London’s Royal Opera House (ROH) has announced details of its 2023-24 season. The programme comprises eight new productions as well as a raft of revivals of old favourites.

The autumn season opens with two landmark productions across both of ROH’s stages. The Main Stage sees Royal Opera music director Antonio Pappano collaborate with director Barrie Kosky for the first time for a bold reimagining of Das Rheingold (1869; 11-29 September), the first chapter of Wagner’s Ring Cycle (1876).

When a precious hoard of gold is stolen from the river Rhine, it unleashes a chain of destructive events, pitting gods and mortals against one another for generations.

This new production marks the start of a complete new Ring Cycle for the Royal Opera. The outstanding cast includes English baritone Christopher Maltman as Wotan and English bass-baritone Christopher Purves as Alberich.

The UK premiere of Picture a Day Like This (2023; 22 September-10 October) will take place in the Linbury Theatre. With music by George Benjamin and text by Martin Crimp, in this major new work, the death of her infant child sets in motion one woman’s search for a life-restoring miracle. All she needs to do – in the course of a single day – is find one genuinely happy human being.

Corinna Niemeyer conducts the young cast which includes Macedonian-Canadian mezzo-soprano Ema Nikolovska as The Woman. Daniel Jeanneteau and Marie-Christine Soma share directing duties.

The Royal Opera’s exploration of Handel’s Covent Garden works continues with a new production of his oratorio Jephtha (1752; 8-24 November).

The story revolves around Jephtha’s rash promise to the Almighty that if he is victorious, he will sacrifice the first creature he meets on his return. He is met by his beloved daughter Iphis. However, an angel intervenes to stop the sacrifice, and Iphis only needs to dedicate her life to the Lord.

This new production is staged by director of the Royal Opera Oliver Mears and is conducted by Handel specialist Laurence Cummings. British tenor Allan Clayton performs the title role, joined by a cast including British soprano Jennifer France, British mezzo-soprano Alice Coote and British bass Brindley Sherratt.

Christoff Loy’s new adaptation of Strauss’s Elektra (1909; 12-30 January 2024) also marks Antonio Pappano’s final new production as the Royal Opera’s music director. The cast includes Swedish soprano Nina Stemme in the title role and Finnish soprano Karita Mattila as Queen Klytämnestra.

Klytämnestra has murdered her husband, King Agamemnon, but now lives in fear that her crime will be avenged by her other children: Elektra, Chrysothemis and their banished brother Orest.

In May 2024, a Farewell Gala Concert for Antonio Pappano will see a stellar cast of soloists perform alongside the Chorus and Orchestra in celebration of his 23-year tenure. Pappano will then lead a cast that includes his long-time collaborator Jonas Kaufmann, and Sondra Radvanovsky and Carlos Álvarez, in a revival of David McVicar’s staging of Giordano’s Andrea Chénier (30 May-11 June 2024).

The Royal Opera will collaborate with Fuel to present the world premiere of Woman & Machine (6-16 March 2024). This ground-breaking binaural opera from Mercury-nominated songwriter ESKA is directed by Kirsty Housley. It charts ESKA’s three-month experience in the neonatal unit of King’s College Hospital when her daughter was born at just 26 weeks.

The 2024 season sees a new production of Bizet’s ever-popular Carmen (1875; 5 April-31 May). Russian mezzo-sopranos Aigul Akhmetshina and Vasilisa Berzhanskaya share the title role in Damiano Michieletto’s contemporary staging. Antonello Manacorda and Emmanuel Villaume share conducting duties.

Also new is a double-bill (24 April-4 May) from the Jette Parker Artists. Eleanor Burke directs Martinů’s surreal one-act opera Larmes de couteau (Tears of the Knife, 1928), while Harriet Taylor directs John Harbison’s adaptation of text from WB Yeats’s Full Moon in March (1977). Both works are conducted by Edward Reeve, who will lead the Britten Sinfonia.

The final new production of the 2023-24 season is Vivaldi’s 1734 opera L’Olimpiade at the Linbury Theatre from 13-25 May 2024. A collaboration with the Irish National Opera, the production is directed by Daisy Evans, with conductor Peter Whelan leading the Irish Baroque Orchestra.

This baroque rarity sees a host of sporting suitors compete for the hand of Princess Aristea at the Olympics.

The Christmas period sees two favourites return to the ROH stages. The Linbury Theatre will host Little Bulb’s Oliver award-winning Wolf Witch Giant Fairy (2021; 11 December 23-6 January 24), while Antony McDonald’s production of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel (1893; 16 December 23-7 January 24), newly translated into English by Kelley Rourke, will appear on the main stage.

The season features several further much-loved revivals including Christof Loy’s version of La Forza del Destino (The Power of Fate, Verdi, 1862), Laurent Pelly’s L’elisir d’amore (The Elixir of Love, Donizetti, 1832), Oliver Mears’s Rigoletto (Verdi, 1851), Damiano Michieletto’s double-bill Cavalleria rusticana (Rustic Chivalry, Mascagni, 1890)/Pagliacci (Clowns, Leoncavallo, 1892), Richard Jones’s production of La bohème (The Bohemians, Puccini, 1896), Jonathan Kent’s Tosca (Puccini, 1900), Tim Albery’s production of Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman (1843), Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s Madama Butterfly (Puccini, 1904), Katie Mitchell’s version of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor (1835), and Jan Philipp Gloger’s production of Così fan tutte (Women are Like That, Mozart, 1790).

Tickets for all 2023 performances are on sale now. Full cast, date, pricing and on-sale dates are available from the Royal Opera House.



Rehearsals are underway for the Royal Opera’s new production of Wagner’s Das Rheingold; American bass Soloman Howard sings Fafner (ROH 2023 © Marc Brenner).