It is not just my South American debut tomorrow night - it is the first time I visit South America at all. It has been a truly fascinating experience to explore the magical city that Buenos Aires is, and to work in the renowned Teatro Colon to recreate our production of Wagner's youthful sin Das Liebesverbot. My assistant Barbara Lluch has done an incredible work with both casts, and it has been fantastic to come and put the finishing touches on the work. Das Liebesverbot is a surprisingly fun and light comedy, almost as if 24-year old Wagner was trying to write an operetta or an Italian comic opera. There are sudden glimpses of the Wagner he is later to become (and the lack of brevity and impossible demands on the singers are traits that are already well-developed!), but I hope the audience will first and foremost come to enjoy and take it as a fun satire on how hypocrisy thrives around - and in - all of us, on its own terms. Good luck to Maestro Oliver von Dohnányi, singers Lise Davidsen, Hernán Iturralde, Peter Lodahl & co!
My next new production to open will be "Carmen" at Bregenz Festival, on the amazing lake stage. Designing a show for that stage poses so many challenges and opportunities, and it has been a fascinating process to learn about changing water levels, about hiding loudspeakers, about keeping people safe at height and in water, and at the same time to stick to telling a story and designing a set that will be striking AND work as an acting arena. It has been a big secret what we were planning, but now it can't be kept secret much more - as after years of preparations Es Devlin's fantastic design is finally being built now on the lake in Bergen. To see it take shape, follow the webcam showing the progress - and come see the show when it opens late July 2017!
Watch our Insight Event at the Royal Opera House where I talk about preparations for Meistersinger together with my wonderful colleagues on the production Bryn Terfel, Rachel Willis-Sørensen, Gwyn Hughes Jones, Tony Pappano, Andrew Tortise and Susanna Stranders. We open on 11 March and are working hard on bringing out many of the wonderful complex layers and details of this piece. I talk about the inspiration for the production 57 mins into the event.
I had so much fun directing Wagner's early opera "Das Liebesverbot" at Teatro Real in Madrid last year, my first collaboration with the wonderful Ivor Bolton. The opera sounds like a Donizetti or Rossini in German, with the occasional hint of the Wagner he later became - and it is genuinely funny! It questions hypocrisy and seems extremely relevant to our time. I am so thrilled that it got filmed, and that is now available on a DVD from Opus Arte - before the production travels to Buenos Aires in 2017 and London in 2019.
Creating my new production of Wagner's "Flying Dutchman" with Finnish National Opera was a very intense and fulfilling experience. I worked really closely with the cast, not least Johan Reuter and Camilla Nylund, to find a truthful expression for this mythological drama. The production was seen as controversial by some, whilst others felt it had deep insights into Wagner's work. Now you can see for yourself, as it will be available to watch for free on Finnish Television YLE's homepage