We have chosen another good range of works, taking note of suggestions from members. So there is a mix of familiar and lesser-known works, presented in a variety of styles, from the baroque (Rameau's Dardanus, written in 1739) to the early modern and post-modern (Tosca and Pique Dame). Verdi is represented by his tuneful early opera Joan of Arc (Giovanna d'Arco) from 1845, while we end the year with a colourful and delightful Russian fairy tale from Rimsky-Korsakov (The Tale of Tsar Saltan).

March 12 Tosca   Puccini - Zurich 2009 more >>
Tosca

We get our 2019 season off to a rousing start with Robert Carsen’s refreshingly thought-provoking production of Tosca that boasts three outstanding principals: Jonas Kaufmann, Emily Magee and Thomas Hampson. "Part of the reason why it works so well is that the three principals are such good actors, turning in dramatic performances that are full of subtle details", said Hugo Shirley in the Gramophone.

April 9 Mefistofele   Boito - Munich 2015 more >>
Bring-a-Friend Night
Barber

René Pape in the title role was utterly absorbed in the role of Mefistofele", said Norman Schwarze on bachtrack.com. "Pape’s voice has volume to burn, as he projected only a small dose of cynicism – appropriately for the role, which seems tailor-made for him. He whistled, he sang, he made a thoroughly hellish spectacle" while Joseph Calleja (Faust) "was the star of the show. He sang … with lovely strength, just as Boito’s opera requires."

May 14 Pique Dame   Tchaikovsky - Amsterdam 2015 more >>
Pique Dame

Stefan Herheim's Pique Dame (Queen of Spades) is a rather unique interpretation for The Dutch National Opera. It is a much-loved opera about a young man who, for the prospect of earthly wealth, gambles away his chance for love and happiness. Misha Didyk, Vladimir Stoyanov and Svetlana Aksenova lead a superb cast. Mariss Jansons conducts the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra for this spectacular production.

June 4 Giovanna d'Arco (Joan of Arc)  Verdi - La Scala 2017 more >>
Joan of Arc

Giovanna d'Arco premiered at La Scala in 1845 and is from the early period of Verdi's operas. Riccardo Chailly who had conducted the opera in Bologna 28 years earlier has put together a team of excellent singers. Anna Netrebko sings the title role of the warrior saint, tenor Francesco Meli is the King of France and baritone Carlos Álvarez is Giovanna’s father. The Observer described this production as "a first night to remember".

July 9 The Sunken Bell   Respighi - Cagliari 2016 more >>
Sunken Bell

La campana sommersa is Ottorino Respighi's operatic masterpiece. A symbolist drama on a supernatural theme, its music is steeped in beauty, mystery and foreboding. It triumphed in New York in 1928 and was at once repeated at La Scala. This production has been hailed for its brilliance and magnificent performances. The conductor is Donato Renzetti who has assembled a fine cast of singers. It is sung in Italian with English titles.

August 20 Fedora   Giordano - Genoa 2015 more >>
Fedora

Most opera enthusiasts are familiar with Giordano's Andrea Chénier but not his other most significant work based on the Sardou play of the same name. As Fedora, Daniela Dessi, who died at the age of 59 in 2016, just one year after this performance, follows in the footsteps of great sopranos from the past. Fabio Armiliato, her partner in real life, sings the role of Loris and gives excellence in the short celebrated aria 'Amor ti vieta'.

September 10 Lucia di Lammermoor   Donizetti - Covent Garden 2013
Faust

The events of Walter Scott's famous story are outlined in a spectacular split-screen set designed with devastating precision by Vicki Mortimer working with director Katie Mitchell. Daniel Oren conducts a thrilling cast with Diana Damrau, Charles Castronovo and Ludovic Tézier in the main roles. Damrau portrays a strong and independent woman who fiercely fights against her brother's machinations. Have a box of tissues with you!

October 8 Dardanus   Rameau - Bordeaux 2015
Dardanus

This is recorded from the performances of the first version of Dardanus (1739) given at the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux in April 2015, in a production by Michel Fau notable for its delicious candy colours. Raphaël Pichon, the Ensemble Pygmalion and a peerless line-up of soloists received unanimous acclaim from the public and press alike - "an exceptional rebirth" and "a deliriously aesthetic excess", said Bachtrack.

November 5 Tale of Tsar Saltan   Rimsky-Korsakov - St Petersburg 2016
Tsar Saltan

Based on Pushkin's poem of the same name and composed for the author's centenary, this resplendent production by Russia's oldest musical institution is an absolute treat. It is filled with colourful music including the famous 'Flight of the Bumblebee'. Valery Gergiev conducts the Mariinsky Orchestra and Chorus. Seven magnificent singers from the Mariinsky have been selected to bring this Russian fairytale to life.