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Royal Opera House Director of Opera Oliver Mears

Royal Opera House Director of Opera Oliver Mears

Royal Opera House announces 2017/18 seasons

First Published 5 April 2017, Last Updated 5 April 2017

The Royal Opera House has announced its Opera and Music, Ballet and Dance, and Live Cinema seasons for 2017/18, with Oliver Mears starting his tenure as Director of Opera.

We spoke to Oliver about the forthcoming Royal Opera 2017/18 season in the video above.

Highlights of the line-up include Antonio Pappano conducting two new productions – La Bohème and Semiramide – as well as revivals of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth Of Mtensk, and two concert performances. The Royal Opera also presents the world premiere of George Benjamin’s new opera, Lessons In Love And Violence.

Four premieres will take place outside the Royal Opera House in collaboration with a range of partners, co-producers and co-commissioners: the world premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s new opera Coraline, presented at the Barbican Theatre, a new production (and Royal Opera premiere) of The Return Of Ulysses (Il Ritorno D’Ulisse In Patria) at the Roundhouse, the world premiere of Mamzer Bastard by Na’ama Zisser (Royal Opera Composer in Residence) and the world premiere of Tansy Davies’ new work, produced by London Sinfonietta in association with The Royal Opera.

Six new productions by The Royal Opera will be performed at the Royal Opera House: the aforementioned La Bohème, directed by Richard Jones; Semiramide and Lohengrin directed by David Alden; Lessons In Love And Violence directed by Katie Mitchell; Carmen directed by Barrie Kosky (production new to The Royal Opera); and From The House Of The Dead, directed by Krzystof Warlikowski, making his UK debut, which continues the Royal Opera’s line of programming focussing on early 20th-century works never previously seen at the venue.

Donizetti’s L’Ange De Nisida receives its world premiere at the Royal Opera House in July 2018, 179 years after its completion, conducted by Mark Elder. Meanwhile, La Tragédie De Carmen will be performed at Wilton’s Music Hall by members of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme.

Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci (2 December 2017-9 January 2018), Lucia Di Lammermoor (30 October-27 November 2017), Les Vêpres Siciliennes (12 October-4 November 2017) and 4.48 Psychosis (dates and venue TBC) return for their first revivals, before Keith Warner’s production of Der Ring Des Nibelungen returns for its third revival at the start of the 2018/19 Season.

Highlights of the Royal Ballet 2017/18 season include five world premieres: a new Royal Ballet production of Swan Lake in May 2018, with additional choreography by Artist in Residence Liam Scarlett; a new one-act ballet by Twyla Tharp called The Illustrated ‘Farewell’; a new untitled one-act ballet by Arthur Pita to a commissioned score by Frank Moon; a new one act ballet by Wayne McGregor with designs by ceramist Edmund de Waal; and a new one act ballet by Christopher Wheeldon with designs by fashion designer Erdem Moralioglu.

The Royal Ballet will also celebrate Kenneth MacMillan’s legacy on the 25th anniversary of his death, with four other British ballet companies performing with the Royal Ballet together on the Royal Opera House stage for the first time in Kennth MacMillan: A National Celebration.

Dancers from all five companies join forces to demonstrate the range of MacMillan’s compelling canon of work including Concerto, danced by Birmingham Royal Ballet, Song Of The Earth danced by English National Ballet, Gloria by Northern Ballet, The Judas Tree by The Royal Ballet, Le Baiser De La Fée by Scottish Ballet, and Elite Syncopations, a performance by The Royal Ballet and soloists from the guest companies.

The celerations include two of MacMillan’s rarely seen short ballets, Sea Of Troubles, danced by Yorke Dance Project, and Jeux by Wayne Eagling, inspired by MacMillan’s reconstruction of Vaslav Nijinsky’s lost 1913 ballet, performed by The Royal Ballet. MacMillan’s masterpiece Manon also returns later in the season.

For the 2017/18 Season, Kevin O’Hare, Director of The Royal Ballet, has announced that Carlos Acosta will return to the Company as Principal Guest Répétiteur, having retired from The Royal Ballet in 2015 after 17 years as Principal Guest Artist.

Six operas will be screened in the Royal Opera House Live Cinema Season. Including some of The Royal Opera and The Royal Ballet’s much-loved classical repertory, the world’s top ballet and opera stars, and four brand new productions, over 450 cinemas in the UK will show the performances live from Covent Garden. 

Mozart’s fantastical opera The Magic Flute (Wednesday 20 September) opens the season, followed by La Bohème (Tuesday 3 October), Verdi’s Rigoletto (Tuesday 16 January 2018), Tosca (Wednesday 7 February 2018) and more. Following the runaway success of Barrie Kosky’s Carmen in Frankfurt, the production comes to the Royal Opera House for a live broadcast on Tuesday 6 March 2018, and the final Royal Opera production to be shown in cinemas is Verdi’s Macbeth (Wednesday 4 April 2018).

Six productions from The Royal Ballet will also be screened live to cinemas during the 2017/18 Season. First up is the smash-hit Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland (Monday 23 October) by Christopher Wheeldon, followed by the festive family favourite, The Nutcracker (Tuesday 5 December), returning after reaching over 130,000 worldwide cinema-goers in December 2016. Following this is Christopher Wheeldon’s Olivier-award winning ballet based on Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale (Wednesday 28 February) where family tragedy is heightened by Joby Talbot’s emotive score. 

Continuing to tug at the heart-strings, The Royal Ballet performs the epic Manon (Thursday 3 May), the story of a young girl who pays the ultimate price for choosing wealth and riches over true love. The final performance of the Season is the hotly anticipated new staging of Swan Lake (Tuesday 12 June) by Liam Scarlett. 

More information on the cinema screenings can be found here.

Of the announcement, Oliver said: “I am delighted to introduce my first Season as Director of Opera for the Royal Opera. As I begin this role, and as the world continues to reel from social and political tumult, it is reassuring to contemplate the talent and traditions that underpin this great building’s history.

“Since the time of Handel, Covent Garden has been home to the most outstanding performers, composers and artists of every era. And for centuries, the joyous and often tragic art form of opera has offered a means by which we can be transported to another world, in all its wonderful excess and beauty.”

For more information on all productions in the Royal Opera House’s season, please visit the venue’s website.

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