The Munich Opera Festival, founded in 1875, is really like no other in the world. Several productions from the regular season return for a couple of added performances, featuring many of opera’s greatest stars. The amazing 2021 season officially runs from 29th June – 31st July and there are some incredible operas and a plethora of stars during this time. We think that 2021 will be an extra special season!
Outside the National Theatre photo by Schlaier
Since its founding over 140 years ago, the Munich Opera Festival has lost nothing of its attraction: it is still a huge annual highlight and key destination for the discerning opera goer. When this wonderful international festival(with the richest history of its kind ) begins again at the end of June 2019, opera lovers from Munich, from Germany and from all over the globe will set out to share their enthusiasm for world class performance together.
In 1875 the Munich Opera Festival took place for the first time which can nowadays can be viewed as one of the most important opera festivals worldwide. It is now organised by the Bavarian State Opera and the Bavarian State Ballet and offers more than 30 opera performances, evening song recitals, concerts and ballet productions in truly splendid settings.
Venues in Munich at which the performances of the Opera Festival takes place include the National Theatre , the Prinzregententheater, the Cuvilliés-Theater,the Allerheiligen-Hofkirche and other venues. Besides opera, concerts of chamber music are also given. The festival is formally opened each year with a choral concert performed as part of a full Roman Catholic church service at Michaelskirche. A festival highlight is Opera for All, the live transmission of a full-length production from the theatre to an outdoor audience seated at the Max-Joseph-Platz.
Prinzregententheater photo by Bbb
2021 has a truly fantastic line up of world class stars to tantalise and entertain you and here are the opera highlights from this star studded festival!
2021 Festival Highlights
Tristan und Isolde
If one had to choose only one work to personify Love, a sentiment that has nourished and delighted opera and, during the Romantic era, irrigated its flesh and blood, it is likely that Tristan und Isolde by Richard Wagner would best fill the role.By probing the depths of the night, love and death, Wagner explores the mystic incarnation of unadulterated passion. It is the most full-blooded opera in the repertoire and the apotheosis of musical drama. Jonas Kaufmann stars as Tristran with Anja Harteros as Isolde.
Dates: 29 (17.00h) Jun 2021, 4, 8, 13, 31 ( all at 17.00h) Jul 2021.
Set in a world populated by dwarfs and giants, gods and river-maidens, Wagner’s Das Rheingold establishes the cycle in thrilling fashion, beginning with music that evokes the very dawn of time. John Lundgren stars as Wotan and Valery Gergiev conducts.
Dates: 30 (19.00h) Jun 2021, 3 (19.00h) Jul 2021.
Carl Maris Von Weber’s Der Freischütz (The free-shooter) is a convoluted tale of magic bullets, invisible spirits, and pacts with the devil. Its hair-raising Wolf Glen scene (the finale to act 2)—a landmark in orchestral tone painting— contains supernatural effects that are nearly impossible to realize. Today the opera is rarely staged except in Germany, but its overture remains one of Weber’s most popular orchestral works.
Dates: 2, 5 ( both at 19.00h) Jul 2021.
The Flying Dutchman
The Flying Dutchman is a one-act opera (though sometimes split into three) composed by Richard Wagner telling a scary story of a sailor and his daughter caught in a storm on the sea. It takes place off the coast of Norway during the 18th century. Powerful Welsh baritone Bryn Terfel stars in the title role.
Date: 7( 19.30h) Jul 2021.
Antonín Dvořák’s Rusalka is based on the Czech version of the classical fairy tale of a mermaid that falls in love with a human prince and wants nothing more than to become a human and live happily ever after. But in Dvořák’s opera, this happily ever after never happens as the story ends in tragedy. Still, “Rusalka” is Dvořák’s most famous and most played opera, no least because of the wonderful melodies and arias the story inspired. Kristine Opolais stars in the title role.
Dates: 10, 14 (both at 19.00h) Jul 2021.
The story of this three act opera is set in 13th-century Germany. The minnesinger Tannhäuser, having spent a year in the magical underground realm of Venus, the goddess of love, longs to return to the human world. This is the story of a knight-poet who is unable to choose between sacred love (Elisabeth) and profane love (Venus). Klaus Florian Vogt appears in the title role.
Date: 11 (17.00h) Jul 2021.
Turandot is Puccini’s final opera (unfinished at his death) and perhaps as a result, it is by far and away his most musically adventurous. As in Madama Butterfly, the score is filled with Asian touches, the percussion section in particular packed with gongs and various tuned instruments (xylophones, glockenspiels and the like). It is still, however, an Italian opera, with the outrageously titled Ping, Pang and Pong a spin on classic Commedia dell’arte characters. The incredible Anna Netrebko stars in the title role.
Dates: 12, 15( both at 19.00h) Jul 2021.
Le Nozze Di Figaro
The Marriage of Figaro is an opera classic; a work, which despite on the surface appearing to be a frothy farce, is deep down one of the most complete commentaries on the human condition ever to be performed on the stage. The opera is based on Pierre Caron de Beaumarchais’ controversial play Le Mariage de Figaro.
Dates: 16(19.00h), 18(18.00) Jul 2021.
The infamous three witches have a prophecy: Macbeth will be king. But royalty comes at a price. Verdi’s interpretations of Shakespeare’s iconic play is a blood-soaked journey to the thrones and a guilt-ridden descent into the depths of despair. Verdi’s life-long love affair with Shakespeare’s works began with Macbeth, a play he considered to be ‘one of the greatest creations of man’. With his librettist Francesco Maria Piave Verdi set out to create ‘something out of the ordinary’. Their success is borne out in every bar of a score that sees Verdi at his most theatrical: it bristles with demonic energy!
Dates: 19, 22 (both at 19.00h) Jul 2021
This is a rare treat! Idomeneo is Mozart’s greatest opera seria and his first dramatic masterpiece, yet for almost two centuries, between its premiere in Munich in 1781 and the 1950s, it was hardly performed at all. The opera tells the story of the ruler – Idomeneo’s returns form the Trojan wars.
Dates:19, 22, 24, 26 ( all at 19,00h) Jul 2021.
Verdi’s Otello is a grand masterpiece, it boils down Shakespeare’s play to its essentials and what it lacks in poetry it more than makes up for in music. Otello is based on Shakespeare’s play of 1603. Verdi pares down Shakespeare to four scenes cutting characters (no Brabantio or Bianca) and adding lovely operatic flourishes such as flower-ladies singing to Desdemona. He already had plenty to work with because with its malevolent evil, sexual jealousy, murder and suicide, Othello has all the ingredients of a music drama!
Dates: 21, 24 (both at 19.00h) Jul 2021.
Sonya Yoncheva & Malcolm Martineau
Following a series of spectacular debuts at the world’s leading opera houses, soprano Sonya Yoncheva has been heralded as one of the most acclaimed and exciting performers of her generation. She is accompanied by seasoned pianist Malcolm Martineau for this concert.
Date: 21(20.00h) Jul 2021.
With it’s intense story, provocative imagery and shattering music, Richard Strauss’s confrontational one-act opera stunned audiences at its premiere in 1905. Based on a notorious play by Oscar Wilde, Salome twists a Biblical story into a controversial exploration of adolescent passion, religion and secret desires. This powerful one act opera is bound to raise passions. Marlis Petersen appears in the title role.
Dates: 25( 19.00h) 28 ( 20.00h) Jul 2021.
Erwin Schrott in Concert
Uruguayan bass-baritone Erwin Schrott is one of the most exciting singers of our time and is universally regarded as today’s finest exponent of the major Mozart roles. He is appearing for one night only in Munich.
Date: 25 Jul 2021 at 20.00h
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
Richard Wagner’s grand opera in three acts, his only attempt at comedy, is rich in melody and takes as its subject the joyful art of songwriting itself, and the battle between tradition and novelty. It is among the longest operas commonly performed, usually taking around four and a half hours.It was written between 1862 and 1867 when Wagner was also working on his four-opera Ring cycle, and first performed on 21 June 1868 in Munich. Julia Kleiter stars as Eva.
What a truly wonderful season at the Munich Opera Festival!