There’s a supercharged new season in store at Dutch National Opera, with no fewer than 12 new lyric productions announced for 2019-2020 (either original or new to Amsterdam) yet only two revivals. And since one of the latter is a final chance to glimpse Pierre Audi’s 22-year-old Die Walküre, the remaining vestige of a Ring cycle that was last seen in full in 2014, even that is a noteworthy event. Marc Albrecht will conduct Eva-Maria Westbroek (Sieglinde), Michael König (Siegmund), Martina Serafin (Brünnhilde) and Iain Paterson (Wotan). The other revival is Robert Carsen’s boldly sexual Carmen of 2009, with Andrés Orozco-Estrada conducting J'Nai Bridges and Dmytro Popov as Bizet’s doomed lovers.

<i>Cavalleria rusticana</i> and <i>Pagliacci</i> © DNO
Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci
© DNO
Pretty much every operatic base is covered in a roster for the coming year that spans the eras from Handel’s Rodelinda to the newly-commissioned Ritratto, an operatic portrait by Willem Jeths of the society grande dame Luisa Casati. From the years between come masterworks by Mozart, Rossini, Verdi and Strauss, not to mention the Verismo kings, Mascagni and Leoncavallo, whose eternal bedfellows Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci open the season in a new pairing from director Robert Carsen. Sir Mark Elder conducts an ensemble led by Brandon Jovanovich, Ailyn Pérez, Anita Rachvelishvili and Brian Jagde.

Rodelinda is a game of thrones in which Bertarido, usurped by Grimoaldo, flees abroad leaving his wife to her fate, and as a dense tale of regal twists and turns it has more vitality and theatricality than most of Handel’s output for the stage. The opera has grown in popularity since the turn of the century and has become a magnet for the very best Handelian talent, so it is no surprise that DNO is fielding one of its strongest casts of the season for Claus Guth’s new production. Lucy Crowe in the title role will be joined by Bejun Mehta as Bertarido, Bernard Richter as Grimoaldo and Lawrence Zazzo, no less, as the loyal Unulfo. Riccardo Minasi conducts.

<i>Die Frau ohne Schatten</i> © DNO
Die Frau ohne Schatten
© DNO
Guth is one director whose every creation is met with high expectations; Ivo van Hove is another. The globetrotting Belgian is something of a superstar these days, although his theatrical base is Amsterdam’s Toneelgroep and it is not unusual for him to stage the odd opera for DNO as well. In the coming season he will collaborate with conductor Markus Stenz on Weill and Brecht’s Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, a work whose celebrated idiosyncracies are bound to elicit some original and unusual ideas. Nikolai Schukoff and Lauren Michelle play Jimmy and Jenny, with Thomas Oliemans as Billy at the head of a robustly imaginative supporting cast.

Yet even that is unlikely to be the season’s biggest talking point. That crown belongs to an intriguing match between director and opera when Katie Mitchell directs the dream-like Die Frau ohne Schatten, her second foray into Richard Strauss following an intermittently satisfying Ariadne auf Naxos in Aix-en-Provence. This time round the pairing seems like a match made in feminist heaven. Lyrically irresistible though it is, Die Frau is often viewed as Strauss’s problem opera: it’s an allegorical fairytale about infertility and it takes an iconoclastic visionary to make it work, so Mitchell should be in her element. Marc Albrecht conducts a cast headed by Irène Theorin and Josef Wagner, with AJ Glueckert as the Emperor, Elza van den Heever the Empress and Michaela Schuster as the scheming Nurse.

<i>La cenerentola</i> © DNO
La cenerentola
© DNO
Ivor Bolton will be in the pit for Jossi Wieler’s staging of Così fan tutte, while Daniele Rustione will forsake his home turf of Lyon Opera in order to conduct Laurent Pelly’s take on Rossini’s La Cenerentola, an opera that should fit the whimsical French director like a glove. Andreas Homoki’s new account of Verdi’s Nabucco will be led by Maurizio Benini and feature Anna Pirozzi as Abigaille.

The melodic glories of Dvořák’s Rusalka will be in the safe hands of the composer’s fellow-Czech Jakub Hrůša when Philipp Stölzl’s new production arrives. He will have the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra at his disposal for a show that features Eleonora Buratto in the title role accompanied by the American tenor Brian Jagde, in his second appearance of the season, as the Prince. A more current work, Thomas Larcher’s new opera The Hunting Gun, arrives in Amsterdam next Spring following performances of the premiere production by Karl Markovics at Bregenz (2018) and Snape Maltings (the 2019 Aldeburgh Festival).

<i>Best of Balanchine</i> © DNO
Best of Balanchine
© DNO
As if all that were not enough, a comparably enterprising ballet programme runs in parallel with this ten-month operatic feast and opens with a gala on 10 September before the unveiling of Best of Balanchine, a triptych of masterworks by the great choreographer that runs at the opera house throughout September then tours the major Dutch cities until late November. Revivals include a Christmas treat in The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, an adaptation by Wayne Eagling and Toer van Schayktake of Tchaikovsky’s evergreen favourite, as well as repertory staples Romeo and Juliet and Giselle, plus world premieres of Frida, an interpretation by choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa of the life story of Frida Kahlo, and a pair of mixed programmes under the banners Four Seasons and Beethoven.


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This preview is sponsored by Dutch National Opera.