What opera is on this month?

October 13, 2016
Click here to read more from our November 2016 issue

Les Contes D’Hoffmann

Royal Opera House, 7th November to 3rd December

Jacques Offenbach’s portmanteau opera was a departure from the comic operettas which made his name. Based on a play by Jules Barbier and Michel Carre, it knits together three of ETA Hoffmann’s fantastical tales in an exploration of the writer’s obsessive personality and his search for the perfect woman.

The opera was unfinished when Offenbach died in 1880 and as a result, many variations have been produced. Impressed by Michael Powell’s 1951 movie, film director John Schlesinger created a stage version for the Royal Opera House in 1980 that has yet to be matched for lavishness. With tenor Vittorio Grigòlo sharing the role of Hoffmann with Leonardo Capalbo, plus William Dudley’s superb set and Maria Björnson’s eye-popping costumes, this is a major revival of one of the most musically fertile and psychologically adroit of Offenbach’s works.


English National Opera, 9th to 19th November

Was there ever a femme more fatale than Lulu, the enigmatic woman in Franz Wedekind’s plays Earth Spirit and Pandora’s Box? Clearly, Alban Berg didn’t think so and he was inspired to compose the 20th-century’s first great operatic masterpiece. ENO’s new production brings together artist/director William Kentridge, conductor Mark Wigglesworth and a terrific cast in what promises to be a night of dark sexuality.

La Calisto

English Touring Opera, various venues until 23rd November

Following its unsuccessful debut in 1651, Francesco Cavalli’s baroque tragicomic opera lay dormant until it was revived for Glyndebourne in 1970 by Raymond Leppard. Entwining two myths—Jupiter’s seduction of the nymph Calisto and Diana’s pursuit of Endymion—it has one of the most charmingly sensual operatic scores ever composed. English Touring Opera’s production continues its exploration of the mischief and tragedy wrought by the gods and mortals of ancient Greece.