The best productions to book for early 2018by Neil Norman / December 14, 2017 / Leave a comment
The Return of Ulysses
Royal Opera at the Roundhouse, London, 10th to 21st January
Following their successful collaboration with Orfeo in 2015 the Royal Opera and the Roundhouse buddy up once again for Monteverdi’s awesome Baroque opera. His magisterial score penetrates the characters’ psychology with astonishing musical and dramatic skill. Its enduring popularity is allegedly due to the plentiful components of sex, gore and the supernatural. This new production performed in English and directed by John Fulljames is set in the round and includes Roderick Williams as Ulysses and Christine Rice as Penelope. If any opera has a “wow” factor, this is it.
Opera North, Leeds Grand Theatre & tour, 19th January to 22nd March
A French soprano Anne Sophie Duprels (below right) won enormous acclaim as Cio-Cio-San in Opera North’s visually stunning production of Puccini’s most popular opera and her return to the role raises expectations. Set in the 1950s, Tim Albery’s update avoids any incipient sentimentality allowing the tragedy to emerge fully fledged. Premiered in 2007, this is a well-merited revival of an enormously affecting production.
Duke Bluebeard’s Castle/The Enchanted Lake/The Sorceror’s Apprentice
National Youth Orchestra, UK tour starts 5th January
Mark Elder takes the accomplished teenage musicians of the NYO on the road with an intriguing triple bill. Bartok’s icily cruel Duke Bluebeard’s Castle is joined by Liadov’s deliciously mysterious The Enchanted Lake and the energetic chaos of Dukas’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Robert Hayward takes the role of Bluebeard and director Daisy Evans brings her usual inventive flair to the staging. Forget The X Factor—this is the place to see teenagers with talent.