Opera season opens with Verdi tribute and host of unknowns

Slovak soprano, Edita Gruberova, is one of the international stars on the opera circuit. Keystone / Niklaus Strauss

The Swiss opera season opens in September with a host of new productions, ranging from a season of Verdi to rare and radical operas - including two by Swiss composers - featuring international stars, such as the Slovak soprano, Edita Gruberova.

This content was published on August 31, 2000 minutes

Theatres across Switzerland will stage a dozen Verdi productions to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Italian composer's death in 1901. The line-up includes favourites such as La Traviata, Don Carlo, Nabucco and Il Trovatore.

Another highlight of the season for traditionalists will be a new production at Geneva Opera House of "Siegfried", the third opera in Richard Wagner's "Ring of the Nibelung" cycle.

Meanwhile, other opera houses - Zurich, Berne, Lausanne and Lucerne - will be vying to see who can be the most radical with bold new programmes featuring lesser-known and unknown productions.

The Zurich opera, best-known for its innovative productions, will stage the obscure "Leonora" (1804) by the Italian, Ferdinando Paer.

The opera is based on the same prison story as its famous counterpart, Beethoven's "Fidelio", as well as "Beatrice di Tenda" by Bellini with Gruberova in the title role, Schubert's "Alfonso et Estrella" (1822) and 20th century Italian composer Italo Montemezzi's modern opera, "The Love of Three Kings".

Berne will stage a rare rendition of Swiss composer Gerard Zinstag's "Ubu Cocu". It's based on Alfred Jarry's drama and the Swiss feminist opera, "Freispruch für Medea" (Acquittal for Medea), by the late Swiss composer, Rolf Lebermann, and takes a contemporary look at the Greek tragedy of Euripides in which Medea kills her two sons.

Berne will also offer a new chamber opera production of the Russian Grigory Frid's "The Diary of Anne Frank" (1968) and Norwegian composer Hans Gefors' opera, "Clara". Gefors' opera - first performed last year in France - is a thriller about a girl who discovers her whole family is involved in crime.

Lausanne is staging three rarely-performed operas: Gabriel Faure's "Penelope", Francesco Cavalli's "Didone" and Benjamin Britten's "Le Viol de Lucrece".

Visitors to Lucerne will be able to see the obscure Baroque opera "Don Quichotte" by Joseph Bodin de Boismortier, as well as Italian 20th century composer, Luciano Berio's "Un Re in Ascolto", based on a libretto by Italo Calvino.

swissinfo with agencies

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

Contributions under this article have been turned off. You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

Share this story

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?