Vienna State Opera: September 2018 in focus


Wiener Staatsoper GmbH/Michael Pöhn


CARMEN 6., 9., 12. September 2018

The Vienna State Opera starts the new season with George Bizet’s Carmen, conducted by Frédéric Chaslin. Clémentine Margaine is cast in the role of Carmen (her debut at the Vienna Opera), Marcelo Álvarez sings Don Jose, Erwin Schrott will appear as Escamillo und Anita Hartig as Micaëla.

Erwin Schrott will come back to the Opera House in October as Conte d’Almaviva in Mozart‘s Le nozze di Figaro, Frédéric Chaslin will contduct this season a number of French and Italian operas: Werther, Manon und Andrea Chénier.


LA TRAVIATA 16., 20., 23. Sept. 2018

Simon Keenlyside, who was recently knighted by the queen of England, is coming this September to the Vienna State Opera as Giorgio Germont in La traviata. The cast includes, among others, Pavol Breslik (Alfredo) and Albina Shagimuratova (Violetta); conducter is Evelino Pidò.


BALLETT September 2018

First ballett in the new season is the much loved Giselle, scheduled for 15., 17., 21., 24., 26., 30. September and 3., 9. und 20.October. In the main roles star Kimin Kim from the Mariinski Theater (on 17. September), Olga Smirnova and Semyon Chudin (on 24.September), Olga Esina will make her role debut on 26.September.

Tickets for all performances can be booked on


The new season 2018 | 2019 at the Vienna State Opera

Last week was announced the programme for the forthcoming 2018/2019 season of the Vienna State Opera. The scope and diversity of the Vienna Opera’s programming is unmatched around the world; the 2018/2019 schedule includes 50 different operas, 16 different ballets (in ten full-length compilations) and five children’s programmes. In addition to this there are numerous concerts, matinées and special events.

Six opera premières will take place at the Vienna Opera House, including a world première, and a children’s opera première at the Walfishgasse.


  • Hector Berlioz’ Les Troyens on 14 October 2018
  • Johannes Maria Staud’s und Durs Grünbein’s Die Weiden (The Willows, world première, Wiener Staatsoper commission) on 8 December 2018
  • Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor on 9 February 2019
  • Richard Strauss’ Die Frau ohne Schatten on 25 May 2019
  • Giuseppe Verdi’s Otello on 20 June 2019
  • Elisabeth Naske’s Was ist los bei den Enakos? (What’s up with the Enako family?, world première, Wiener Staatsoper commission) on 26 January 2019 at the CHILDREN’S OPERA | AGRANA STUDIO STAGE | WALFISCHGASSE

Ballet Director Manuel Legris will be presenting three premières at the Vienna State Opera:

  • Sylvia on 10 November 2018
  • the four-part performance of Forsythe | van Manen | Kylián on 14 April 2019
  • 2019 Nureyev Gala on 28 June 2019


150 Years Vienna State Opera

25 May 2019 marks the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Vienna opera house. The Vienna State Opera (former “Hofoper”) will celebrate “150 years of the Vienna Opera House” not just at the opera house, but all around the opera house, in Vienna, and in the Austrian provinces. The main events are the première of Die Frau ohne Schattenon 25 May 2019, an opening ceremony the morning of that day, and a celebration on Herbert von Karajan Platz on 26 May 2019. In addition, symposia, a CD box set, exhibitions, publications, school projects, online projects and much more are planned.


Recitals and Matinees

The wide-ranging programme of operas and ballets will be rounded off by several well-established event series:

  • Recitals: internationally acclaimed singers will perform attractive concert programmes on seven evenings.
  • Matinee series Ensemble Matinee in the Mahler-Saal: on seven different dates, young ensemble singers will be showcasing their talent outside the regular performance schedule. They will be accompanied on the piano by the répétiteurs of the opera house.
  • Chamber Music Cycle of the Vienna Philharmonic: in ten matinées, members of the Vienna Philharmonic will present a diverse programme of chamber music in various different ensembles.

During the 2018/2019 season the WIENER STAATSOPER live at home programme will broadcast a total of 45 performances live on the internet in excellent picture and sound quality.

You can book tickets for the new 2018/2019 season on the ConcertVienna website: Vienna Opera schedule


Ariodante: Premiere of a Baroque Opera Hit – II.Part

The new production

With the new State Opera production after Alcina – Ariodante has never been played in the history of the Vienna State Opera – a second Händel opera is added to the repertoire of the opera house. In the première on 24 February, William Christie will début as conductor: Of course, it is not necessary to introduce the American-born musician to the opera and concert audience, his decades-long international career has taken him and his specialist ensemble, Les Arts Florissants, around the world. And because the one does not go without the other, this old music ensemble is also a guest at Haus am Ring. After the Les Musiciens du Louvre under Marc Minkowski or the Freibourg baroque orchestra under Ivor Bolton, now another, well-informed ensemble radiates the magic of so-called early music.

The director of the new production is practically an old acquaintance. It is David McVicar, or more precisely: Sir David McVicar. He has already staged three production at the Vienna Opera, which, musically-spoken, significantly differ from one another: Tristan and Isolde by Wagner, Adriana Lecouvreur by Cilèas and Falstaff by Verdi (a production, recently staged in China). And those who know McVicar’s work, also know the atmospheric precision-work, with which the British director approaches the stage. Few things are more foreign to him than a point of view, in which a concept – without a detailed view of the musical texture – is drawn over his work or in which staging elements are simply draped around a happening. Remember his Falstaff work, in which, in cooperation with his outfitter, he provoked the aesthetics of historically matching paintings, or the final in Tristan, where costume, depicted nature, music and movement merge into a unity. Or Adriana Lecouvreur, in which McVicar brought new, colourful and vibrant life the French theatre of the 18th century.

This time, the two ensemble singers Chen Reiss and Hila Fahima stage the two very different female characters. Reiss, who was witnessed at Haus am Ring not only in many roles between Janácek and Strauss, but also as a baroque singer as Morgana in Alcina by Händel, will be heard as unlucky princess Ginevra. “Of all characters, seen on this opera evening, she is the real victim”, says Reiss. Since not only the misfortune of the alleged death of her lover hits her, but also the fact, that she is repudiated by her father, betrayed by her court lady and all involved turn against her, Reiss outlines the tragic of the character.

Although not her direct enemy, Dalinda, represented by Hila Fahima, is at least her fatal bad luck. Soprano Dalina explains that she is not fundamentally evil as such, but falls under the spell of the dusky Polinesso. Due to the amorous delusion, she almost participates in the deadly intrigue against Ginevra. “To her, Polinesso is attractive – and she does not realise, that he does not have the same emotions for her, but only uses her.”

The reason, why the royal father, who initially had a very good and close relationship with his daughter Ginevra, repudiates her so brusquely and even wants to have her executed, is given by Bassist Wilhelm Schwinghammer in the inner conflict of the character. “He is a father, but also the king and thus torn between his duty and his family. The ruler is indeed the first state representative and thus has to ensure law and order – even when it concerns his daughter.” However, the father does not have a bad character, says Schwinghammer. “He is at odds with himself and repudiating his daughter is tough for him. But he cannot escape his duty!” Wilhelm Schwinghammer will make his début on the première evening at Haus am Ring – just like Sarah Connolly, performer of Ariodante and counter tenor Christophe Dumaux (Polinesso). A night full of innovations for the State Opera audience: Head off to the journey of discover medieval Scotland!


Lovers Ginevra and Ariodante are in the centre of the plot. She is the daughter of the Scottish king, who is a respected vassal. Soon the wedding is to be celebrated – and, being respected by the king, Ariodante’s way to the throne is open. However, their perfect love and happiness is threatened by an intrigue: Polinesso, Duke of Albany, not only envies Ariodante for his fortune, but also strives to become the successor of the Scottish king himself. He thus concocts a plan to make Dalinda, Ginevra’s court lady, amorously submissive to him. At his behest, she dresses up as Ginevra and, all love-struck, she admits Polinesso. Ariodante, who learns about this act, initiated by Polinesso, believes that his bride is unfaithful, is desperate, wants to commit suicide and runs off. Ginevra, whom all assume guilty, is also desperate: On the one hand she lost Ariodante, on the other, she is repudiated by her father and is to be executed. Now Polinesso, who plays double games, agrees to fight Lurcanio, brother of presumably dead Ariodante, to restore Ginevra’s honour. Polinesso falls. Then an unknown, masked knight steps up to fight for Ginevra’s honour: it is Ariodante, who has learned the truth from regretful Dalinda. However, before the fight starts, Ariodante unmasks himself and clarifies the treachery. At last: Ariodante and Ginevra are reunited and Dalinda and Lurcanio join as a couple.

Source: Oliver Lang, Prolog Februar 2018, Nr 216

Ariodante: Premiere of a Baroque Opera Hit – I.Part

With Ariodante, the Vienna State Opera once more focuses on baroque composer Georg Friedrich Handel: The piece, written for the London Opera house Covent Garden, was first successfully performed in 1735 – and now, about 280 years later, can be heard at the Vienna State Opera for the first time. Here is a short outline of the work and production.

In retrospect, everything seems very simple. However, in the course of his work, quite some disillusionment emerged from the feuds and the struggle for success. Often happenings in opera history have not been as definite and logical at the specific moment, as they seem to us today. When for example, Georg Friedrich Handel integrated the Italian Opera in London for the first time during the first term of the 18th century, substantial problems regarding finances and occupancy piled up, in addition to several raging opera struggles and flickering intrigues. The success of the English Opera certainly was not self-evident, but constantly called for pioneering spirit, courage and support. The latter, amongst others, came from the King himself, who subsidised and promoted an institution called Royal Academy of Music, which took care of (Handel’s) opera performances.

But that was not enough. Since the rebellious aristocracy, who had disagreements with the King, founded their own opera, the Nobility Opera organisation, the cultural counter event, which was intended to compete against the royal undertaking. Composers and opera entrepreneurs easily got caught between two chairs and in the political mills! And not only this: because, at that time already, prominent singer names were the absolute key issue of the opera business, many singers played at high stakes, had their performance glorified and pestered their contractors and composers with their requirements, escapades and high fees. Famous castrates and renowned sopranos had the opera world at their feet – and all had to serve them. And last, but not least, there was another popular rival, like a cheeky successful play called The Beggar’s Opera, which parodied the conventional opera, had substantial gain in audience and made life difficult for conventional opera operators.

Georg Friedrich Handel worked amidst these different periods of tension and challenges: between major and minor successes, all sorts of disputes behind the scenes and occasional financial problems, he wrote one opera after the other and became a leading name in the London society. In 1711, his opera Rinaldo was performed in London; in 1723, he was appointed court composer of the Chapel Royal, even before he became an English citizen. A long list of operas for England emerged: Radamisto and Ottone, Tamerlano and Ezio, Alcina and Giustino. The main singers performed for him, his opera’s “main domicile” initially was the renowned King’s Theatre. But then there was a sudden change: The King’s Theatre was leased to the competition, which did not only take over the premises, but also many of the star singers. Handel now had to look for a new location – and for new attractions. And he found what he searched for at the newly established Covent Garden Theatre.

However, all the battles had left their mark: Handel was not only under financial pressure, but also physically weakened. So much so, that in public there were even rumours about his alleged withdrawal from London. But nothing like that happened. To regain his spirits, Handel went for a spa-treatment, recovered – and resumed the struggle. For his next opera – Ariodante, performed in Scotland, he used familiar topics of Ludovico Ariosts, namely an episode of the 5th and 6th song of the comprehensive Orlando furioso epos. Librettist Antonio Salvi once in 1708, in Florence, carved an opera text from individual plot elements – and it may be assumed, that Handel still knew the libretto from this time. Anyway, he now made use of it and set it to music within about 10 weeks. A special feature were the ballet interludes by famous French dancer Marie Sallé, which were included in strategic places, as well as the appointment of coveted castrate Giovanni Carestini. The première on 8 January 1735 at the Covent Garden Theatre became a success and was also attended by the royal couple – although only an average number of spectators was reported in subsequent performances. Anyway, Ariodante – even though it is always mentioned as one of those works that appeals to both, an opera-literate and a somewhat less experienced audience – disappeared from the (London) repertoire and did not reappear until the twentieth century.

Today Ariodante is often played, as reflected in many recordings and current productions. And even music-enthusiasts, who do not know the opera yet, will prick up their ears in one of the hits of this colourful and multifaceted work, saying “Ah, this is where it comes from!”: Scherza infida. It is an aria of the broken Ariodante, who sings about lost love, grief and despair that torment his heart.

Next week: Part II will provide information about the new production at the Vienna State Opera.

Source: Oliver Lang, Prolog Februar 2018, Nr 216

Vienna State Opera: 5 events not to miss this February





Dates and tickets for Faust

Faust by Charles Gounod can again be witnessed with top-class performers in February. In the performance, directed by Frederic Chaslin, French tenor Jean-Francois Borras can be heard in the title role (he already sang this part in the Vienna State Opera several times in March 2017). Erwin Schrott, who has just been a guest at the State Opera in the role of Scarpia, again embodies the dark side of the plot in his role as Mephistopheles. Anita Hartig will be heard as Marguerite. Other parts are sung by Clemens Unterreiner, Rachel Frenkel, Jongmin Park and Bongiwe Nakani.


Vienna Opera Ball 2018

The Vienna Opera Ball will be held for the 62nd time after World War II. The night’s motto is Le nozze di Figaro – which is the recurrent theme in the different sections of the ball. This time, Frederic Chaslin will conduct the opening programme, Daniela Fally and Pavol Breslik are the singers and, of course, the Vienna State Ballet, again forms an integral part of the opening. As in the previous year, Maria Großbauer organised the ball festival and in addition to a great music-programme in all the different halls, once again this time, a wide culinary offer awaits the ball guests. The traditional Herrenspende (gentlemen’s gift) – an illustrated book – once more comes from renowned photographer and publisher Lois Lammeruber, who has this time dedicated this pictorial to the slogan of “repertoire”.


Keenlyside as Conte

Dates and tickets for Le nozze di Figaro

Simon Keenlyside, who was a guest at the Vienna State Opera in October as Golaud in Pelleas et Melisandre, now returns as Conte d’Almaviva. Keenlyside has sung this role for the Vienna State Opera 22 times already – and this is by far his most frequently performed Viennese role. So far, the British baritone has performed on a total of 100 evenings at the State Opera. On Figaro-nights, Olga Bezsmertna can be seen as the unfortunate countess, while the Susanna-Figaro couple is performed by ensemble-members, Valentina Nafornita and Jongmin Park.


Next première

Dates and tickets for Ariodante

Ariodante will premiere at the Vienna State Opera in February as the second Handel opera under Mayer’s direction. William Christie will direct his original sound ensemble Les Arts Forissants, David McVicar is in charge of the production. In addition to guests – Sarah Connolly, Christophe Dumaux, Rainer Trost and Wilhelm Schwinghammer, members of the ensemble, such as Chen Reiss, Hila Fahima and Benedikt Kobel will also sing.

The opening introductory matinee will be held at the State Opera just a week prior to the première, on Sunday, 18 February at 11h00. The oeuvre, the music and the production, as well as Handel’s cultural cosmos are explained during a conversation with the première participants. Those who want to be optimally prepared and visit an Ariodante performance with sound background knowledge, should attend the matinee.


Vienna State Ballet

Dates and tickets to Balanchine | Liang | Proietto

After a last excursion to the world of Clug, Ibsen and Grieg this season (Peer Gynt, 1 February), the focus of the February-repertoire will all be on neo-classics:

Balanchine | Liang | Proietto can be seen on 13, 17, 20, 21 and 23 February, combining three compositions with different approaches to the classical-romantic or neo-classic ballet tradition.

Blanc by Daniel Broietto was created in 2016 and was commissioned for the Vienna State Ballet.


Vienna State Opera: January in focus


4th,7th,10th January 2018: Vienna State Opera

After his death at a mere 33 years of age, Vincenzo Bellini, the great Belcanto composer left the world of opera with a number of notable masterpieces: La sonnambula, Norma or I Capuleti e i Montecchi, among others. His last opera, released in 1835 in Paris, was I puritani — a story that plays in England during the time of Oliver Cromwell. A Puritani production staged by John Dew is currently on the programme of the Vienna State Opera — its story will be recounted with simple, yet visually striking images. In the January series, Venera Gimadieva, a newcomer to the venue, will play the part of the unhappy Elvira while Adam Plachetka will sing as Sir Riccardo Forth, Dmitry Korchak as Lord Arturo Talbo and Jong-min Park as Sir Giorgio.

Vienna State Opera Schedule Continue reading

Vienna State Opera: 5 operas not to miss this October

General booking for October performances at the Vienna State Opera has already  started and, although some of you may have made their Vienna Opera Plans already, we felt the urge to share the 5 operas that we think truly stand out in this October’s programme. Obviously the Vienna Opera experience is unique and it is always a difficult choice to decide which events you should attend! Your No1 rule should be: go to as many as you can (afford). Continue reading

What’s new at the Vienna Opera Ball 2017?

The 61st Vienna Opera Ball will take place on 23.February at the Vienna State Opera. The new organizer is Maria Grossbauer, the daughter of a member of the Vienna Philharmonics. She has studied music and is in charge of a PR agency.

The star tenor Jonas Kaufmann will sing for the first time at the opening of the Vienna Opera Ball („La fleur que tu m’avais jetée“from Carmen und „Dein ist mein ganzes Herz“ from Das Land des Lächelns). Continue reading