Buzz

Royal Opera House spring season springs up for booking
22 Nov 2011
Intermezzo

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Friends booking opens on 30 November (public booking 31 January 7 February) for the next instalment of the Royal Opera House year. And it's the least exciting so far.

Although it seems mere weeks since I saw it last, David McVicar's Rigoletto is rolled out yet again. This time the novelty is in the pit. John Eliot Gardiner conducts; some may remember his opinion-dividing Simon Boccanegra a few years ago. (Me, I quite liked it).  The cast includes Covent Garden's new favourite Vittorio Grigolo,  Dimitri Platanias,  Ekaterina Siurina, Matthew Rose and Christine Rice.  

And there's another outing for Laurent Pelly's  La Fille du régiment, now creaking at the seams under the weight of its own whimsy.  Patrizia Ciofi and  Colin Lee bravely step into the sturdy woollen breeches of Dessay and Florez, and Ann Murray returns in support. The Duchesse de Crackentorp is still "TBC", which could be exciting. But probably not.

Like operatic herpes John Copley's dusty La bohème just won't go away. This time the classy team of Semyon Bychkov, Anja Harteros and Joseph Calleja ought to raise it above a dull retread. It gets a second outing in June - just two dates - with Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna leading the 'B' cast. Whether they can recapture the magic of their meeting 20 years ago remains to be seen.

There is one new opera - it's Judith Weir's Miss Fortune.  Largely panned on its Bregenz Festival debut last year,  it's directed by the imaginative Chen Shi-Zheng with Paul Daniel conducting and Emma Bell in the title role.  I'm trying to keep an open mind while secretly already looking forward to the punsome 2-star reviews.

The best prospect has to be Falstaff, in a new production by Robert Carsen. Ambrogio Maestri is born to the title role and the rest of the casting looks intelligent, if not exactly starry. To add a final whiff of uncertainty, Daniele Gatti conducts.

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