(Fixes misspelling of "the" in first paragraph)
* Season opens in September with racy "Anna Nicole"
* Opening night seats to be sold to students for 1-25 pounds
* Kaufmann, Stemme, Netrebko take starring roles
By Michael Roddy
LONDON, March 31 The Royal Opera will slash
ticket prices to appeal to students and young people and will
revive the racy modern opera "Anna Nicole" for its season opener
in September in what management said was a bid to knock the
stuffing out of galas.
All tickets in the house, whose 2,200 seats can go for as
much as 200 pounds ($330), will be priced from 1 pound to 25
pounds for the opening night on Sept. 11 and will be sold
through the opera's student standby scheme and in conjunction
with a music venue that works with young people, the ROH said.
"I think it's fantastic to have a season opening gala which
is something that sounds stuffy and elitist to actually be a
night where we celebrate new work ... and is celebrated by
selling the whole house to students and young people," the ROH's
Director of Opera Kasper Holten told Reuters on Monday.
Music Director Antonio Pappano, whose contract the ROH
announced was being extended until at least the end of 2017,
will conduct English composer Mark-Anthony Turnage's opera based
on the life of the Playboy centrefold who married an oil
Dutch soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek will reprise the title
role which she sang wearing a costume that featured prosthetic
breasts for the London premiere in 2011.
Holten said that with the extension of his contract the
English-born Pappano, who has been the music director of
Britain's premiere opera house for 12 seasons, "is soon becoming
one of the longest standing music directors of the Royal Opera
and certainly one of the most important and influential ones".
Among singers featured in the next season are German tenor
Jonas Kaufmann appearing as the poet hero of Giordano's "Andrea
Chenier", Swedish soprano Nina Stemme as Isolde in Wagner's
"Tristan und Isolde" and Russian soprano Anna Netrebko as Mimi
in Puccini's "La Boheme".
The Spanish singer Placido Domingo, a regular at Covent
Garden, will add another Verdi baritone role to his repertoire
as Doge Francesco Foscari in "I due Foscari".
One of the season highlights is the ROH's first production
of the Polish composer Karol Szymanowski's 20th-century
masterpiece "Krol Roger" (King Roger), a press statement said.
Another main house premiere is the ROH's first production of
Kurt Weill's "Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny", first
performed in Germany in 1930 but banned by the Nazis from 1933.
The smaller Linbury Studio Theatre will mount a world
premiere of American composer Philip Glass's "The Trial" based
on the novel by Franz Kafka and will stage a new work, "Glare"
by the German-Danish composer Soren Nils Eichberg.
SEVEN NEW PRODUCTIONS
All told, the main stage will offer seven new productions,
with four directors new to Covent Garden - Italy's Damiano
Michieletto, Katharina Thoma of Germany, Martin Kusej of Austria
and American Thaddeus Strassberger, plus new productions from
Holten and Britain's John Fulljames and David McVicar.
Other returning singers include Welsh bass-baritone Bryn
Terfel, who reprises his role as the Dutchman in Wagner's "Der
fliegende Hollander" while Domingo adds a second Verdi baritone
role as Giorgio Germont in "La Traviata".
British baritone Simon Keenlyside sings Verdi's "Rigoletto"
for the first time at Covent Garden, Italian tenor Vittorio
Grigolo takes on the role of Nemorino in Donizetti's "L'elisir
d'amore" and British baritone Christopher Maltman will sing the
title role of Mozart's "Don Giovanni".
Mexican tenor Rolando Villazon will sing Don Ottavio in "Don
Giovanni", British tenor Toby Spence will sing Tamino from
Mozart's "Die Zauberflöte" and German soprano Dorothea Roschmann
sings her first Royal Opera Don Elvira ("Don Giovanni").
Polish soprano Aleksandra Kurzak sings Gilda in "Rigoletto"
for the first time with the ROH and Canadian soprano Adrianne
Pieczonka sings Senta from "Der fliegende Hollander" for the
first time at Covent Garden.
The Royal Opera, which recently mounted a small production
of the 17th-century Cavalli opera "L'Ormindo" at London's
320-seat Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, said it would produce
Monteverdi's 1607 opera "Orfeo" at London's "The Roundhouse"
music venue as part of its effort to reach new audiences.
($1 = 0.5998 British Pounds)
(Editing by Angus MacSwan)