Better late than never... Here are my comments about the 2009-10 season of the Paris Opera (Nicolas Joël's first season).
- The season will open with Charles Gounod's Mireille, directed by Nicolas Joël (Sept.14 to Oct.14, Garnier). Clearly not the masterpiece Faust is, this light opera marks at least the comeback of Gounod to the Opéra de Paris. The cast is rather unexciting (Inva Mula, Charles Castronovo and Franck Ferrari in the main roles). Marc Minkowsky will conduct the Paris Opera Orchestra and I must say it is quite a surprise to see him choose such a repertoire. I wonder what reading he has of Gounod.
- The revival of Laurent Pelly's 2006 production of L'Elisir d'Amore is a guaranted sales success, as the cast features Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazon (Oct.10 to 25, Bastille); the two will also sing in Mozart's Idomeneo in Jan. (Luc Bondy's production from 2006 , Garnier)
- Korngold's Die Tote Stadt is coming in Paris in the Willy Decker's production that premiered in Salzburg in 2004 and has already traveled to Vienna last year and London in February (Oct.9 to 27, Bastille)
- The new production of Bellini's La Sonnambula will surely be the event of the season in Paris, with Natalie Dessay coming back at the Paris Opera for the first time since her Lucias in Oct.2006 (Evelino Pidò conducting, Michele Pertusi as Rodolfo and Javier Camarena as Elvino, Jan.25 to Feb.23, Bastille); Natalie Dessay will also sing the tiny part of Musetta in La Bohème (Oct.29 to Nov.29, Bastille)
- Rossini's La Donna del Lago will allow for the rare opportunity to hear Juan Diego Florez in Garnier (June 18 to 30), with Joyce DiDonato, Daniela Barcellona and Roberto Abbado conducting.
- Other noticeable facts: Rameau's Platée (Laurent Pelly prod., Marc Minkowsky conducting his Choeur et musiciens du Louvre-Grenoble) in December (Garnier); Marcelo Alvarez as Andrea Chénier (Dec., Bastille); Jonas Kaufmann as Werther in Jan. (but unfortunately with Michel Plasson conducting);
- Selected revivals: Corine Sereau's 2002 production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Graham Vick's Don Carlo from 1998