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A Spring Season of Music and Dance
Compiled by CHRISTOPHER D. SHEAMARCH 31, 2015
OPERA AND BALLET
English National Opera
Mike Leigh, the director known for gritty, semi-scripted films like “Secrets & Lies” as well as the recent biopic “Mr. Turner,” will make his operatic debut on May 9 with a new production of “The Pirates of Penzance.” Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera tells the giddy tale of a pirate apprentice whose leap-year birthday has dire consequences for his career. Mr. Leigh follows the director Deborah Warner, who, in April, presents “Between Worlds,” a new work by the rising composer Tansy Davies that draws on the events of Sept. 11 (performed at the Barbican).
Iván Fischer conducting the Budapest Festival Orchestra in 2013. Credit Ian Douglas
“DanteXperience,” a multimedia retelling of Dante’s “Divine Comedy” featuring live performances of music by Liszt and Tchaikovsky, will visit the palace on April 24. Based on a 2002 work by the director Paolo Miccichè, the piece draws its inspiration from Liszt, who had hoped to present the premiere of his 1857 “Dante Symphony” with projections, before costs proved prohibitive. A string of concerts from Hungary’s mightiest symphony orchestras highlight the city’s spring offerings: The pianist Denis Matsuev will play Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto alongside the Hungarian National Philharmonic on April 10, while the mezzo-soprano Elina Garanca will sing extracts from “Carmen” on April 17 with the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra. Budapest’s major international symphony, the Budapest Festival Orchestra, returns from a brief stint in the countryside with two concerts featuring the French pianist David Fray on May 1 and 2.
MELBOURNE and SYDNEY, Australia
A stage set featuring the giant head of Queen Nefertiti rains fire in the director Gale Edwards’s production of Verdi’s “Aida,” performed at the foot of the Sydney Opera House on Sydney Harbor through April 26. In May, the opera company moves to Melbourne, its other home city, with popular productions of “Madama Butterfly” and “Don Giovanni,” as well as a new production of Verdi’s “Don Carlos,” directed by Elijah Moshinsky.
John Cranko’s choreography for Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet,” which the Stuttgart Ballet premiered in 1962, is often hailed as the ballet’s finest rendering. El Teatro’s young Russian music director, Konstantin Chudovsky, leads a production of it from April 11 to 15. From May 8 to 18, the opera presents Dvorak’s “Rusalka,” with the Russian-American soprano Dina Kuznetsova in the title role; Marcelo Lombardero, former director of Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, directs. The Brazilian choreographer Marcia Haydée’s “Swan Lake” rounds out the season, May 27 to 30.
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia
Two renderings of Cervantes’s “Don Quixote” are featured at the Mariinsky this spring. A balletic take, with music by Ludwig Minkus and choreography by Alexander Gorsky, runs through April 1. On April 5, Jules Massenet’s fairy-tale-like opera version will be performed, conducted by the theater’s general director, Valery Gergiev. The company continues its celebration of the 175th anniversary of Tchaikovsky’s birth with performances including “Eugene Onegin” on April 18 and “The Nutcracker” on April 19.
The choreographer Sasha Waltz’s rendering of “Romeo and Juliet,” set to the “symphonie dramatique” by Berlioz, will have its German premiere here in April, conducted by the opera house’s general music director, Donald Runnicles. (Ms. Waltz created the sleek production for the Paris Opera Ballet in 2007, adding her trademark serpentine moves to a piece that Berlioz conceived as an oratorio.) The opera’s spring season also features well-regarded revivals, including the director Kasper Holten’s “Lohengrin,” with visual vocabulary echoing “The Lord of the Rings,” and Berlioz’s “Damnation of Faust,” by the director and choreographer Christian Spuck.
Nicole Chevalier, left, and Theresa Kronthaler in “Così Fan Tutte” at the Berlin Komischer Oper, a production featured in the house’s Mozart May festival. Credit Monika Rittershaus
Nearly 200 performers will appear in the director Barrie Kosky’s epic new production of Schönberg’s exodus opera “Moses und Aron,” staged to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. The opera house’s annual Mozart May festival this year features revivals of Mozart operas, including a modernist “Così Fan Tutte,” “The Magic Flute” (which reimagines the opera as a sort of feverish Art Nouveau dream) and a new concert version of the rarely performed early work “Lucio Silla.”
A production by the Spanish director Emilio Sagi of Verdi’s “La Forza del Destino” brings the action into the 20th century. The opera, which tracks the fate of Don Alvaro, a South American nobleman who unintentionally kills his lover’s father, stars Zoran Todorovich and Iano Tamar as the lovers ripped apart by fate. In May, the house presents a new production of “La Traviata”’ by the director Vincent Boussard, conducted by Yves Abel. Two evergreens round out the spring season: the popular production of Strauss’s comic operetta “Der Rosenkavalier” and the modern ballet “La Chauve-Souris.”
Two opera oddities and a classic will have their premiere here this spring. The young composer Oscar Strasnoy’s “Cases (Slutchai),” based on the writings of Daniil Kharms, a Russian absurdist who starved to death in a Soviet prison, will be performed at the opera’s studio space from May 8 to 21, while Vivaldi’s rarely performed “La Verità in Cimento” opens on May 25. On April 18, a new production of Verdi’s “La Traviata” opens at the opera house, directed by the experimental director David Hermann, whose recent works include an open-air “Oresteia” staged on the roof of the Deutsche Oper’s parking garage in Berlin.
A scene from Terry Gilliam’s production of Berlioz’s “Benvenuto Cellini,” at the Dutch National Opera in May. Credit Dutch National Opera
The actor and director Terry Gilliam, known for his films and his work with Monty Python, kept a public diary as he worked his way through “Benvenuto Cellini,” the “clunky and clanky little story” by Berlioz, which he directed for the English National Opera in 2014. The production, widely hailed as a bustling, if imperfect spectacle when it premiered, comes to the Dutch National Opera in May. It follows the company’s staging of the German director Andrea Breth’s “Macbeth,” for which designers created silicone masks to give the 40 background performers an eerie, unhuman appearance.
The publication of “The Sorrows of Young Werther,” Goethe’s tragic tale of young, thwarted love, led to mild mass hysteria in late 18th-century Germany, prompting men to dress like Werther and at least one woman to kill herself in the name of love, with a copy of the book tucked in her pocket. Jules Massenet’s “Werther,” an operatic adaptation of the tale, is presented here directed by Hugo De Ana. In June, the opera house will present “Quartett,” Luca Francesconi’s radical, modern reimagining of “Les Liaisons Dangereuses,” which pares the action from Choderlos de Laclos’s novel down to a showdown between one viciously competitive couple.
Over two nights in April, the Chinese-born conductor Xian Zhang will lead the orchestra in Tchaikovsky’s Second Symphony, Respighi’s “Roman Festivals,” and “Luan Tan,” a world-premiere work by the composer Qigang Chen. (Ms. Zhang’s career highlights include being the first woman to lead the Staatskapelle Dresden in its own hall.) Other concerts in the Philharmonic’s spring season include two evenings of Mozart and Shostakovich led by the New York Philharmonic conductor Case Scaglione and a performance of Haydn’s ebullient “The Creation,” conducted by the Australian conductor Brett Weymark.
Programming is in full swing at the Philharmonie, Paris’s gleaming new music venue, which opened its doors in January. The resident Orchestre de Paris will dedicate the weekend of April 18-19 to music from Berlin and Vienna, staging concerts including a performance of Weber’s “Invitations à la Valse” and Schumann’s First Symphony with the rising star pianist Bertrand Chamayou. An exhibition dedicated to David Bowie is showing in the Philharmonie’s exhibition space through May 31.
SEOUL, South Korea
The Hungarian conductor Ivan Fischer — who has made headlines for his outspoken opposition to the country’s increasingly right-wing government — will visit the arts center with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra to play each of Beethoven’s nine symphonies on dates in April. The concerts cap a busy season for the arts center, which is also hosting guest performances from an array of orchestras — including the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra and the Korean Symphony Orchestra — as part of its 2015 SAC Orchestra Festival.
A number of prominent conductors are leading the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra at the sleek new hall that it moved into last year. Xian Zhang conducts an American-themed evening on April 11 that includes music from Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess” and Ferde Grofé’s “Grand Canyon Suite.” Other guest conductors include Krzysztof Penderecki and Zubin Mehta, and the German pianist Gerhard Oppitz will play all of Beethoven’s piano sonatas over seven nights.
Simon Rattle, the orchestra’s chief conductor, leads two performances of Hector Berlioz’s “Faust,” on April 10 and 11, accompanied by Charles Castronovo in the title role and the mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato as Marguerite. In mid-April, Riccardo Muti will visit the Philharmonic to conduct several evenings of Schubert, Mozart and Strauss. Later in the month, Andris Nelsons leads the orchestra in Mahler’s Fifth Symphony. In May, the orchestra will meet to choose a successor to Mr. Rattle, who is leaving in 2017 to lead the London Symphony Orchestra.
Munich’s orchestra has a particularly busy April in store, with a series of Brahms and Stravinsky concerts led by Mariss Jansons, its lead conductor. (Mr. Jansons faced a setback to his plans for the orchestra earlier this year when the local government announced that it would not build a new concert hall, a cause for which Mr. Jansons had fought mightily.) On April 24 and 25, Simon Rattle will conduct concert performances of “Das Rheingold,” featuring Tomasz Konieczny as the dwarf Alberich who steals gold from the Rhine. The pianist Lang Lang will perform in two concerts led by the conductor Andris Nelsons on April 30 and May 1.
A scene from Boris Charmatz’s «manger,» one of the works to be featured in May in a coproduction by Sadler’s Wells and Tate Modern in London. Credit Ursula Kaufmann
Tate Modern and Sadler’s Wells will stage a multivenue collaboration in May based on the choreography of Boris Charmatz. Mr. Charmatz, a French choreographer, dancer and political agitator, focuses on bringing dance to venues other than traditional stages. He will be showing new works — like his recent “manger” — at Sadler’s Wells from May 19 to 23, while offering a series of events and performances at Tate Modern. Mr. Charmatz will also perform with Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker in a production of “Partita 2,” their collaboration with the violinist Amandine Beyer, on May 22 and 23.