The annual Munich Opera Festival is one of the oldest of its kind, with roots reaching as far back as 1875.
Works by Giuseppe Verdi mark the beginning and end of the Festival: on June 30, the curtain in the National Theatre will rise on the festival gala performance of Aida, a new staging which premieres at the Bavarian State Opera on June 8. Barbara Frittoli stars in the production staged by Christoph Nel and conducted by Daniele Gatti. A performance of Falstaff on July 31 will then conclude the Festival five weeks later. In between, audiences can expect a top-notch program of opera and ballet performances, concerts and song recitals.
The main point of interest will be focused on the festival premiere of Wagner's Lohengrin in the National Theatre on July 5. For the tenth time, Kent Nagano will mount the podium of the Bavarian State Orchestra to conduct a new production. Richard Jones directs an all-star cast headed by Jonas Kaufmann, Anja Harteros and Michaela Schuster.
In addition to Aida, the Festival will also offer an opportunity for audiences to become reacquainted with the other new productions of the 2008/2209 BSO season:
Verdi's dark-hued opera Macbeth (July 21/24); Andreas Kriegenburg's Wozzeck production (July 17), enthusiastically received by press and public; the queen of bel canto, Edita Gruberova in Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia (July 1/6); Janšcek's Jenufa (July 9); and further work of the theatre's Slavic repertoire as well as a ballet world premire of this season: Jiř‹ Kylišn's Zugv‹gel (July 3).
Mozart's Idomeneo (July 23/26/30) and the new production of Strauss' Ariadne on Naxos (July 13/16/20) - which was premiered to rave reviews in the 2008 Festival - will both be revived this year. Rolando Villaz‹n will perform the title role in Jules Massenet's Werther (July 4/7) opposite Vesselina Kasarova as Charlotte.
On the concert front, star soprano Angela Gheorghiu will perform in a gala with the Bavarian State Orchestra on July 27. Diana Damrau (July 5), Waltraud Meier (July 20) and Jonas Kaufmann (July 26) will also present song recitals.
The 2009 Festival's "under construction" program has a number of treats in store: among them a "construction site" in Marstall Square and the festival premiere of Leonard Bernstein's one-acter Trouble in Tahiti (July 7) with Kent Nagano will leading the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in a new version of the piece especially prepared for Munich. Another featured event at "under construction" will be the world premiere of Narcissus and Echo by Californian composer Jay Schwartz. The sounds of a counter tenor, a viola and percussion set will transform the Allerheiligen Hofkirche (All Saint's Court Church) into an echo space to reflect identity, deception and recognition.
For the second successive Year, BMW Munich will be aboard as official partner of the Munich Opera Festival - a relationship, which has its foundation in the long-standing support of "Opera for All." The Festival will offer multiple free open-air events: a June 28 concert by the Bavarian State Orchestra under the direction of Kent Nagano in Marstall Square; and, for the first time in the over 10-year history of "Opera for All," the July 5 performance of Lohengrin will be broadcast live in Max Joseph Square.
For further information and full schedule in English, visit the Munich Opera Festival.