In contrast to many other opera houses, the Ópera de Tenerife didn't cease activity during this past difficult year. For 2021-22 it continues along the same lines: few titles, but making up a well-delineated season, with the added challenge that most of them are in-house productions. There are contemporary works receiving their Spanish premieres, classics of the operatic repertoire and a family-oriented introduction to the operatic world.

Verdi's Attila, coproduction of the Teatro Regio di Parma and the Auditorio de Tenerife
© Auditorio de Tenerife

The season opens with Miquel Ortega's La casa de Bernarda Alba, which premiered in Brasov in Romania in 2007. Librettist Julio Ramos maintains great fidelity to the original text of Lorca's masterpiece: a very solid libretto with strongly delineated characters adds to Ortega's well-constructed score and intense music. The work has been performed on numerous occasions in different productions and has always received highly favourable reviews, such as Bachtrack's Juanjo Freijo's review of the premiere of the chamber orchestra version in Madrid's Teatro de la Zarzuela in 2018. Ortega himself conducts the Sinfónica de Tenerife; the cast is led by Nancy Fabiola Herrera (who also played Bernarda in that Madrid production) and Luis Cansino as Poncia; Carmen Acosta is Adela. The new production is directed by Silva Paoli, who made an impression last season with a thoughtful staging of Lucrezia Borgia.

Miquel Ortega
© Auditorio de Tenerife

The season's second title, in November, is Verdi's biopic of Attila the Hun. It is an early composition and the composer's best is yet to come, but it's a work full of great moments (by the way, the opera owes much to our next composer, Saverio Mercadante). In this production, Andrea de Rosa's cool, traditional staging is well matched to the story of Attila and Odabella and will make a fine evening's opera. Musical direction is under the baton of Christopher Franklin, an expert in the Italian lyric repertoire; the leading roles will be played by bass-baritone Marko Mimica and soprano María José Siri, who has already tackled the role.

Marko Mimica
© Simon Pauly

The story of the love, deceit and death of Francesca da Rimini has spawned numerous artistic interpretations (not least by Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov), perhaps the most important version of the story being in Dante's Divine Comedy. Saverio Mercadante's opera version was scheduled to open in 1831, but the premiere was cancelled and the score was never published. The work fell into oblivion until 2016, when it was recovered and premiered in Martina Franca under the direction of Fabio Luisi. The title is now beginning to find its place in the repertoire, and Ópera de Tenerife is putting on a concert version. It will undoubtedly be interesting to see a magnificent, new! example of bel canto in which there is no lack of expansive coloratura and solid orchestration. Francesca is sung by Beatriz de Sousa, her lover Paolo by Nozomi Kato; Alessandro Palumbo conducts.

Javier Lanis, a Chilean who lives in the Canary Islands, will conduct a concert version, also a first in Spain, of The Old Maid and the Thief, another of Ópera de Tenerife's contemporary offerings. Both libretto and music were written by Gian Carlo Menotti for the American NBC during the golden age of radio: it was first broadcast in 1939 and Menotti's stage adaptation was premiered in 1941. Both the radio and staged versions were very well received by critics and audiences alike. The story, with a strong ethical component, recreates the society of the time; the characters are simple and the music is delightful. The four protagonists of this one-act opera will be played by singers from the Canary Islands selected for the occasion.

Springtime will bring another Spanish premiere: Florencia en el Amazonas. The opera by Mexican Daniel Catán, with a Spanish libretto by Marcela Fuentes-Berain, was first performed in 1996. The characters are transformed after a journey down the Amazon River in a story that is strongly influenced by the style of Gabriel García Márquez, while the music draws on Puccinian romanticism. Pedro Halffter will bring Catán's colourful orchestration to life, conducting the Sinfónica de Tenerife. Soprano Sandra López will play Florencia Grimaldi, a role she has sung in houses in the United States.

Les contes d'Hoffmann
© Auditorio de Tenerife

The season closes with a very special version of Les contes d'Hoffmann: an Ópera de Tenerife adaptation for children. Stage director Raúl Vázquez transposes the stories to a dreamlike circus world: the mischievous scenes of Offenbach's opera are adapted to family audiences and the music takes on great importance.

Five titles, most of them own productions, which make for a varied and innovative programme.

Click here to read about the whole season at Ópera de Tenerife.
This preview was sponsored by the Auditorio de Tenerife.