From an oil opera to contemporary dance and a free festive concert, the Norwegian National Opera & Ballet’s upcoming season 2012–13 will be the biggest in modern times. Never before have so many performances and concerts been staged in a single season.
The upcoming season will also see no fewer than eight new works grace the Oslo Opera House’s performance spaces, including the newly written oil opera by Knut Vaage entitled Khairos – an on & offshore opera. In addition, there will be new dance pieces by choreographers such as Jo Strømgren, Ingun Bjørnsgaard, Alexander Ekman and Medhi Walerski.
Directors and choreographers have taken a fresh look at well-known works and come up with new productions of favourites including Madama Butterfly, The Capulets and the Montagues and Die Fledermaus, the latter in a decadently fashionable New York setting and directed by Laurence Dale. Choreographer Medhi Walerski has established a name for himself in European dance circles. Marking the 2013 centennial of the world premiere of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, he has devised a new dance performance inspired by the original Stravinsky production.
Several favourites among Norwegian opera and ballet audiences are making a welcome return. Director Stefan Herheim, fresh from a successful interpretation of La Bohème, makes a return visit with Richard Strauss’ Salome. This production was much discussed as a work of genius following its premiere in Salzburg in 2011. And renowned choreographers Nacho Duato and Ji?í Kylián are also making return visits to the Oslo Opera House, Nacho Duato with a tribute to Bach and Ji?í Kylián with a full-length production comprising three works all making their Norwegian premiere.
As well as performing in most of the Oslo Opera House’s opera and ballet performances, the Norwegian National Opera Orchestra will also be appearing on stage in its own right. Under music director John Helmer Fiore, the season opens with a free festive concert on the Opera Roof on 26 August. This ’overture’ to the new season has become a firmly established annual event at which the whole house presents extracts from the upcoming season programme. The orchestra will also give three concerts in the Main House during the coming season. First in a programme of Wagner and Strauss with Terje Stensvold as soloist, then a Mahler concert conducted by the legendary Leif Segerstam, and finally a concert devoted to Prokofiev conducted by Kirill Karabits. Fiore will also be conducting the Norwegian National Opera Orchestra and the Norwegian National Opera Chorus in Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius in Oslo Cathedral next spring.
In the Second House the Norwegian National Opera Orchestra will be continuing its popular series of chamber music concerts with a new programme of ”Saturday at the Opera”, featuring performances of the musicians’ own favourite pieces – and servings of buns and coffee. The same performance space will be transformed into a period-style theatre when the Norwegian National Ballet and Bjarte Hjelmeland invite you to an evening of Music Hall entertainment with a wide variety of dance routines.
The Second House will be hosting an evening of songs by the Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren (1907—2002) performed by the Norwegian National Opera Children’s Chorus, which will also mark the centenary of the birth of the Norwegian writer Thorbjørn Egner (1912—1990) with a performance of The Band Comes to Town. Younger members of our audience can also look forward to a major event in the Main House: a modern opera of Robin Hood.
Leading guest artists will also be appearing at the Oslo Opera House, including the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, Santa Cecilia with Sir Antonio Pappano, and the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra under Jukka-Pekka Saraste. Netherlands Dance Theatre 1 and Carte Blanche, the Norwegian national company of contemporary dance, are also revisiting.
The Norwegian National Opera & Ballet’s own companies will also be going on tour. The Norwegian National Opera starts its tour in the summer with a guest performance of Peter Grimes and The Fourth Watch of the Night at the famous Savonlinna opera festival. In addition, they will be making guest appearances at Sandnes with their successful production of The Rape of Lucretia and at Harstad, where they will be performing The Barber of Seville. Both of these productions will also be making much-anticipated returns to the Oslo Opera House’s Second House this season. In September the Norwegian National Ballet will be on tour with its dance programme in northern Norway, including a first ever guest appearance in the Svalbard Islands.
The coming season will also see a number of performances outside the main repertoire. These range from Thai and Caribbean dance to hip-hop, a special guest appearance by Grammy Award winning jazz artist Tony Bennett as part of the Oslo Jazz Festival, and powerhouse performances by the two popular Norwegian rock bands Motorpsycho and Kaizers Orchestra, in stage productions specially arranged for the Main House.
As part of the summer programme, the proscenium in the Main House will be transformed into a tropical island as part of Haydn’s opera The Deserted Island. The Main House will also see breakdance meet ballet when KingWings and the Norwegian National Ballet take the stage. And the programme of outdoor events includes concerts by the three well-loved Scandinavian artists Kent & Åge Aleksandersen, Mikael Wiehe and Kim Larsen on the Opera Roof.