The Royal Opera will be staging a production of Hans Werner Henze’s ‘concert-opera’ Phaedra at the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Theatre, London, in May.
Based on the Greek myth of the eponymous Cretan princess who falls in love with her stepson Hippolytus, Phaedra was German composer Henze’s final opera. German writer and poet Christian Lehnert wrote the libretto. It premiered in 2007 at the Berlin State Opera. Henze, who collapsed and suffered a two-month coma between writing the first and second acts, died just five years later.
This new production re-imagines the myth, placing Phaedra and Hippolytus (Hippolyt) at the centre of the action. It will be brought to life by the Royal Opera’s Jette Parker Young Artists (JPYA). This innovative programme supports the artistic development of young professional singers, conductors, directors and répétiteurs.
The Young Artists are an international group of outstanding professionals at the start of their careers who have undertaken formal training and may have already worked with professional companies. They are salaried employees of the Royal Opera House, who work there full-time over two years.
The opera is directed by Noa Naamat, an Israeli director who joined JPYA in the 2017-18 season. British-Russian Edmund Whitehead will conduct the Southbank Sinfonia; Whitehead joined the programme during this current 2018-19 season.
Chinese mezzo-soprano Hongni Wu sings the title role, with American soprano Jacquelyn Stucker as Aphrodite, American countertenor Patrick Terry as Artemis and Scottish-Iranian bass-baritone Michael Mofidian as the Minotaur (Minotaurus). New Zealand tenor Filipe Manu (who will join the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme in September) will play Hippolyt, in his Royal Opera debut.
Phaedra opens at the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Theatre on 15 May, with subsequent performances on 16, 18 and 20 May. See event details here.