Not to be missed in February : In February at the Wiener Staatsoper (Vienna State Opera), the main event is Haendel's Ariodante in the new staging by David McVicar. William Christie and his Arts Florissants are at the head of a sumptuous cast (Sarah Connolly, Chen Reiss, Christophe Dumaux ...). The main titles are on display one after the other, a good reason to book tickets for the Vienna Opera. Benjamin Bernheim sings Nemorino in Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore. Jean-Christophe Spinosi conducts Il Barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville) and La Cenerentola by Rossini while Sascha Goetzel takes ownership of The Nozze di Figaro of Mozart with Simon Keenlyside. Eugene Onegin has a very fine cast, Mariusz Kwiecien, Olga Bezsmertna and the touching Rolando Villazón.
This season 2017-2018, the famous Wiener Staatsoper, an institution of the utmost importance in Austria, offers some 227 opera performances, 53 ballet shows as well as numerous concerts and recitals. The repertoire here is always at an exceptional level and music lovers from around the world all meet in Vienna where excellence prevails.
The director Dominique Meyer is loyal to his position and continues to amaze us year after year (Bogdan Roscic, the new appointed director will not take office until 2020). Understandably, every season the new productions that enter the repertoire are much awaited.
Prokofiev's opera The Gambler is a rarity that has its place on one of the major world scenes. With Handel's Ariodante, the Baroque adventure continues. The grand William Christie is conducting. The German repertoire is not neglected with two great masterpieces as Der Freischütz of Weber and Lulu of Berg and the return of a well-known Austrian composer Gottfried von Einem with Dantons Tod.
One of the great events of the season is probably the Samson and Dalila since it gathers a radiant couple, Elina Garanca and Roberto Alagna. In dance, the new performances of the Wiener Staatsballet show the big names of MacMillan, McGregor and Ashton or Edward Clug with Peer Gynt.
One must then carefully scan the very dense program to notice some great representations which stand out more among all the superb productions. The superstars of opera are at home at the Vienna Opera. A role to match the inmense talent of Anna Netrebko awaits her with Adriana Lecouvreur where she forms a perfect couple with the great tenor Piotr Beczala (who also sings Don Jose in Carmen). The sublime soprano at the height of her vocal potential is also on display at Verdi's Il Trovatore. Should we still introduce Jonas Kaufmann and Anja Harteros, his ideal partner? The two great singers are brought together in Andrea Chénier.
In dance, Manuel Legris once more concocted a very beautiful season with notably the classics Giselle and Nutcracker (in the choreography of Nureyev) but also great contemporaries like John Neumeier.
Another event to be noted, a tetralogy by Wagner as also the presence of Sonya Yoncheva, an ideal Marguerite in the Faust by Gounod [16/06/2017 : Wiener Staastoper announced Sonya Yoncheva will be replaced by Anita Hartig as Marguerite], Juan Diego Flórez the magnificent in Rigoletto, Ludovic Tézier as a superb Don Giovanni or that of Placidó Domingo, who leads an exceptional Traviata (Olga Peretyatko).
The younger generation is well represented in Vienna, where Sabine Devieilhe is particularly noted in The Girl of the Regiment, Aida Garifullina in Rigoletto or Ioan Hotea (1st Price Operalia 2015) in Il barbiere di Siviglia.
As for the conductors, the Wiener Staatsoper knows how to create the event by inviting major figures like Daniel Harding who conducts Pelléas et Mélisande by Debussy with a very nice distribution (Christiane Karg, Bernard Richter and Simon Keenlyside). Richard Strauss is particularly well served with Yannick Nézet-Séguin for Salome and Jeffrey Tate (Ariadne auf Naxos). Book your tickets as soon as possible, as you will understand!