AT LONG LAST: OPEN
The decision reached last week by the Swiss Federal Council allows for indoor performances with audiences for the first time since December. Their resolution caps the number of attendees to 50. For the duration of the pandemic, the Opernhaus Zürich has staunchly continued its work: all planned new productions have been successfully rehearsed and mounted, and were mostly streamed live and free of charge to audiences. Today, though, we unfortunately must announce that we will not be able to continue with our originally scheduled season. Opera and ballet performances are art forms with high personnel numbers, with some 150-200 individuals working each evening. It is not possible to justify performances with a small seating capacity. It is for this reason, and with the long lead times required to plan productions in mind, that we regretfully announce that we have decided, in consultation with the Canton of Zurich, to cancel our regular schedule through the end of the season.
However: At long last, we’ll be open. Live. Together.
We are pleased to be able to once again throw open our doors to Sechseläutenplatz starting May 1. We have developed a program especially for a reduced audience, which will see a ballet premiere in Zurich, an opera premiere in Winterthur, song recitals dedicated to pop, musicals, and folk music, multiple concert evenings, and the premiere of a musical work for the theater. We will have information regarding the new schedule for June 2021 in due time.
On the first weekend in May, the Opernhaus Zürich presents the two-part ballet production «Walking Mad». The Ballett Zürich and the Junior Ballett Zürich will appear in «Chamber Minds» by Edward Clug and the titular «Walking Mad» by Johan Inger. Edward Clug is an internationally sought-after choreographer, who was most recently in Zurich for «Faust – Das Ballett». And this event marks Swedish choreographer Johan Inger’s debut at the Ballett Zürich. Inger’s choreography asks the dancers to be bizarre, surreal und clown-like, and is set to music by Arvo Pärt, and to Maurice Ravel’s «Boléro».
PREMIERE IN WINTERTHUR
When Gaetano Donizetti died in April 1848, he left his farcical opera «Le convenienze ed inconvenienze teatrali», which he’d begun 21 years earlier, in a state of patchworked incompletion. Swiss director Mélanie Huber will stage this entertaining caper as an everyday piece of theater madness, updated to the 20th century. Beating the title «Viva la mamma», this adaption will premiere with singers of the International Opera Studio at the Theater Winterthur on May 8. In this version by Mélanie Huber and Stephan Teuwissen, the feverishly delusional composer makes an appearance, and gets tangled up in the intrigues, fits of jealousy, and interpersonal collisions that make up an operatic workday.
The Philharmonia Zürich will also return to the Opernhaus from Thursday, May 6 to Sunday, May 9. It’s still too early for the complete orchestra and audience, so musicians from the individual sections of the orchestra will present special programs as a part of the «Philharmonia Winds», «Strings», and «Brass» series. The woodwinds kick things off with works by Antonín Dvo?ák and Richard Strauss. The strings will follow with a music-history highpoint: Johann Sebastian Bach’s Double Concerto in d minor. And the undeniable splendor of brass instruments will be on full display in a program that includes works by Giovanni Gabrieli, as well as music by Bruce Broughton and Eric Ewazen, two composers from the United States.
MUSIC THEATER PREMIERE
The curtain rises on an additional premiere on Thursday, May 13: Igor Stravinsky’s musical work for the theater, the masterpiece «Die Geschichte vom Soldaten» («The Soldier’s Tale»). The piece was composed so that it could be taken on the road, and is a mix of fairytale, theater, and concerto for multiple players. Andreas Homoki directs this piece on an empty stage in front of the stage’s safety curtain with nothing more than two masterful performers (Ruben Drole and Martin Zysset), two chairs, highly virtuosic musicians, and more than a dash of imagination.
JUNIOR BALLETT WITH A ZURICH PREMIERE
Over the past few months, the Junior Ballett developed a three-part ballet evening entitled «Impulse», which includes world premieres by three young choreographers: Bryan Arias, Craig Davidson, and Juliano Nunes. Their premiere took place at the Theater Winterthur in February and online. Now the Junior Ballett will present «Entropy», «Pure Coincidence», and «Union in Poetry» starting Thursday, May 20, on the main stage at the Opernhaus Zürich, live and with an audience.
POP – MUSICAL – FOLK – PROGRAM
From Thursday, May 27, through Sunday, May 30, members of the Opernhaus ensemble and the International Opera Studio will explore different musical genres. The six performances that make up the «Opera goes…» series will examine the realms of music theater, popular music, and folk music.
In «Opera goes Pop», Katia Ledoux takes us on a wild ride through a mixture of pop and operatic repertoire. Ledoux, born in Paris by way of Austria, brings Radiohead, Alicia Keys, and Elvis Presley to the opera stage, where they’re joined by Bizet, Gluck, and Piazzolla. But not for nothing, as they all sing about love.
«Opera goes Musical» presents the best of the best from musicals such as «La Cage aux Folles» or «Man of La Mancha», songs by Kurt Weill and Stephen Sondheim, as well as the precursors to such lighter fare, including Robert Schumann’s song cycle «Frauenliebe und –Leben» op. 42, and Richard Strauss’ «Vier Lieder» op. 27. The young talents of the International Opera Studio present this program.
In «Opera goes Folk» mezzo-soprano Deniz Uzun lets folk music take center stage. The program includes classical songs literature heavily influenced by folk music, including works by Shostakovich, Ravel’s «Chants populaires», and madrigal selections. At the same time, Uzun takes us on a musical journey from France to Hungary, via Spain and Scotland.
TICKETS AND FURTHER INFORMATION
Tickets for all events can be purchased online at www.opernhaus.ch or by phone at +41 44 268 66 66. As a result of the limited audience capacity due to public health measures, sales are limited to two (2) tickets per person. Advance ticket sales begin on Monday, April 26, at 11.00am.