Next season Boston Lyric Opera will offer Puccini’s “La Bohème,” Philip Glass’s “In the Penal Colony,” Massenet’s “Werther,” and Franz Lehár’s “The Merry Widow.” All four works will be staged in new BLO productions.
The “Bohème” performances (Oct. 2-11) will open the company’s 2015-16 season, with Kelly Kaduce as Mimi, Jesus Garcia as Rodolfo, Jonathan Beyer as Marcello, and Emily Birsan in her company debut as Musetta. Veteran baritone James Maddalena will return as Benoit and Alcindoro. The production, to be directed by Rosetta Cucchi, updates the action to 1968, setting it among the Paris protests and student revolts.
Glass’s “In the Penal Colony” will be the company’s annual Opera Annex off-site production (Nov. 11-15), though its location has not yet been announced. Premiered in 2000, this chamber opera has an English-language libretto based on Kafka’s haunting short story of 1914. It is to be directed by R.B. Schlather and conducted by Ryan Turner, artistic director of Emmanuel Music.
“Werther,” which BLO last performed in 1998, will feature tenor Joseph Kaiser in the title role, singing alongside Sandra Piques Eddy as Charlotte and Rachele Gilmore as Sophie. The production (March 11-20, 2016) will be staged by Crystal Manich, who directed the company’s recent production of “I Puritani.” David Angus conducts.
And finally, BLO will offer its first staging of Lehár’s popular operetta “The Merry Widow” (April 29-May 8, 2016), to be directed by Lillian Groag, with soprano Susanna Phillips as Hannah Glawari, and Alexander Joel in his company conducting debut.
“What we’re trying to do is, within four operas, appeal to a wide spectrum,” said BLO general and artistic director Esther Nelson, in a phone interview. “There’s an aspect of entertainment but also thought. That’s also why we’re doing all new productions.”Jeremy Eichler can be reached at email@example.com.