The COC unveils its 2020/2021 season next Monday so, as in previous years I took a go at predicting what it might look like. This year operaramblings has abandoned traditional predictive methods such as animal sacrifice and hallucinogenic drugs in favour of handing all the data over to Cambridge Analytica. That didn’t work too well as they predicted a new opera based on Brexit and Putin being elected President of the USA. So it was back to the methodology we data scientists call “small data” where basically we make stuff up based on far too few data points. Here’s what emerged.
A couple of things have been announced so make a starting point. We know the Girard production of Parsifal is coming in the fall. The only question is will this be part of the season or, as originally announced, an extra. I have no indication apart from the COC’s general financial position which would lead me to suggest that we will get Parsifal +5 rather than Parsifal +6. The other announced piece is Ana Sokolovic’s The Old Fools. I suppose this could slip to fall 2021 but seems a good bet for earlier in the year. If it did slip the COC has a co-pro of Kaija Sariaaho’s Only the Sound Remains in the hopper which would be a handy fairly low budget replacement. I can’t see the COC doing Sariaaho and Sokolovic in the same season though.
The other co-pros in the works are a Bieito La forza del destino and a Kentridge Wozzeck. For all kinds of reasons I can’t see Wozzeck making the docket in the upcoming season but the Forza looks a decent bet.
So then it’s down to looking at patterns and rumours. Patternwise Madama Butterfly looks about due and the rumour mill suggests the 133rd revival of the tired old Brian MacDonald production. This would be regrettable in many ways but it gets Puccini and a revival onto the docket in a season that otherwise starts to look expensive and lacking in the “base, common and popular” department.
It’s hard to see there not being any Mozart for a second year running. The last time that happened was to accommodate a pair of Robert Carsen Gluck productions so I suppose a revival of one of those might be an alternative but I’m inclined to think they will go Wolfie. Don Giovanni is due but I doubt they will either revive the Tcherniakoff or stump up for a new production just yet. I think a revival of Idomeneo is more likely though saying that makes me wonder if the Carsen Orfeo isn’t more likely.
Looking at the balance of the season the likeliest filler is a bel canto piece. Of the ones the COC has in house Lucia di Lammermoor looks the likeliest. A revival of one of the Tudor operas this soon seems unlikely.
If there is a seventh show then I would assume it would have to be a fairly low budget revival and fairly mainstream. There really isn’t anything obvious. Gianni Schicchi on it’s own? With either Florentine tragedy or, wild idea, Erwartung? I really don’t know.
So, here’s my list:
New productions; Parsifal, The Old Fools (just maybe Only the Sound Remains), La forza del destino
Revivals; Madama Butterfly, Lucia di Lammermoor, Idomeneo (or maybe Orfeo)
Confidence level: Generally very low.