COC 2023/24??

2-saul-and-the-witch-of-endor-benjamin-westSo the COC will announce the upcoming season on the 23rd. I’m really hesitant to try and predict what might be in it because with the change of management and the COVID hangover old patterns don’t seem to mean much anymore. But here goes anyway.

Last year they did one new production and five revivals.  I can’t see them doing that again.  But then, finances being what they are I’d be surprised if they did more than two new shows.  There’s a hot rumour that one of those will be Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen.  It makes sense if it’s true.  It hasn’t been done by the COC since 1998, it’s a relatively easy sell and there are a bunch of recent productions out there for the COC to choose from thus avoiding creating one from scratch.

There are several COC co-pros and commissions floating out there.  The commissions include The Old Fools by Ana Sokolović, and La Reine-Garçon by Julien Bilodeau.  I would be surprised if we saw either of these anytime soon.  There are a bunch of co-pros.  Probably the most obvious would be the Roberrt Carsen production of Mozart’s Idomeneo.  The COC last did Idomeneo in 2009 and the Carsen production is very good indeed.  Another option, which is a harder sell, but cheap since it only uses two singers and chamber orchestra is Kaija Sariaaho’s Only the Sound Remains.  I suspect that’s too risky for the current management but we’ll see.

So we would need to find four revivals.  I think La Bohème is a virtual certainty.  It comes around with more regularity than the King Street streetcar and the COC has a decent and not too ancient production in the warehouse.  It’s hard to imagine there won’t be some Verdi or bel canto or both.  Possibilities include Rigoletto, Aida, Falstaff, Lucia di Lammermoor, Norma, any of the Tudor queens operas or even the dreadful production of L’elisir d’amore they did in 2017.  I’ll credit them with enough sense not to do the last. It’s probably too soon to revive Rigoletto again so that would suggest one of the other Verdis.  Aida was supposed to be revived but got plagued and it’s an obvious Radvanovsky vehicle.  Falstaff would likely be more popular and there’s been a respectable interval since t was last done.  It may be wishful thinking but I’m going to plump for the fat guy.  And if we rule out Rigoletto it becomes possible to consider Lucia.  (There is no way one could program two Alden child abuse productions in one season!). It was last done in 2013 which is, again, a fair gap for a very popular opera.  Seems too soon to do Norma again and I just can’t see another Tudor queen cycle until the next Donizetti diva comes along.

Which leaves on main stage slot.  Now, so far, there’s nothing n either German or French so lets go down that trou de lapin.  We just had Salome which I think makes Ariadne, the obvious German candidate less likely.  Neither of the obvious French candidates; Iphigénie en Tauride or Dialogues of the Carmelites seem quite mainstream enough for the current climate.  So maybe it will be something frothy and Italian.  It’s surely too soon to do Barber of Seville so maybe La Cenerentola?

Time to fish or cut bait.  My predicted six then are:

  • Puccini – La Bohème
  • Janáček – The Cunning Little Vixen
  • Mozart – Idomeneo
  • Verdi – Falstaff
  • Donizetti – Lucia di Lammermoor
  • Rossini – La Cenerentola

The only thing I’ll guarantee about this list is that it’s almost certainly wrong.


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