The Bayerische Staatsoper’s 2017-18 season is brought together under the title “Zeig mir deine Wunde” (Show me your wound), with new productions of operas dealing, to varying degrees, with wounds and pain – physical, psychological or both.

Bayerische Staatsoper Nationaltheater © Felix Loechner
Bayerische Staatsoper Nationaltheater
© Felix Loechner

No opera sums that up better than Parsifal, which opens the Münchner Opernfestpiele, the house’s month-long summer festival, on 28 June. Pierre Audi directs, but most will be drawn by the prospect of Kirill Petrenko conducting the sort of super-stellar cast that only Munich seems to be able to assemble these days. Local boys Jonas Kaufmann and Christian Gerhaher lead the charge as Parsifal and Amfortas; they are joined by René Pape (Gurnemanz), Nina Stemme (Kundry) and Wolfgang Koch (Klingsor).

Gerhaher features earlier in the season as the Count in Christof Loy’s new Le nozze di Figaro (opening on 26 October), in a cast that also includes Alex Esposito as Figaro, Anett Fritsch as Cherubino and Federica Lombardi as the Countess. Constantinos Carydis conducts.

In terms of staging, the most interesting prospect might well be that of Frank Castorf, on the back of his well-received Faust in Stuttgart, turning his hand to Janaček’s From the House of the Dead (21 May), with Simone Young conducting a strong ensemble cast.

The remaining new productions are entrusted to a newer generation of directors. The Berlin-born film director Axel Rainisch will stage Haydn’s Orlando Paladino at the Prinzregententheater, Munich’s intimate answer to Bayreuth’s Festpielhaus. The production opens towards the end of the Festival, on 23 July, and will be conducted by Ivor Bolton.

Auditorium © Wilfried Hösl
© Wilfried Hösl

Antú Romero Nunes tackles Verdi’s Les Vêpres Siciliennes (11 March) with a leading quartet consisting of Carmen Giannattasio (Hélène), Bryan Hymel (Henri), George Petean (Guy de Montfort) and Erwin Schrott (Procida). Omer Meir Wellber conducts what will be an intriguing prospect for Verdians, although the lack of a choreographer credit leaves open the question as to whether or not this grand opéra’s ballet music will be included.

Dutch director Lotte de Beer presides over a staging of Il trittico with casts led by Eva-Maria Westbroek and Yonghoon Lee as Giorgetta and Luigi, Ermonela Jaho and Michaela Schuster as Suor Angelica and the Zia Principessa, and Ambrogio Maestri and Rosa Feola as Gianni Schicchi and Lauretta. Many will also be drawn by the prospect of hearing Petrenko turn his hand to Puccini’s masterly tri-partite score.

Munich’s special combination of a broad repertory system and a generous casting budget always makes for rich picking among revivals. And the 2017-18 season is no exception, with over 30 further other operas on the well-filled Spielplan. Wagnerians will immediately want to pencil in one of the three Ring cycles (in Andreas Kriegenburg’s 2012-13 staging) with Petrenko at the helm. Two of them are in January, one during the Festival, when Kaufmann will step in as Siegmund to sprinkle some extra stardust on an already stellar cast.

Anja Harteros and Jonas Kaufmann in <i>Andrea Chenier</i> © Wilfried Hösl | Bayerische Staatsoper
Anja Harteros and Jonas Kaufmann in Andrea Chenier
© Wilfried Hösl | Bayerische Staatsoper

All of 2016-17’s new production are revived, in case you missed them first time around, with the Traumpaar casting of Kaufmann and Anja Harteros preserved for the return of Philip Stölzl’s Andrea Chénier on 29 November. And Harteros fans will also get to see her Ballo Amelia in February and March (in one of the house’s five Verdi revivals). She sings Tosca, opposite Joseph Calleja, in November; Anna Netrebko dons Floria’s frocks to sing opposite the Maltese tenor when the opera returns for a couple of performances in July.

Munich gets another chance to hear Harteros’ Arabella in the Festival, and Strauss, in his local house, is further represented by Ariadne auf Naxos (April), Otto Schenk’s venerable Rosenkavalier (March), and a return of Barrie Kosky’s hit staging of Die Schweigsame Frau (November).

Bel canto is richly catered for, too. From Rossini we get Il barbiere di Siviglia (January), La Cenerentola (March) and Il turco in Italia (October), as well as the return of last season’s new Semiramide during the Festival (now with Albina Shagimuratova as the vengeful queen). The return of 2016-17’s staging of Donizetti’s La Favorite in late February is complemented by revivals of L’elisir d’amore (February); Lucia di Lammermoor (December and May), double cast with singers including Diana Damrau, Juan Diego Flórez, Piotr Beczała, Ludovic Tézier and Mariusz Kwiecien; and Lucrezia Borgia (April), with Edita Gruberova and Flórez.

Among the other revivals, it will be interesting to see how David Alden’s big-house staging of La Calisto holds up when it returns to the Nationaltheater on 31 March. The prospect of Christiane Karg heading a fine cast as mischievous nymph, however, will be will be difficult to resist.

The Bayerisches Staatsballett struggles for a share of the limelight against its dominant operatic stable mate, but nevertheless presents its own interesting selection of new productions and revivals for the season. The latter includes a mixture of classics (La Fille mal gardée, Don Quixote, Spartacus, Raymonda and La Bayadère), a ‘CrankoFest’ featuring the great British choreographer’s Onegin, Romeo and Juliet, and The Taming of the Shrew, and a return of Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice in Wonderland.

British choreography is further represented in the new productions. Portrait Wayne McGregor is unveiled on 14 April and features his Borderlands and Kairos as well as a brand new work. The other premières are Christian Spuck’s 2014 Anna Karenina (19 November) and a showcase for young chorographers at the Prinzregententheater, opening as part of the Ballet’s contributions to the summer festivities on 4 July.  

Click here for full Staatsoper listings.

Click here for full Staatsballett listings.


Article sponsored by Bayerische Staatsoper