Scottish Opera has announced its first season under new Music Director, Francesco Corti.
Five new main-stage productions, a concert presentation of Bellini's I Puritani, the second instalment of Five:15 and a touring production of The Merry Widow make for an optimistic line-up for the beleaguered company in 2008-09.
The first piece of good news is that the company is returning to the Edinburgh Festival after a hiatus in recent years. They will present Smetana's The Two Widows with a cast including Jane Irwin and Kate Valentine.
Corti himself will conduct the performances, which play at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre in August 2008 and will go to the Glasgow Theatre Royal in October. Tobias Hoheisel and Imogen Kogge will co-direct the new production of this charming comedy, which will be sung in English.
The company's relationship with internationally-acclaimed director David McVicar continues with two productions. Firstly, a co-production of La traviata with Welsh National Opera will see McVicar direct a cast led by Carmen Giannattasio as Violetta. French conductor Emmanuel Joel-Hornak will return to the company for the performances, which open in Glasgow on 30 October and continue to Edinburgh, Inverness and Aberdeen throughout November. Then on 29 April 2009, Scottish Opera will stage McVicar's Strasbourg production of Mozart's Cosi fan tutte for the first time. There's a casting coup in having renowned Mozartian Marie McLaughlin as Despina, while the line-up is completed by the likes of Peter Savidge, Joel Prieto and Violet Noorduyn.
During the summer season, Francesco Corti will return to conduct a new production of Massenet's Manon featuring the important young soprano Anne Sophie Duprels. This is perhaps the most sure-fire hit, with the cast including Paul Charles Clarke as Des Grieux. Renaud Doucet will direct the company's first-ever production of the opera, which is amongst Massenet's finest achievements.
The final staged production in the season is an autumn run of Cimarosa's delightful opera buffa, The Secret Marriage. Harry Fehr, who was part of the Royal Opera's Young Artists Programme, will direct the new production, which will star the promising soprano Rebecca Bottone as Carolina and Wendy Dawn Thompson as Fidalma. Garry Walker conducts.
Other activities in the season include a concert performance of Bellini's I Puritani conducted by Corti; a visit to the Grand Opera House, Belfast, with two performances of La traviata funded by Arts Council England; the second instalment of the extremely successful programme of new short operas Five:15; and a production of The Merry Widow that will tour to twenty-six venues across Scotland.
See also our preview of the Royal Opera, Covent Garden's 2008-09 season here.
See also our preview of ENO's 2008-09 season here.
See also our preview of the Opera national de Paris' 2008-09 season here.
See also our preview of the 2008 Edinburgh Festival here.
Plus our preview of the Barbican's Great Performers 2008-09 season here.
And read our preview of the London Philharmonic's 2008-09 season here.
Also see details of Welsh National Opera's 2008-09 season here.