The 109th season of the Estonian National Opera begins on 10 September
The Estonian National Opera will launch its new season with a three-day festival taking place from September 5 through September 7 introducing the new productions of the season and treat the audience to theatre-related goods. The first day of the festival is dedicated to ballet whilst the focus of the second day is on opera, operetta and musical. The festival will be wound up with a fair around the theatre building where you can buy tickets for the upcoming season, souvenirs, publications, CD-s, stage costumes, and set pieces of the Estonian National Opera. The line-up of performers will include the most outstanding soloists of the Estonian National Opera as well as the next generation of opera and ballet soloists: young singers and dancers from the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, and Tallinn Ballet School.
The season will kick off on September 10 with Donizetti’s comical opera “L’elisir d’amore”. As the first new production of the season, William Relton and Cordelia Chisholm from England will produce Handel’s opera “Rinaldo” scheduled to premiere on September 18. The stage director William Relton reminisces on his first encounter with the opera: “When I first saw “Rinaldo”, nothing had prepared me for the delight which I felt while watching this masterpiece for the first time. Gorgeous arias, a fabulous, extravagant plot, dramatic characters, all that one could wish for, were present!”
The season will continue on September 25 with the opera gala held traditionally on the International Music Day and known as “Vana Tallinn Gala” since 2013. In October, the Estonian National Opera will perform a series of ballets and operettas in Saaremaa. The festival “Estonian National Opera in Saaremaa” from October 12 through 16 will include – besides two ballet and operetta performances – also concerts of chamber music in counties and a pan-Saaremaa youth project that will be concluded with a festive concert performance. To top it all off, on three evenings (October 13–15), the Arensburg Boutique Hotel & Spa will open a thematic festival lounge where festival-goers are welcome after the performances to have a good time and a chat with the people involved in the festival. All in all, 250 staff members of the Estonian National Opera and three truckloads of decorations and costumes are scheduled to arrive in Saaremaa, and there are plans to set up a large stage at the Kuressaare Sports Hall.
On November 14, the ballet “The Sleeping Beauty” set to the beautiful score by Tchaikovsky will premiere at the Estonian National Opera. This is a new redaction by Thomas Edur with fairy-tale-like decorations by Peter Docherty from England. Charles Perrault created many of the most popular fairy tales in addition to “The Sleeping Beauty”, including “Cinderella”, “Little Red Riding Hood” and “Puss in Boots”. Many of these characters will appear in the last act of the ballet.
Opera gourmands will, no doubt, be fascinated by the concert performance of Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera “Snegurochka” (Estonian premiere!) on November 19 in the Estonia Concert Hall. The light-hearted spring-time fairy-tale featuring a confrontation between the worldly and phantasmagorical powers, and a fight against the supremacy of winter will be conducted by Vello Pähn.
Children are welcome to enjoy Maria Suominen’s musical play “Little Prince Hamlet” beginning from November 26 in the Chamber Hall of the Estonian National Opera. Kati Kivitar’s staging seems to take on a mission impossible – to retell the story of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” to schoolchildren in an understandable way and within one hour. This is done vivaciously and fancifully, combining various means of play with the means of music and drama theatre as well as puppet theatre. Theatrical diversity underlines a clear message – just like every child has sometimes wished to be a prince or a princess, royal heirs have wanted to be ordinary children with a normal life full of joy and studies as well as improve the world in their own small way.
To get us in the Christmas spirit, “Estonian National Opera Christmas Concert” will take place on December 21 in St John’s Church in Tallinn. The New Year will be seen in with the New Year’s Eve Ball full of beautiful operetta melodies and ballet etudes, and a chance to dance to our symphony orchestra. The first part of the evening will include excerpts from Kálmán’s operetta “Die Zirkusprinzessin” whilst the second part of the evening will feature highlights from the ballet “The Sleeping Beauty” by Tchaikovsky.
The New Year will be ushered in on January 3 by the premiere of Kálmán’s operetta “Die Zirkusprinzessin”. “Die Zirkusprinzessin” was last produced at the Estonian National Opera during the season 1963/64 by Georg Ots, who also sang the role of Mister X. This time, the operetta will be produced by the well-known German stage director Thomas Mittmann in collaboration with the artist Gilberto Giardini.
From January 6 through 12, the Estonian National Ballet will give five performances of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” at Teatro de la Maestranza in Seville, Spain.
In February, we will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. On this occasion, the orchestra of the Estonian National Opera will give a symphony concert on February 19.
The Chorus of the Estonian National Opera will deliver a series of concerts, including one at the Tallinn Town Hall to warm up the audience with wonderful melodies on Women’s Day.
As a spring-time highlight, we are glad to present on March 19 the premiere of John Cranko’s ballet “Onegin” set to the music of Tchaikovsky. The ballet will showcase Cranko’s superior talent for creating masterfully constructed and subtly nuanced pas de deuxs to express the intense relationship between the protagonists.
March 21 will mark the 95th anniversary of one of the most beloved and well-known members of the Estonian National Opera – the anniversary of Georg Ots will be celebrated with a grand gala concert. This spring is noted for another anniversary: the festival “The Great Tchaikovsky” will take place from April 15 through 19 to mark the 175th anniversary of the great Russian composer. The repertoire of the festival will include a selection of the composer’s diverse works: the opera “The Queen of Spades”, the ballet “The Sleeping Beauty”, a symphony concert and ballet gala as well as Cranko’s majestic dramatic ballet “Onegin” set to the composer’s music.
At the traditional ballet gala of the International Dance Day on May 3, ERGO Dance Awards will be presented to a female dancer and a male dancer.
As the last premiere of the season, Paul Hindemith’s opera “Cardillac” will open on May 14 for the first time in Estonia. The focal point of the opera is the relationship between the artist and the society. Besides the musical score, the opera is highly imaginative, intense and dramatic thanks to the intensity of the plot that runs all through the opera. Desire for beauty and following your inner drive can lead us to the dark side of life. Could we behave differently? Live differently? Does an artist, a human, follow anything but his inner drive?
The series of highlights will be concluded by the Tallinn Ballet School Gala on May 31.
In the first summer month, we shall welcome the luxurious cruise ship MS Deutschland with almost 500 opera lovers for a performance of “Tannhäuser” on June 19.
The season will be studded with the anniversaries of well-known members of the Estonian National Opera to be marked: Tõnu Kilgas’ on September 14 with “Die Csárdásfürstin”, Ülle Ulla’s on November 8 with “Cinderella”, Hendrik Krumm’s on December 20 with “La traviata”, Eldor Renter’s on April 16 with “The Queen of Spades” and Eino Tamberg’s on May 27 with “Cyrano de Bergerac”.