The Bavarian State Opera in Munich announced their 2011-12 season at a press conference this morning. A novelty worth imitating - a live chat feature on their website allowed Intendant Klaus Bachler and Music Director Kent Nagano to answer audience questions as well.
The heart of the season is a new Ring cycle directed by Andreas Kriegenburg and conducted by Nagano. This begins in February 2012 and culminates in two full cycles during the annual Festival in July. Excellent casting includes Klaus Florian Vogt as Siegmund, Anja Kampe as Sieglinde, Johan Reuter and Juha Uusitalo as Wotan, Lance Ryan as Siegfried, Wolfgang Koch as Alberich and Nina Stemme as Brünnhilde.
There are just two additional premieres. The first is Les Contes d'Hoffmann conducted by Constantinos Carydis and directed by Richard Jones. Rolando Villazón takes the title role and Diana Damrau all the female leads. According to the Munich website, this is an ENO co-production. though who knows if and when. And La Fura dels Baus produce a new Turandot with Jennifer Wilson as Turandot and Marco Berti as Calaf.
The rest of the season is not new, but it's strongly cast - though it has to be admitted some of the productions are showing their age. Jürgen Rose's plain but serviceable Don Carlo is revived under the baton of Asher Fisch, with a starry cast including Jonas Kaufmann, René Pape, Mariusz Kwiecien and Anja Harteros.
Vesselina Kasarova joins Anna Netrebko in I Capuleti e i Montecchi. Konwitschny's dodgy 'spin-class' Der fliegende Holländer reappears with Anja Kampe as Senta and Klaus Florian Vogt as Erik. The annual Gruberova-fest showcases the ageless diva in Christof Loy's Roberto Devereux, with Joseph Calleja in the title role. And to round things off there's La Cenerentola with Joyce DiDonato.