Welcome to the 2014/2015 season

Intendant Bernd Loebe
Another invitation to enjoy another season. It will be an extremely lively one, one that reflects the vitality of the company, one of the reasons why Oper Frankfurt's broad and varied programming is lapped up by our audiences and the media, regionally, nationally and internationally. These words are being written on a day when a so called referendum is being held to decide whether the Crimea should be »annexed« to Russia or not. The very word makes one shudder. And, straightaway, a link has been established with Die Passagierin/The (female) Passenger by Shostakovitch's pupil and friend Weinberg. We become engulfed by the impossibility of dealing with the past. On a voyage to Brasil in 1959, a former concentration camp prisoner recognises a woman who had bullied and tortured her and other prisoners, sometimes with fatal consequences. There are flashbacks - we are in the camp, then aboard ship again, with music which brings to mind Shostakovitch's bizarre-ities, which conveys the hopelessness of the situation but allows a glimmer of hope to shine through: a recently rediscovered masterpiece, performed for the first time at the Bregenz Festival in 2010, is now being staged in Frankfurt for the first time. We have commissioned two operas: Rolf Riehm's Sirenen/Sirens – a theme that has fascinated the composer for many years – is an opera which walks the path between life and death. Lior Navok, an Israeli composer, was asked to write a new version of West side Story; set in his homeland. A story which, sadly, could happen all over the world in real life, but especially, in his By our River, between Israel and another country, which could be Palestine.
But what about the other productions? Could the fairy tale world of Hänsel und Gretel upset, even haunt us even though we are grown up? Keith Warner will not just show two young people wandering through a fairy tale wood... We can look forward to Brenda Rae expanding her repertoire: with the title role in Bellini's La Sonnambula.
Another rarely performed work is Cesti's carneval opera L'Orontea, which was first performed in 1656. A new edition is being meticulously prepared and published especially for this rediscovery, with Ivor Bolton making his debut in Frankfurt!
So, should I now mention the better known titles this season? no way! Martinů's Julietta is of course a masterpiece but, for whatever reason, still not taken into consideration very often when planning a season! And the cheek of the author, to leave us completely in the dark at the end about where we actually »are«: in the here and now or the surreal. But in this lies the genius of the work. A step towards more popular repertoire with Weber's Euryanthe. One naturally thinks - wonderful music, impossible libretto - but this amazingly close forerunner to »Lohengrin« contains so much beauty that we happily face up to all sorts of dangers in our search for treasure!
When Claus Guth's wonderful production of »Daphne« proved to be such a hit the offer for a new Rosenkavalier was there like a shot from the hip. And because Sebastian Weigle has given us many hours of happiness with Frau ohne Schatten, Daphne, Arabella and Ariadne auf Naxos we have every reason look forward to this new production.
What have I left out? A new Poppea in the Bockenheimer Depot rounds off our Monteverdi cycle; a Czardasfürstin with costumes to put everyone in a good mood on New Year's Eve; Strauss' Ägyptische Helena/The Egyptian Helen, in concert. Our Ensemble is now at such a high level that we only need to call on guests to complete casts in exceptional circumstances: among them this season - countertenors Franco Fagioli and Lawrence Zazzo and Amanda Majeski, our heartbreaking Rusalka last season. The wonderful Terje Stensvold takes his leave from us, forever, singing Barak in a revival of Frau ohne Schatten - something not to be missed! As is Maria Agresta's house debut in Simone Boccanegra. First class singers join the ensemble: two wonderful sopranos - Louise Alder and Sara Jakubiak, the tenor Mario Chang, fresh from the MET's Lindemann Programm (debut as Rodolfo September 2014) and an enchanting mezzo-soprano from Slovakia, Judita Nagyova, discovered by our clever colleagues in Nürnberg. Our fantastic orchestra can look forward to working with proven conductors as well as debuts by Jérémie Rohrer, Patrick Lange and Alexander Soddy. Stefan Soltesz is coming back for the first time in ages.
We are supporting up and coming directors even more strongly that in past seasons. Tina Lanik, house director at the Bavarian Staatsschauspiel in Munich, was voted best up and coming director in 2003 by »Theater heute« magazine, Florentine Klepper directed Arabella with Thielemann at the 2014 Salzburg Easter Festival (and a Telemann opera for us in the Depot), Beate Baron has been a member of Hans Neuenfels' closely knit team for some years, Walter Sutcliffe enjoyed great success in the Depot with Owen Wingrave and the Gespenstersonate/Ghost Sonata, Tobias Heyder, Corinna Tetzel and Ute Engelhardt have worked here for many years with total commitment and deserve an upgrade.
Many conversations in the foyers before performances and during intervals have given us the courage to plan this season. Audiences in Frankfurt have followed our way of thinking: that so called popular repertoire should be questioned, repertoire expanded and, of course, performed as well as possible. Members of the Ensemble in Frankfurt appear as guests at opera houses all over the world and continue to profess their loyalty to »their artistic home« - to Oper Frankfurt. This is not something to be taken for granted in times when the idea of having an Ensemble was written off for dead. We can only do this next season – because of substantial reductions in the financial budget because of decisions taken by the city of Frankfurt – by raising the prices of tickets and subscriptions. It sounds warlike if we speak about increases of 15% - 20% but the new ticket prices still compare more than favourably with those at other opera houses. In the end it is about quality, not squandered money, not disproportionately high fees for directors, conductors or singers, stage designers or costumes. We work here with prudence, everything is regularly controlled. So, in this regard, your money is, as in the past, well invested! Trust us, keep coming to the theatre, discover works you don't know but should know, listen to and see works again which have rightly made up the so called core-repertoire for centuries and will continue to in the future. Follow the careers of the singers in our Ensemble, our chorus (and new Chorus Master Tilman Michael) and first class orchestra. Working with Sebastian Weigle is a joy.

Dear Friends of Oper Frankfurt

Sebastian Weigle, General Music Director
I greet you warmly and would like to draw your attention to some productions during the new season that are familiar, less well known and long awaited.
After the first night of Königskinder some friends asked me: »when are you going to do a new Hänsel und Gretel in Frankfurt?« Although it is number 1 in the charts of the most performed operas in Germany, audiences in Frankfurt have not had the chance of being able to see a performance of this wonderful fairy tale for twelve long years. Their question was not the only reason that Bernd Loebe and I have decided to schedule the work – but it reflects the fervent wish of a lot of people! I look forward to working with Keith Warner, with Frankfurt born Katharina Magiera (Hänsel) and Louise Alder (Gretel), a wonderful new addition to our Ensemble.
»I mean, an audience is never completely wrong«, wrote Hugo von Hofmannsthal, librettist of another long awaited opera. I remember something somebody wrote in our website guest book after the new production of Adriadne auf Naxos opened: »What an unforgettable evening! (…) Only one question hangs in the air: when will Sebastian Weigle and audiences in Frankfurt get a new Der Rosenkavalier?« Now we can give you the answer: on May 24th 2015! I look forward to working again with another wonderful director: Claus Guth. I look back fondly on our production of Daphne.
My third new production is Martinů's Julietta. The fluctuations between reality and the surreal and a story that jumps all over the place will be confusing but the music, a world of sound between Debussy's impressionism and the »new music« of his contemporaries Schönberg and Stravinsky, will seduce you.
There are a revivals to suit everyone during the season including La Bohème, the first revival of the new production of Don Giovanni and Parsifal. I encourage you to come and see as many operas as possible and to spend many pleasurable and thrilling hours in our opera house..
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(The Sicilian Vespers)
Giuseppe Verdi
Wednesday 19.06.2013 19:00 h
Opera House

next new production:

(Oberto, Count of San Bonifacio)
Giuseppe Verdi
Thursday 18.02.2016 19:30 h
Opera House


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