Welsh National Opera announces the 2009-10 season

Terfel makes debut in Wagner's Meistersinger; Keenlyside's first Rigoletto

17 January 2009

Bryn Terfel as WNO's Falstaff

Welsh National Opera has announced details of its 2009-10 season, the first under new Music Director, Lothar Koenigs.

New productions of Wagner's Meistersinger, Verdi's La traviata and Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio and revivals of Rigoletto, Wozzeck and Madama Butterfly are amongst the other highlights of the Welsh company's schedule for next year.

By far the most high-profile production is a new staging of Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg starring Bryn Terfel, who will sing the role of Hans Sachs for the first time. Taking place in late June of next year, the production also features Amanda Roocroft, Christopher Purves and Brindley Sherratt. Richard Jones returns to WNO to direct this new staging, which is conducted by Lothar Koenigs.

Of special interest to Simon Keenlyside fans is a revival of Verdi's Rigoletto in which the British baritone will take on the title role for the first time. Sarah Coburn, Leah-Marian Jones and Gwyn Hughes Jones complete the cast in James Macdonald's production, which is set in 1960s Washington.

The season is launched with a new production of Verdi's La traviata with young Greek soprano Myrto Papatanasiu as Violetta and Alfie Boe as Alfredo. Acclaimed opera director David McVicar makes his WNO debut, restaging his Scottish Opera production for WNO.

The third new production in the season is James Robinson's staging of Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio. Set on the Orient Express of the 1920's, the opera features a cast of impressive international singers, including Lisette Oropesa and Colin Lee. Rinaldo Alessandrini returns to conduct this glorious comedy.

Lothar Koenigs opens the season with his first performances as WNO Music Director, conducting Christopher Purves in his return to WNO to reprise the title role of Berg's Wozzeck in Richard Jones' 2005 production.

Amanda Roocroft also returns to a production with which she's had huge success at WNO in the past, namely Joachim Herz's staging of Madama Butterfly. Russell Thomas plays Pinkerton and former Music Director Carlo Rizzi returns to WNO to conduct.

The season is completed by two revivals of well-loved productions. Tosca returns in February in Michael Blakemore's staging, with Geraint Dodd as Cavaradossi and Robert Hayward as Scarpia. Running in repertory with it is a revival of Patrice Caurier and Moshe Leiser's classic production of Bizet's Carmen with Dublin-born soprano Patricia Bardon, finalist in the first-ever Cardiff Singer of the World competition, in the title role. Welsh tenor Gwyn Hughes Jones sings Don José and David Soar, WNO's Associate Artist, sings Escamillo.

By Dominic McHugh

Other 2009 previews:

Glyndebourne Festival Opera 2009

London Symphony Orchestra 2009-10

Opera Rara 2009

Discuss this article in our Forum.