November in Vienna

November isn’t as busy a month as October was, but there are some cool events to look forward to, particularly if you are fond of German or Austrian sopranos, including three great artists and one really crazy one (which of the above ladies do you think I mean?).

Our new opera productions number only two but they’re both doozies.  Alcina will be the Staatsoper’s first-ever Baroque opera, and for the first time a visiting orchestra will occupy the pit.  The group is Marc Minkowski’s historically informed Les Musiciens de Louvre, Adrian Noble will direct and the cast includes magnificent Anja Harteros (above second from left) in the title role.  The concept sounds complicated.  It’s about 18th-century socialite/Duchess of Devonshire Georgiana Cavendish.  ???, right? I will have more on this shortly.  The prima is on November 14.

The second production is the Theater an der Wien’s La finta giardiniera, directed by ever-surprising David Alden and conducted by Mozart master René Jacobs.  The orchestra is the (also HIP) Freiburger Barockorchester and the cast includes Alexandrina Pendatchanska, Sophie Karthäuser, and Topi Lehtipuu.  I don’t know what the concept is, but would be shocked if there weren’t one.   It premieres on November 12.  Sign me up for opening night of both of these, I can’t wait.

But wait, there’s more!

The Philharmoniker is on tour for most of this month, which makes the Staatsoper program rather thin and heavy on pedestrian rep staples, and their own concerts nearly non-existent.  Don’t be surprised if the pit in those non-Alcina performances sounds a little less glamorous than usual (though if you think you usually get pure Philharmoniker at the Staatsoper, you are deluded).  Potential repertory highlights include Zauberflöte with Genia Kühmeier (above left) and Kwangchul Youn, led by Ivor Bolton; Rigoletto with Hvorostovsky, Vargas, and Ciofi; and, at the very end of the month, the return of last season’s smash atonal hit Medea, starring Marlis Petersen. 

You can still get stranded on an Isola disabitata with the KammerOper, and the Volksoper promises 19th-century operettic preciousness with Zeller’s Der Vogelhändler.  Also, an eclectic group conducted by Andreas Stoehr will be performing Meyerbeer’s forgotten Emma di Resburgo in concert at the Konzerthaus and considering that the cast includes crazytown Simone Kermes (above second from right) I’m going to try to go.

Our symphonic highlight of the month is doubtlessly Christian Thielemann leading the Philharmoniker in Beethoven (Symphonies 4 and 5, November 20, Musikverein).  I say this partly because I have never seen Thielemann live and am excited to change this.  But on November 7 we also have the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra with a program of Beethoven, Janacek, and Tchaik, in theory led by ailing Mariss Jansons (November 7, Musikverein, keep your fingers crossed).  Also interesting: Robin Ticciati leads the Wiener Symphoniker in A Child of Our Time at the Konzerthaus (15, 17 November), and a rare appearance by the Glazunov Saxophone Concerto, also performed by the Symphoniker (Musikverein, 10-12 November, with the Symphonie fantastique).

Recitals include Elisabeth Leonskaja’s murderous program of the three last Schubert piano sonatas at the Konzerthaus (8 November), Mark Padmore and Till Fellner in Die schöne Müllerin (13 November, Theater an der Wien), and Paul Badura-Skoda in an all-Chopin program (18 November, Musikverein).  Rolando Villazón and Bryn Terfel have concerts at the Konzerthaus if you’re into that kind of thing (18 November).  Paul Lewis and the Leopold String Trio have an interesting program of Beethoven, Krása, and Dohanyí (9 November, Musikverein).  And finally, Juliane Banse (above right) will be giving a Liszt/Marx/Loewe/Britten Liederabend at the Konzerthaus, and I liked her far too much in Cardillac to miss it (November 26).

Wiener Staatsoper
Il Barbiere di Siviglia (2, 4 November) c: Spinosi, d: Rennert*. Bruns, Hulcup, Eröd.
Die Zauberflöte (3, 6 November) c: Bolton, d: Marelli.  Kühmeier, Vecchione, Ernst, Werba, Youn
Madama Butterfly (8, 11, 15 November) c: Lange, d: Gielen*.  Vassileva, Shicoff, Caria.
Tosca (12 November) c: Halász, d: Wallmann*. Crider, Berti, Struckmann.
NP Alcina (14, 17, 20, 23, 26 November)  c: Minkowski d: Noble.  Harteros, Kasarova, Cangemi, Hammarström)
Rigoletto (16, 19, 22, 25, 28 November) c: Güttler d: Sequi*. Vargas, Hvorostovsky, Ciofi
Manon Lescaut (27, 29 November, continues December) c: Auguin d: Carsen.  Guryakova, Cura
Medea (30 November, continues December) c: Boder d: Marelli.  Petersen, Kulman, Eröd, Houtzeel, Cencic
*R.O.P. (Really Old Production)

Staatsoper Ballet
Juwellen der Neuen Welt (Staatsoper, 5, 7, 10, 13, 18, 21 November)
NP Marie Antoinette (Volksoper, 20, 23 November, continues in December) choreography by Patrick de Bana after Jaime Millás

L’isola disabitata (2, 4, 6, 9, 11, 13, 16 November)



Volksoper (see rotating casts here)
NP Rusalka (1, 9, 11, 16, 24 November) (already reviewed here)
Der Vogelhändler (2, 7, 13 November)
Lehár, Straus & Stolz concert (4, 19 November)
Die Entführung aus dem Serail (5, 10, 14, 18, 21, 26 November)
Hello, Dolly! (6, 12, 22 November)
Häuptling Abendwind (15, 17 November)
Das Land des Lächelns (25 November)
Die Fledermaus (27 November)
NP Children’s Opera Antonia und der Reißteufel (28 November)

Next up: I’m hoping to catch the Zauberflöte tomorrow.

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  1. Minko and the entire cast of that Alcina will come to Paris for a concert performance. Knowing the scenic quality of the shows at the Staatsoper, it's just as well 🙂

    That Finta OTOH should be something…

    Medea is an award-winning show that everyone was surprised to see staged at the conservative Staatsoper last June. Boder is great and apparently Petersen rocks in it. If there was a cheaper flight to Vienna I'd have come to see it… But since there isn't any, I'll be waiting for your review ;0


  2. I was going to try to summarize the Alcina concept from the description on the Staatsoper website but it sounds like total crazypants so I decided it needs its own post.

    I LOVE Finta giardiniera, and I love René Jacobs, and I love David Alden, so yeah, I already have a ticket for the first night of that one.

    I'm going to be away for the first two Medeas (London and Berlin!) but I should be able to see the last on on December 7.

  3. You definitely know how to keep yourself busy and us, your loyal blog followers, interested! I look forward to all your reviews, especially about your "Taufe" with Thielemann and Auf Wiedersehen with Mariss Jansons!

  4. Lucky you for that Alcina with Harteros!

    Crazypants is a nice word by the way. There are so many nice words in both English and German, I also quite liked nifty in that other post :).

  5. I hope it's not an auf Wiedersehen for Jansons in the farewell, not-actually-wieder, sense! Supposedly he's only had the flu recently. He's not that old.

    I am glad to add crazypants to your vocabulary, Anon. I also suggest smartypants and stupidpants as worthy additions. Whether this production qualifies as either of those remains to be seen.