Royal Opera welcomes back Bryn Terfel for Wagnerian reprise at Covent Garden
When Bryn Terfel pulled out of Wagner's Ring cycle last year, the Royal Opera House issued an unusually terse statement, expressing "shock and surprise" at his decision.
But yesterday the Welsh bass baritone was welcomed back to Covent Garden with open arms as the ROH announced he would be singing the title role in its forthcoming production of The Flying Dutchman, the first of Wagner's great operas, which opens in February 2009.
A week into the eight-week rehearsal period for what was to be the first full staging of the Ring cycle in London for more than a decade last autumn, Terfel pulled out, citing a "particularly stressful family situation". His youngest son had broken a finger.
The ROH released a statement which spoke of the "disappointment" that Terfel's withdrawal would bring to audience members, who had paid up to £212.50 a ticket for each of the four instalments.
Antonio Pappano, the ROH's musical director, who conducted the cycle, let bygones be bygones yesterday: "All singers at some point in their careers have blips. I don't think this was more than a blip. We wish him well. He's a great artist."
He added: "In the heat of the moment there was a strong reaction, because we had a strong reaction on the day. Time heals those kinds of things and we're continuing to plan with him."
But, at the unveiling of the 2008-09 season, Mr Pappano promised that the ROH would not be focused entirely on big-name stars and that the orchestra would "get out of the pit".
In November, to mark the 90th anniversary of Armistice Day, he is to conduct a concert performance of Benjamin Britten's War Requiem at the Royal Albert Hall. The tenor Ian Bostridge will take on the part of the English soldier, while the American baritone Thomas Hampson will sing the German soldier. The production will be repeated in Birmingham next year. Next March, the musical director will also conduct Verdi's Requiem in Covent Garden and Birmingham.
Tony Hall, the ROH chief executive, announced that the top ticket prices would rise from £195 to £210, although this will only affect three productions – The Flying Dutchman, La Traviata and Tosca. While overall prices will rise with inflation, 40 per cent of the seats in the main house will cost £30 or less, amounting to 260,000 seats over the course of the season – 43,000 more of the cheaper seats than in 2007-08.
Other highlights include the return of Juan Diego Flórez, the star of last year's La Fille du Regiment. He is starring in The Barber of Seville as well as singing the part of Corradino in the rarely heard opera Matilde Di Shabra. The role made him an overnight sensation when he sang it at the Rossini Opera Festival in 1996. Ian McEwan's first opera libretto, for Michael Berkeley's new opera For You, will have its London premiere at the ROH. The opera explores the sexual jealousy which tears apart the comfortable household of an ageing but charismatic composer.
Mr Hall also revealed more details about the ROH's plans to show up to 14 of its productions a year in cinemas around the UK, having struck a deal with its musicians to make high-definition digital recordings after 18 months of talks. The first two films, The Marriage of Figaro and Sylvia, starring Darcey Bussell, will be screened in around 40 cinemas from next month, with tickets priced at £10-12.
GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival
TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride
FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Cyclist who knocked down three-year-old girl says his life has been 'destroyed'
- 2 A politically correct lefty goes to see Top Gear live – you'll probably believe what happened next
- 3 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 4 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
- 5 Snoop Dogg on why he doesn't regret displaying misogyny towards women
Art Garfunkel calls Paul Simon a 'monster' with a Napoleon complex
Eurovision 2015 winner: Sweden beats Russia and Italy to take the title from Conchita Wurst
Dheepan, film review: Palme d'Or prize goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
Game of Thrones, The Gift, Season 5, Episode 7: Why two of the show’s most iconic characters just met
Eurovision 2015: Estonia seemingly enters Louis Tomlinson from One Direction
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland