Really exciting news! The 2017 Glyndebourne Festival will open with the UK’s first ever production of Cavalli’s Hipermestra, directed by Graham Vick and conducted by baroque specialist William Christie. Cavalli is perfect for Glyndebourne - witty, irreverent and audacious, ideal for a house like Glyndebourne which does baroque better than most. There have been so many celebrated productions of Cavalli in recent years - La Didione, Eliogabalo, La Calisto and my particular favourite Il Giasone, for starters - that we shouldn't settle for anything but the finest standards. But anything William Christie does will be better than practically anyone else can do.
Christie is conducting the lively Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in a new edition of the opera. Graham Vick directs his first new production for Glyndebourne in 17 years. Hungarian soprano Emöke Baráth makes her UK debut in the title role. She's a period specialist and was a wonderful Elena in Aix en Provence in 2013. (Read my review here) That's her in a blonde wig as Elena.
Hipermestra was one of fifty sisters, the Daniades, who are forced to marry their fifty first cousins but all kill their husbands on their wedding nights except for Hipermestra, who doesn't do sex. Lucia di Lammermoor is timid in comparison. Cavalli does sex, riotously. Be warned. Expect a lot of sopranos, altos, tenors and exuberant mayhem.
Conductor William Christie says: “It was almost 50 years ago that Glyndebourne first introduced Francesco Cavalli, a completely forgotten composer, with two of his works, L’Ormindo and La Calisto. The effect on the opera world was nothing short of extraordinary. These works established Cavalli as a great composer of opera and reaffirmed Glyndebourne’s role as a place of discovery....Times have changed and I am proud to be part of a new Cavalli wave, more in keeping with the historical performance school that is doing so much to continue the evolution of early music."
Also in 2017, a new production of Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito, which will mark the Glyndebourne debut of the prominent German director Claus Guth, a frequent guest at top European houses including Bayreuth, the Salzburg Festival, Theater an der Wien and La Scala. Glyndebourne's Music Director Robin Ticciati will conduct the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment for only the second ever staging of the opera at Glyndebourne. The distinguished Australian lyric tenor Steve Davislim makes his Glyndebourne debut in the title role alongside British lyric mezzo-soprano Alice Coote (Vitellia),
A world premiere: Hamlet by exceedingly prolific Brett Dean, directed by Neil Armfield, who directed Dean's first opera in 2010. Among the revivals La Traviata from 2014 and Strauss Ariadne auf Naxos from 2013. Read my review of that HERE. Hopefully this time round there will be more comprehension of this very thoughtful production. Like so much Richard Strauss, the opera is about the making of opera. It's art, not literal narrative, so an intellectual approach is perfectly valid even if it's highbrow. When Katharina Thoma directed Un ballo in maschera at the Royal Opera House, she did the exact opposite, staging the opera as literally as possible in the "traditional" style complete with painted wooden flats. But audiences still didn't get the irony. Read my analysis of it here. At the time, someone muttered "We British don't like Germans". Too bad, I think. Germans do know a lot about theatre.