: Vasily Barkhatov

Jacques Offenbach
Die Banditen (The Bandits; first ever performance in Frankfurt)
Sunday October 18th 2020
Conductor: Karsten Januschke
Director: Katharina Thoma

Umberto Giordano
Fedora (first ever performance in Frankfurt)
Sunday January 17th 2021
Conductor: Carlo Montanaro
Director: Christof Loy
A production from Royal Swedish Opera Stockholm, premiere December 10th 2016

Benjamin Britten
The Burning Fiery Furnace / The Prodigal Son (first ever performance in Frankfurt)
Saturday March 13th 2021(Bockenheimer Depot)
Conductor: Mario Antonio Marra
Director: Manuel Schmitt

Francis Poulenc
Dialogues des Carmélites (first ever performance in Frankfurt)
Sunday June 20th 2021
Conductor: Giedrė Šlekytė
Director: Claus Guth

Lucia Ronchetti
Inferno (World Premiere)
Sunday June 27th 2021 (Bockenheimer)



  • John Borstlap says:

    Incredible that a serious opera house would dig-out Ligeti’s masochistic monstruosity:

    But well, such choices have to underline the profile of being up-to-date, even when the work in question is modern of half a century ago – and without redeeming features that raise it above the purely timely.

    This is the type of music Lucia Ronchetti writes:

    And this is a noisy, parasitic sonic exercise on an idea of Debussy, ‘Le Palais du Silence’:

    Whatever it is, no ‘palace of silence’ there.

    Fortunately the other four composers redeem the season. And they are all dead white males.

    • MezzoLover says:

      No argument here about Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre and its “redeeming features” (or lack thereof). However I would not hesitate to shell out top dollars for a ticket if I had the chance, just to see the new production by Vasily Barkhatov. It should be wicked fun!

    • Pianofortissimo says:

      Inedia prodigiosa: parodies of medieval music, starting with “Sederunt principes” by Perotinus Magnus. I could not bear the follow-up.

      Le Palais du Silence: the video begins with a parody of the Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza, about how not to play a piano (however, the “Gruppo” had more fun).

      Very original…

    • Pianofortissimo says:

      However, “Le Grand Macabre” can be put in scene in many different ways, maybe a corona-version?

    • Jack says:

      LOL – If it doesn’t sound like warmed over Ravel, it’s not music.

  • Grumpy says:

    What’s happening to you old fellows?

    No one is commenting that they should cancel the season and publish what they plan for 2027?

    Nothing about not going out of home until a vaccine is there?

    You are very disappointing.

    • John Borstlap says:

      I wanted to begin again about that, but my PA forbade me.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      Hahaha. We could wait for the vaccine. But it would be a loooong wait. Maybe if we did our grandchild, in their old age, could tell their grandchildren about “the time before Covid-19”. They could play old sepia footage and explain…people used to be allowed out of their house for more than 10 minutes at a time. And there were such things as concerts…but the youngstrs wouldn’t believe them.

  • Pierre says:

    Anytime an opera house stages le Dialogue des Carmélites, I am happy. And then filled to the brim with tears with the final Salve Regina.

    (I’m shocked to learn Frankfurt never played this before!)

    • John Borstlap says:

      It is a costly opera, since the sopranos have to be decapitated and can only be tempted to sing in a production if offered an enormous fee and funeral expenses.

  • Edgar says:

    Lovely Beckmessers here. No need to go to the opera as I can get it for fee on this page 😉

  • fflambeau says:

    I suspect there are lots of good reasons these operas have not been heard before.

  • Peter says:

    I feel sad for the word “ever” which is often not needed. The first ever performance in Frankfurt is simply the first performance in Frankfurt. “Ever” adds nothing in this context.

    • pjl says:

      probably used to clarify never heard in this opera house rathet the fist performance of THIS production in the house

  • Edgar Self says:

    I can’t complain. The last time I heard opera in Frankfurt, Solti was there for “Tristan” with Helena Braun as Isolde. I wish I remembered who sang Tristan. Also I think there was a “Cosi”

    But what I liked best, and was a first for me though not for Frankfurt, was “Der Freischuetz”, sehr Schwarzwaldich with great choruses,fire, Wolf’s Glen, and Hermit, conducted by another..

    I asked Solti about this years after. “I have totally forgotten them, my dear, thanks God!, he said fervently.

    At the time Furtwaengler was indignant that Solti should have conducted his first “Tristan” in Munich only a few years before. “Your first Tristan should be in Aachen, not Munich.”

  • Edgar Self says:

    This was when Frankfurt Opera performed in the Grosses Haus, the former Schauspielhaus, which moved to the Kleines Haus. The old opera house was then rebuilt but burned down again after a rock concert.