The Munich Opera Festival 2009


A series of events will usher in the opening of the 2009 Munich Opera Festival on June 27: the HVB Festival Night in the Five Courtyards will get the Munich audience in the summer festival mood for the eighth time. A sterling array of guests, such as Annette Dasch, Pavol Breslik, Kent Nagano, musicians from the Bavarian State Orchestra, culture critic Joachim Kaiser and author Helmut Krausser will invite Munich’s citizens and guests to enjoy a whole night with an opulent selection of artistic attractions.

The series of opening celebrations will continue on June 30 with the Aida Festival Opening Gala and on June 28 at St. Michael’s with the Festival Religious Service, at which Schubert’s Mass in C major will be performed under the direction of Kent Nagano.

The Opening Lecture on June 29 will be given in the Cuvilliés-Theater by Wolf D. Prix, the Viennese architect and co-founder of Coop Himmelb(l)au. This renowned architectural firm, headquartered in Vienna and Los Angeles, stands for an approach to the visionary and utopian, for the suspension of gravity in architecture.
under construction

This Opening Lecture will mark a first consideration of the “under construction” idea; which forms a linking element and philosophical foundation for a number of events at the Munich Opera Festival. “under construction” thematizes the principle of transformation for the opera and its interaction with contemporary theatre architecture and the art of urban construction. The world of opera is a permanent construction site and arises anew with every staging, every performance. In this sense it is in its very essence uninterruptedly “under construction”.

The idea of “under construction”, the idea of motion, openness and flexibility, will also be manifested during the 2009 Munich Opera Festival in a newly built site, the under construction tent on Marstallplatz (opened and serving refreshments daily from 11:00 A.M. to 1 A.M. from July 2-11, opening on July 2 at 6:00 P.M.)

The tent building is more than just another performance venue in the quest for the perfect theatre space: we hope this area will attract audiences to experience something extraordinary and utopian. It invites its visitors to discover new perception forms for opera and to take part in a consideration of spaces – theatrical ones as well as linguistic and urban spaces. In this sense, the Intimate Concerts (July 11) will make singing and listening, which can only be experienced collectively at the opera, into an individual process. At events like Walhall (July 4) and Libretto Market (July 6), experts will discuss such topics as still unrealized operatic utopias or the perfect libretto, a Spoken Word Performance (July 4) will invite you to discover new sensuous, sonic and verbal spaces, a poetic event in which form, format and formulation intertwine. The internetworking of living and cultural spaces will be the topic of a discussion by experts from the fields of culture, urban planning and architecture at an event called Dubai – Chemnitz (July 3).

With this central site, Marstallplatz will also serve as point of departure for the journey to a number of other performance areas, in which opera is still “under construction”. At the Cuvilliés-Theater, Leonard Bernstein’s one-acter Trouble in Tahiti will be performed for the first time in a version made especially for Munich. This production by stage director Schorsch Kamerun will also mark a première here for the members of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra: under the direction of Kent Nagano, they will be making their first Munich appearance. Another work “under construction” has been commissioned by the Bavarian State Opera – Narcissus und Echo by Jay Schwartz will be given its world première in a scenic interpretation of Christiane Pohle on July 2 at the Allerheiligen Hofkirche (All Saints Court Church). An Audience with Adrienne: A Night at the Opera (première on July 3) invites the audience into the rehearsal rooms at the Nationaltheater, where day-in, day-out, people work on the creation of the enchanting and intoxicating world of opera.

The Marstall is also one of these construction sites: this is where a “Ring in Miniature” will come into being, at which not only operatic novices but also dyed-in-the-wool Wagnerians will really get their money’s worth. On July 06 (Rheingold), 07 (Walküre), 09 (Siegfried) and 10(Götterdämmerung), Stefan Kaminski, a free-lance actor, narrator and author, will present Kaminski on Air: Der Ring des Nibelungen, an entertaining, poetic and very spicy version of the tetralogy.
Festival Première: Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin

The idea of construction will also acquire a central significance at the Festival première of Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin. Elsa’s visions of social construction and her self-perception as an architect of ideals for the State of Brabant serve stage director Richard Jones as a Leitmotiv. He has also frequently surprised audiences at the Bavarian State Opera with his productions of Händel’s Giulio Cesare in Egitto, Tippett’s The Midsummer Marriage and Debusssy’s Pelléas et Mélisande. On July 5, the curtain will rise for the first time on this new production, for which Kent Nagano will provide the musical direction, in his tenth appearance on the podium of the Bavarian State Orchestra. Kent Nagano will conduct an élite ensemble including Jonas Kaufmann, who will be making his role début in the title part, Anja Harteros as Elsa, Wolfgang Koch as Telramund, Michaela Schuster as Ortrud and Christof Fischesser as King Heinrich.

Opera for All: Live Transmission of Lohengrin in Munich and Vienna

With Lohengrin, the Bavarian State Opera will be celebrating a première in several senses: for the first time, an audience will be able to see a live performance of a Festival première on a huge screen on Max-Joseph-Platz.

During every Festival summer since 1997, under the title “Opera for All”, the Bavarian State Opera in collaboration with the BMW Munich Subsidiary has been inviting its audience to attend a live transmission of an operatic performance from the Nationaltheater and an open-air concert by the Bavarian State Orchestra, thus opening the way for communication with a very wide section of the public. Free admission, the unmatchable atmosphere and the experience of top-class performers in optimum sound and picture quality make “Opera for All” a fixed highlight in Munich’s cultural life.

This year, the invitation to “Opera for All” is not only extended to the Munich audience. Somewhat later, at 9:30 P.M. the same evening, Lohengrin will have its second première in the magnificent setting in front of Vienna’s City Hall. For the first time, a satellite hook-up will make it possible to transmit an operatic performance in conjunction with the 2009 Film Festival to Vienna’s City Hall Square, which has attracted over a half-million spectators annually since 1991.

Opera for All: Festival Concert on Marstallplatz

In 2009 as well, the Munich Opera Festival will offer a richly varied concert program, framed by two evenings with General Music Director Kent Nagano: after the “Opera for All” Concert on June 28, there will be an all Beethoven program right before the end of the Festival on July 29. The soloist in Beethoven’s 4th Piano Concerto will be the internationally celebrated pianist Nikolai Lugansky.

A further highlight is a series of chamber music concerts (July 19-28): with different combinations of instruments and different program themes, musicians from the Bavarian State Orchestra will perform in the Allerheiligen Hofkirche and the Cuvilliéstheater. Six regular chamber music concerts and an all-star Duet Recital will build a bridge from the Viennese classic era to the 20th century.

On July 27, the Bavarian State Orchestra will again gather in symphonic formation on the stage of the Nationaltheater. Angela Gheorghiu will give a Gala Concert with selections from operas by Giuseppe Verdi, Giacomo Puccini, Gaetano Donizetti and other composers.

A new feature in the “under construction” programs an evening with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra: the young musicians will play works by Johann Strauß, Richard Wagner and Ferruccio Busoni in the under construction tent on Marstallplatz.

Débuts and Role Débuts (at the Bavarian State Opera)

Bertrand de Billy
Ariadne auf Naxos 7/13

Paul Charles Clarke
Stewa Buryia
Jenůfa 7/9

Angela Denoke
Wozzeck 7/17

Fabio Luisi
Falstaff 7/28

Michele Pertusi
Il Conte di Walter
Luisa Miller 7/23

Michael Volle
Falstaff 7/28

Published by the Press Office of the Bavarian State Opera
Dr. Ulrike Hessler, Contact: Susanne Lutz
Tel.: (+49/89) 2185-1021, Fax: (+49/89) 2185-1023