The Zurich Opera House is the pearl of Europe. A theater at human scale, it welcomes the big names of opera every season, always with great style.
Let´s remember that Jonas Kaufmann, before becoming the star that all the halls fight for, started his international career here, as did Matthias Goerne and so many other great artists.
The singing recitals set the tone of this season 2017-2018. The great Wagnerian singer Waltraud Meier is in Zürich as are the great opera stars Sonya Yoncheva, Diana Damrau and Juan Diego Flórez (who sings Mozart’s opera arias) and Piotr Beczala. The rising stars are also present as Pretty Yende or Mauro Peter. A big event, Edita Gruberova sings the final scenes of Queens of Donizetti (Maria Stuarda, Anna Bolena, Roberto Devereux).
But it is obviously on opera productions that most attention is focused. Unlike other houses, the Opernhaus Zürich does not rely on extravagant stagings, but is always in an in-between where modernity is never flashy. As always, this season 2017-2018 has its share of welcome surprises in store. For example, the production of the Incoronazione di Poppea by Monteverdi was entrusted to Calixto Bieito, Eugene Onegin to Barrie Kosky, or La Forza del destino by Verdi and Lunea (the worldwide creation of the Swiss composer Heinz Holliger) to the artistic director of the Zurich Opera House, Andreas Homoki. It is on the side of the performers that we must also marvel. The role of Poppea is entrusted to the perfect Julie Fuchs alongside Valer Sabadus and Stephanie d’Oustrac. Two of the biggest baritones are on display for new productions, Christian Gerhaher in Lunea directed by Holliger himself and Peter Mattei, a perfect Eugene Onegin.
As for the new productions, one that may be particularly talked about is Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny by Kurt Weill, directed by Sebastian Baumgarten with a completely new role for Karita Mattila, the incredible beast of stage. A concert version is particularly worth a detour since this Daughter of the Regiment is embodied by the incredible Sabine Devieilhe.
An erudite alchemy transforms the repetitions in gold when bringing together great artists on stage. Lawrence Brownlee charms the volcanic Cecilia Bartoli in Rossini’s Count Ory. Bryn Terfel and Camilla Nylund live an impossible love aboard Wagner’s Ghost Ship (Der fliegende Holländer). Each opera houses stars. When they bear the illustrious names of Cecilia Bartoli or Piotr Beczala, the importance of opera is deliberate. The tenor is divided between a light and charming repertory with Das Land of Lächelns (with Julia Kleiter) and drama in Werther of Massenet.
The sopranos are brilliant at the Opernhaus Zurich. Judge for yourself: Anja Harteros plays Tosca and Ailyn Pérez, La Traviata, the two great heroines sacrificed. The subtle Elsa Dreisig sings Tamina facing Prince Stanislas de Barbeyrac in Die Zauberflöte. The royal Diana Damrau slips into the skin of Maria Stuarda according to Donizetti and the imperial Nina Stemme embodies a Kundry in Parsifal Wagner that is imagined exemplary. An awesome season and still, we did not mention the ballet and the prestigious names of Marius Petipa, Alexei Ratmansky, William Forsythe, Jirí Kylián, Ohad Naharin, Crystal Pite, and so on.