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
My final production in London as Director of Opera at ROH will be Wagner's "Meistersinger", and I am of course thrilled to be doing this amazing and complex work at ROH, with Tony Pappano, Bryn Terfel and all the rest of a wonderful cast. "Meistersinger" is a very special challenge, as it weaves a lot of characters together in a subtle and delicate way, constantly shifting the point-of-view and maybe suggesting that art itself is the lead character. The piece looks at the relationship between artists and audiences, and I will certainly be drawing on my own experiences in trying to make the opera come alive in a truthful way. But "Meistersinger" is a comedy as well as being quite profound, and it all needs to be done with charm and quite subtle. The devil is in the detail, I think - making the acting, the characters all interesting and convincing. Am now doing the final preparations before starting rehearsals in two weeks. The piece is long and we only have six weeks, so it will be full speed as soon as we get started. Stay tuned.