David Alden's Semiramide wins Olivier Award for Best Opera Production
David Alden’s production of Semiramide for the Royal Opera has been announced as the winner of the Olivier Award for Best Opera Production. Semiramide premiered at Covent Garden in November 2017 with a cast including Joyce di Donato and Daniela Barcellona, who both received the Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera for their roles in the production.
The Olivier Awards are Britain's foremost theatrical honours, recognising excellence in professional theatre over the last year. The other nominees for the award were Richard Jones’ new production of La boheme and Thomas Ades’ Exterminating Angel.
“Alden is an energetic, imaginative and visually gifted director who has mastered the art of staging opera as post-modern pastiche. His productions are riots of diverse styles, symbols and analogies—including, as is so often the case with contemporary opera direction, ironic commentary on much that the characters sing—and some things they do not. Semiramide is no exception…"
Gidon Saks & David Alden nominated for Golden Mask Awards for Billy Budd
Gidon Saks and David Alden are nominated for Golden Mask Awards for their work in the Bolshoi’s production of Britten Billy Budd. Alden is nominated for Best Opera Director, his production for Best Opera Production, and Saks for Best Actor, for the role of John Claggart. Alden’s acclaimed production was co-produced by the Bolshoi, Deutsche Oper Berlin and English National Opera. The Golden Mask Awards are Russia’s highest honours for theatre and stage performance.
Saks is world renowned for his portrayal of Claggart, having sung the role all over the world, including for the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Opéra National de Paris, and on recording with the London Symphony Orchestra, which won a Grammy Award for the Best Opera Performance. This season he sings the role again for the Bolshoi as well as for Prague National Opera, and will also sing the title role in Battistelli Richard III for La Fenice.
Alden recently returned to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden with his new production of Rossini Semiramide, which premiered earlier this year at the Bayerische Staatsoper to critical acclaim. In 2018, his production of Lucia di Lammermoor can be seen at Norwegian National Opera, followed by his Maria Stuarda at Opernhaus Zurich, and his new Lohengrin, again for the Royal Opera House.
The Golden Mask Awards ceremony will take place on 15 April 2018.
David Alden's new production of Semiramide opens at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
David Alden returns to Covent Garden this month as the Royal Opera premieres his new production of Rossini Semiramide on 19 November 2017. Alden's production, the Royal Opera's first of the opera, is conducted by Sir Antonio Pappano and stars Joyce DiDonato in the title role alongside Daniela Barcellona and Lawrence Brownlee.
Alden describes Semiramide as "hard and political, almost as if it is carved out of stone, and what lies beneath is like a Greek tragedy". He gives the opera a 20th-century setting, in which Semiramide rules an authoritarian state.
Alden's production is a co-production with the Bayersiche Staatsoper, where it opened in May 2017 to critical acclaim:
“Alden is an energetic, imaginative and visually gifted director who has mastered the art of staging opera as post-modern pastiche. His productions are riots of diverse styles, symbols and analogies—including, as is so often the case with contemporary opera direction, ironic commentary on much that the characters sing—and some things they do not. The Munich Semiramide is no exception…"
Semiramide runs until 16 December.
Rebecca de Pont Davies sings Auntie in David Alden’s Peter Grimes in Lisbon
Rebecca de Pont Davies takes the stage at Teatro Nacional de São Carlos on 30 May 2017 for the house's revival of David Alden's 2009 production of Britten Peter Grimes.
Alden's production was most recently revived at English National Opera in 2014, with Alden and de Pont Davies receiving critical acclaim:
“Alden’s reading…makes for potent theatre…The extremity of the conception, the director’s powers of theatrical invention, the simplicity of the settings – these features keep attention on the poisonous social atmosphere…The production is a knockout.”
“Rebecca de Pont Davis's androgynous Auntie [was] particularly outstanding.”
Peter Grimes runs 30 May until 7 June.
David Alden returns to the Bayerische Staatsoper to direct new production of Rossini Semiramide
David Alden returns to the Bayerische Staatsoper this month to direct a new production of Rossini Semiramide, which opens on 12 February 2017. The production, a co-production with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, is conducted by Michele Mariotti and stars Joyce Di Donato in the title role.
With this production, Alden continues his close association with the Bayerische Staatsoper. During the 2006 Munich Opera Festival, the Bayerische Staatsoper celebrated the relationship by showcasing his productions of Ariodante, La Callisto, La forza del Destino, L'incoronazione di Poppea, Orlando, Rinaldo, Rodelinda and Tannhäuser.
Semiramide runs until 3 March, and the premiere will be broadcast live by BR-Klassik.
David Alden's Billy Budd performed at the Bolshoi Theatre with Gidon Saks as Claggart
David Alden’s critically acclaimed production of Britten Billy Budd debuts at the Bolshoi Theatre on 25 November 2016. William Lacey conducts a cast including Intermusica’s Gidon Saks as John Claggart and bass Robert Lloyd as Dansker.
Alden's production of Billy Budd premiered to great acclaim at English National Opera in 2012:
“This story is timelessly relevant, and he tells it stomach-churningly...Billy Budd is Britten’s most harrowing opera, and the black despair evoked by Alden harrows as rarely before.”
Sunday Times, June 2012
“... grimly atmospheric staging... Mr. Alden is going for psychological, not scenic, realism, and once I made the adjustment, I was swept up.”
New York Times, June 2012
“All were wholly committed to the production, one of the best things that David Alden has done for ENO, which is really saying something...”
Opera, August 2012
David Alden’s future highlights include a new production of Rossini Semiraminde at the Bayerische Staatsoper with Joyce di Donato in the title role.
David Alden’s new production of Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots opens at Deutsche Oper Berlin
David Alden directs a new production of Meyerbeer’s Les Huguenots, opening at Deutsche Oper Berlin on 13 November 2016. Les Huguenots the central work of Deutsche Oper’s Meyerbeer cycle of new stagings of his works. Michele Mariotti conducts a cast including Patrizia Ciofi and Juan Diego Flórez.
David Alden has previously directed productions of Billy Budd and Peter Grimes at Deutsche Oper Berlin; he returns in May 2017 with a revival of his Billy Budd.
… a unanimous success… David Alden’s production is so powerful because it points back to the fundamental components of the piece.”
The Epoch Times, January 2013
There are further performances of Les Huguenots on 17, 20, 23, 26 and 29 November, and also 29 January and 4 February 2017. For more information, visit the Deustche Oper Berlin website.
Gregory Kunde stars as Verdi's Otello in David Alden’s production at Teatro Real
Gregory Kunde returns to the Teatro Real in Madrid from 15 September 2016 to sing the title role in David Alden’s production of Verdi Otello, which received great critical acclaim when premiered at English National Opera in 2014:
“…a show bristling with fervour and the musico-dramatic intensity that once had people flocking to the Coliseum, and should do so again….David Alden’s staging is… compelling and cogent”
Times, September 2014
“… a ferocity to lift you out of your seat…this was ENO at its near-world-class best.”
Sunday Times, September 2014
Kunde has also been praised for his performances of Otello, a role he sings again at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden later this season:
“In this mythical role where power and heroism are the absolute pain caused by jealousy, Gregory Kunde is exceptional.”
Concert Classic, August 2015
"With unfailing musicality he sings (no sheltering in parlato) the role throughout; his command of technique, along with convincing acting skills, ensures an impressive portrait."
Opera, July 2015
Otello runs at the Teatro Real until 3 October.
"An interpretation that seeps under your skin": Mark Wigglesworth & David Alden triumph with Jenůfa at English National Opera
Mark Wigglesworth and David Alden have received rave reviews for their interpretation of Janáček Jenůfa at English National Opera, which opened on 23 June 2016.
Alden directed the revival of his Olivier Award-winning production from 2006, with Mark Wigglesworth again conducting the ENO orchestra following widely-praised performances of The Magic Flute, The Force of Destiny and Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk.
"What [Wigglesworth] offers is a deeply humane performance... This is Janáček done slowly and lyrically, with the emphasis placed on the score’s dark poetry and depth of musical and psychological detail. The opera’s passion and compassion burn fiercely yet lingeringly: this is an interpretation that seeps under your skin rather than hits you in the solar plexus and is unquestionably all the more powerful for it... the sexual, emotional and religious resonances are wonderfully explored and delineated throughout. The ending, in which Jenůfa and Laca finally move towards their first embrace, is a moment of real and genuine hope in a tragically jaded world."
"David Alden’s uncompromisingly unvarnished staging of Janácek’s opera... still searingly potent... Mark Wigglesworth finds a dark lyricism and an immense sadness in the music."
"This is the second revival of David Alden’s 2006 production of Jenůfa, and it remains as grim and emotionally shattering as before... Mark Wigglesworth shapes a taut account of the score. Right from the searing, bittersweet opening, the music’s warmth and humanity speak directly. Even the most flawed characters are given the benefit of musical nuance."
"David Alden’s production from 2006 knows what it is doing... Alden heightens the realism of the story with flashes of harsh psychological lighting and emotions that glare with their intensity... [Wigglesworth] conducts a personal performance... it certainly lands a punch."
"David Alden’s brilliantly effective production... [Wigglesworth] gives an unbearably moving account of the score"
"A revival of David Alden’s terrific 2006 production of Janacek’s Jenůfa that seems even more heart-rending than before... Wigglesworth has an extraordinary grasp of this score and the orchestra play their hearts out for him... But what Wigglesworth also realises so successfully is the accumulating tension of the act, through to a chilling final curtain. Alden’s production convincingly relocates the action to a bleak 20th-century industrial estate in the Eastern bloc; intensely focused, it has surreal touches and engages with the music to overwhelming effect."
"The fourth unqualified triumph for Mark Wigglesworth this season... The ever more amazing players of the ENO Orchestra under Wigglesworth capture the best of all possible worlds... Wigglesworth makes infinite distinction between the quieter dynamics, summed up by his subtly escalating emphasis on the two heart-surging violin phrases launching the final scene. But there's also the sheer,well-earthed power... with curtains to all three acts as electrically charged as Mackerras used to make them.... Alden makes the violence of the community's reaction terrifyingly palpable."
Alden shows us that the characters are never isolated in their torments; the drama is one of human interaction, conflict and reconciliation. And, while realists among contemporary critics may have worried about the optimistic ending of Preissová’s play, here the final, heart-wrenching embrace of Laca and Jenůfa heals all wounds."
"Mark Wigglesworth and the ENO Orchestra played out of their skins, not only extracting every ounce of beauty from the music but also every ounce of meaning... David Alden's direction is most notable for his getting very strong acting performances from every one of his singers and for his mastery of the claustrophobic attitudes of the Moravian village... Unmissable."
"Alden’s production – back at ENO for its second revival – has a remarkable coherence... The other factor that succeeds, at times brilliantly, in Alden’s favour is Mark Wigglesworth’s tailoring of the score to suit the size of the production... Wigglesworth supported the English translation so that it sounded as fluent as the Czech the composer set."
Jenůfa runs at English National Opera until 8 July.
Mark Wigglesworth conducts David Alden's award winning Jenůfa at English National Opera
Mark Wigglesworth returns to English National Opera this month to conduct the opening night of David Alden's Olivier Award-winning production of Janáček Jenufa on 23 June 2016.
Wigglesworth conducts a cast that includes Laura Wilde in the title role, Michaela Martens as Kostelnička, Peter Hoare as Laca Klemeň and Nicky Spence as Števa Buryja.
Alden's production of Jenufa was first performed in 2006 and won an Olivier Award for Best New Opera Production. In a five-star review, the Times wrote that it was "a show that everyone should see".
David Alden makes Teatro Real debut with acclaimed production of Alcina
David Alden makes his house debut at the Teatro Real, Madrid, when directs his acclaimed production of Handel’s Alcina on 27 October 2015. Alden's production of Alcina is a co-production with the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux, which performed the work to great success in 2012:
“No one has captured the ambivalence, that is to say the pernicious sensuality and cruel irony, of Handel’s dramas better than David Alden. In Bordeaux, he thrusts Alcina into the meanders of an eminently personal universe, somewhere between disaffected theatre and macabre laboratory.”
Alta Musica, May 2012
Performances of Alcina run until 8 November.
Further highlights for Alden this season include Rossini Maometto II at the Canadian Opera Company and a return to English National Opera to revive his award-winning Janácek Jenůfa.
David Alden directs new production of The Queen of Spades for English National Opera
David Alden will direct a new production of Tchaikovsky's The Queen of Spades for English National Opera from 6 June to 2 July 2015. The company’s first production of the opera in over 20 years, The Queen of Spades will be conducted by Edward Gardner and features a cast that includes Dame Felicity Palmer as the Countess, Peter Hoare as Hermann, Giselle Allen as Lisa and Nicholas Pallesen as Prince Yeletsky.
Based on a short story by Pushkin, Tchaikovsky’s opera about greed and obsession is packed with soaring melodies and sumptuous orchestration. This new production from Gardner and Alden follows their critically acclaimed collaborations on Otello and Peter Grimes, and will be Gardner’s final production as Music Director of the ENO.
David Alden revives acclaimed Un Ballo in Maschera at the Metropolitan Opera
David Alden returns to the Metropolitan Opera, New York on 23 April to revive his acclaimed production of Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera.
Tenor Piotr Beczala sings King Gustavo for the first time at the Met in his very first collaboration with conductor and Metropolitan Opera Music Director James Levine. Sondra Radvanovsky, Dolora Zajick, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky will reprise their acclaimed interpretations in the revival of Alden’s film noir-inspired production, which will run until 9 May.
David Alden directs Mussorgsky’s Khovanschina at Vlaamse Opera, Antwerp
Following on from his “flawless” (Independent, September 2012) new production of Otello at the English National Opera, David Alden directs another new production this autumn; Mussorgsky’s Khovanschina at Vlaamse Opera, Antwerp. Opening on 31 October, the production will be conducted by Dmitri Jurowski and runs until 2 December.
Further highlights for Alden this season include a revival of Un Ballo in Maschera at the Metropolitan Opera, New York, and a new production of Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades for the English National Opera.
David Alden’s Otello opens at English National Opera
David Alden directs a new production of Verdi’s Otello at English National Opera, opening on 13 September, marking the 450th anniversary year of Shakespeare’s birth.
Following the success of his recent production of Peter Grimes, this production sees Alden reunite with ENO Music Director Edward Gardner and tenor Stuart Skelton who sings the title role for the first time.
The production runs for ten performances, closing on 17 October.
Upcoming highlights for Alden include a production of Mussorgsky’s Kovanschchina with De Vlaamse Opera in Antwerp and Ghent and a return to the Metropolitan Opera, New York.
Gidon Saks stars in David Alden's Billy Budd at Deutsche Oper Berlin
Gidon Saks takes the role of Claggart in Britten’s Billy Budd on 22 May at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, in a co-production directed by David Alden.
Gidon Saks sings the role of John Claggart for his house debut at Deutsche Oper Berlin. Saks has previously sung the role of Claggart to great acclaim, notably on the London Symphony Orchestra recording of the work under the baton of Daniel Harding, with his performance described the Guardian as “arguably the finest performance of the role for some years”.
David Alden's Billy Budd was premiered at English National Opera in June 2012 to critical acclaim:
“Alden universalises this indictment of brutality and oppression…This story is timelessly relevant, and he tells it stomach-churningly...The Vere-Claggart relationship is fascinatingly explored in Alden’s staging...Billy Budd is Britten’s most harrowing opera, and the black despair evoked by Alden harrows as rarely before.”
Hugh Canning, Sunday Times
Billy Budd opens on 22 May and runs until 6 June, and is conducted by Donald Runnicles.
David Alden’s new production of La Gazza Ladra opens at Oper Frankfurt
David Alden’s new production of Rossini's La Gazza Ladra will open at Oper Frankfurt on 30 March, conducted by Henrik Nánási. The cast includes Sophie Bevan, Franz Mayer, Katarina Leoson and Francisco Brito. Further performances will take place on 4, 6, 12, 17, 20, 26 April and 4 May.
This follows on from the revival of Alden's production of Peter Grimes with the English National Opera. The production, featuring seven Intermusica singers amongst the cast, has again received sensational reviews:
Tim Ashley, Guardian, January 2014
“Alden manages to create an overwhelming sense of theatrical intensity.”
Hugo Shirley, January 2014
“… electrifying revival of David Alden’s revelatory production of Britten’s masterpiece.”
Arts Desk, January 2014
David Alden directs a trio of early Verdi Operas at the Hamburg State Opera
David Alden directs a trio of early Verdi operas at the Hamburg State Opera this autumn, to celebrate the 200 years since the birth of the composer.
La Battaglia di Legnano opens on 20 October, followed by I due Foscari on 27 October and I Lombardi alla prima Crociata on 10 November.
Conducted by Simone Young, Alden’s production includes set designs by Charles Edwards and choreography by Maxine Braham.
Performances of all three operas will run throughout the end of October and November.
Following this, Alden returns to English National Opera with his critically acclaimed production of Peter Grimes, and later this season returns to Oper Frankurt and Deutsche Oper Berlin.
Intermusica singers lead cast of David Alden's Peter Grimes at English National Opera
Following its five-star sell-out success in 2009 and at the BBC Proms in 2012, David Alden’s acclaimed production of Britten’s Peter Grimes returns to English National Opera on 29 January 2014. Conducted by Edward Gardner, Peter Grimes boasts much of its original cast including seven Intermusica singers, many of whom are seasoned interpreters of their respective roles. The staging will also be the first ENO production to be screened cinemas worldwide, beginning with a live stream on 23 February.
Iain Paterson’s debut as Captain Balstrode at the BBC Proms in 2012 was described as “sensationally sung” (Guardian) and he returns to this same role, and production, at the Coliseum this January. Captain Balstrode is a role Paterson has also sung to great success at the Wiener Staatsoper, where he made his house debut earlier this season under the baton of Graeme Jenkins. Later this season, Paterson returns to the role of Wotan in his first staged production of Wagner’s Die Walküre for Houston Grand Opera, following on from his highly acclaimed first Wotan in Das Rheingold at the Proms 2013 under Daniel Barenboim.
Rebecca De Pont Davies once again sings the role of Auntie in Alden’s production, a role she has previously sung at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Opera Ovideo and Vlaamse Opera to great critical acclaim, with the Daily Telegraph’s Rupert Christianson commenting that she “almost steals the show with her electrifyingly sinister Auntie". De Pont Davies will go on to sing this role again for Grange Park Opera later this season, while also returning to the Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris, for Jack’s Mother in Sondheim’s Into the Woods.
Dame Felicity Palmer returns to one of her signatures roles as Mrs Sedley, and one she has performed at the Metropolitan Opera, New York, with Donald Runnicles and most recently at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Rome, under the baton of Antonio Pappano. She was also part of the cast at ENO in 2009 and at the BBC Proms 2012, where her performance was described by the Guardian as, “the most terrifying Mrs Sedley imaginable.”
Matthew Best sings the role of Swallow, a role he has sung to in recent years at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Opera Oviedo, ENO, at the BBC Proms and at Santa Cecilia. This revival at ENO follows his house debut at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow as the Grand Inquisitor in Verdi’s Don Carlos.
Michael Colvin sings the role Bob Boles, of which he another regular performer, including most recently for the critically acclaimed concerts with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Vladimir Jurowski at the Royal Festival Hall, London, and Symphony Hall, Birmingham. Colvin continues the 2013/14 season as Joaquino Fidelio with Le Cercle de l’Harmonie under Intermusica conductor Jérémie Rhorer.
Leigh Melrose returns to the role of apothecary Ned Keene, his interpretation of which was described as “fittingly dark and sinister” by Opera Today following his performance at the BBC Proms 2012. An authority on the performance of twentieth-century vocal repertoire, as well as several acclaimed performances of contemporary repertoire this season Melrose also sang the title role in Britten’s Noye’s Fludde with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in November 2013 as part of the Britten centenary celebrations.
Current ENO Harewood artist Mary Bevan sings the role of Second Niece. This follows her ENO performances of Papagena The Magic Flute in November, and as Despina Così fan tutte opening in May.
Stuart Skelton takes the title role of Peter Grimes while Elza van den Heever sings the role of Ellen Orford. After opening on 29 January, further performances take place on 1, 6, 8, 14, 21 23 and 27 February.