Munich Opera Festival 2023
The Munich Opera Festival is an internationally renowned institution. During the summer months, the programme condenses an immense density of opera repertoire, crème de la crème casts, several premieres and an audience travelling from all over the world, united in a unique programme and ambiance. Musical theatre with its finger on the pulse of the times is here to experience in all its facets. And the tradition is historical: Brought to life in 1875 as a “Festive Summer” with works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Richard Wagner, with architect Gottfried Semper, Ludwig ll embarked on the project to have a gigantic opera house built for the festival, which would later result in construction of the Prinzregententheater. Architect Max Littmann, famous for Munich’s Hofbräuhaus, was heavily influenced by the Bayreuther Festspielhaus – the “Prinze”, as the locals affectionately call it, was opened in 1901. The auditorium was planned without boxes, to champion theatres of the citizen, where all visitors would be equal. Along with an opera premiere and a ballet premiere in the Nationaltheater, the Prinzregententheater will be the venue for the Festival’s second opera premiere. Altogether and in very little time, several new productions of the respective season can be enjoyed bundled – the season’s magnifying glass as it were. “Opera for All”, a live outdoor opera broadcast from the Nationaltheater for several thousand people, has been a fixed component of the Festival for more than 25 years now. With numerous concerts (orchestra, chamber music and solo recitals), the result is an extended summer month, inviting one and all to extraordinary events on ordinary days, to experience culture at the highest possible level.
The 2023 Opera Festival unites new productions created on the basis of the current season’s guiding principles. Two apparently opposing complexes, war and love, are closely interwoven with one another: War and peace, love and hate, between peoples and nations, between religions, between lovers, between families, between tyrants and citizens, and in each individual person. To close the Opera Festival we focus on works by Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner, two antagonist composers in vision and temperament, at the helm of competing musical currents. With Aida, to be enjoyed as an “Opera for All” new production, Otello and Don Carlo by Verdi and Lohengrin, also a new production, Tristan and Isolde by Wagner, the programme features five of the world’s greatest operas. The state of love could not be considered more differentiated here. It becomes a wrestling of the Titans, a plea for love. The Festival’s two opera premieres, Hamlet by Brett Dean and Semele by Georg Frideric Handel, combine the earliest musical theatre with contemporary musical theatre. Further opera performances: War and Peace by Sergei S. Prokofiev, Così van tutte by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Dido and Aeneas / Expectation by Henry Purcell / Arnold Schönberg as further new productions of the current season and repertoire highlights such as Boris Godunov by Modest P. Mussorgsky and Salome by Richard Strauß. The ballet performance Heute ist Morgen with contemporary choreographies celebrates a premiere at the beginning of the Festival, complemented by the new productions, Schmetterling by Sol León and Paul Lightfoot and Tchaikovsky Overtures by Alexi Ratmansky.