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Royal Opera House 2015/16 Season announced

The Royal Ballet, The Royal Opera and visiting companies will perform more than sixty works during the coming Season.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

15 April 2015 at 9.59am | 50 Comments

The 2015/16 Royal Opera House Season has been announced.

The Royal Opera, The Royal Ballet and visiting companies will stage more than sixty works during 2015/16 and twelve productions from Covent Garden - six operas and six ballets - will be relayed live to more than 1,500 cinemas in 35 countries as part of the ROH Cinema Season.

Opera and Music

The Royal Opera's Season will feature eight new productions on the Covent Garden main stage - Gluck's Orphée et Eurydice by Hofesh Shechter and John Fulljames, Georg Friedrich Haas's Morgen und Abend by Graham Vick, Mascagni and Leoncavallo's Cavalleria rusticana / Pagliacci by Damiano Michieletto, Emmanuel Chabrier's L’Étoile by Mariame Clément, Musorgsky's Boris Godunov by Richard Jones, Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor by Katie Mitchell, George Enescu's Oedipe by Àlex Ollé, and Verdi's Il trovatore by David Bösch. Four of these directors are new to Covent Garden. Two world premieres will be performed – 4.48 Psychosis (based on playwright Sarah Kane's final play) and Morgen und Abend  - as well as three London premieres - The Last HotelPleasure and In Parenthesis.

The strand of programming inspired by the theme of Orpheus that began in January 2015 with Monteverdi's Orfeo at the Roundhouse continues with three productions inspired by the same myth – Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice on the ROH main stage, Luigi Rossi’s Orpheus at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, and Little Bulb Theatre and Battersea Arts Centre on Tour’s Orpheus in the Linbury.

Four Royal Opera productions will be staged at external venues - Gerald Barry's The Importance of Being Earnest at New York's Rose Theater and the Barbican in London; Keith Warner's aforementioned production of Luigi Rossi's Orpheus at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse; and Mark Simpson's Pleasure and Philip Venables's 4.48 Psychosis, both at the Lyric Hammersmith. In some cases these relationships with other venues will enable us to stage pieces that would have been shown in the Linbury Studio Theatre during its period of closure for the Open Up project.

Continuing the ROH's partnership with the BBCBBC Radio 3 will broadcast 11 productions from the main stage over the course of the Season.

Director of Music Antonio Pappano will conduct two new productions (Cavalleria rusticana / PagliacciBoris Godunov), a revival of Werther and a symphonic concert with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. He will also lead The Royal Opera on a previously-announced tour to Japan.

This Season, the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation has offered a grant to The Royal Opera to further the careers of emerging artists. The grant, used over a period of 3-5 years, will enable promising young singers to take on cover roles where The Royal Opera may not normally be able to have a cover in place.

View full details of the 2015/16 Royal Opera Season

Ballet and Dance

The Royal Ballet's Season will feature four world premieres including Frankenstein, a first full-length narrative ballet by Liam Scarlett; new one-act ballets from Wayne McGregor and Christopher Wheeldon, and a new production of Carmen from Carlos Acosta. The 2015/16 Season will be the first time the entire Royal Ballet choreographic team will present new works.

There is another chance to see recent works from Wheeldon and McGregor with revivals of The Winter's Tale and Raven Girl. Classic works also feature with Romeo and Juliet being staged in its 50th anniversary year, and the return to the repertory of Frederick Ashton's The Two Pigeons. Other choreographers whose work will be performed include George BalanchineAlastair Marriott and Jerome Robbins.

Before the Linbury Studio Theatre closes for improvements as part of the Open Up project, visiting companies including Cas Public and Royal New Zealand Ballet will stage works. In addition, Alessandra Ferri will perform in Chéri, a specially-created work choreographed and directed by acclaimed US choreographer Martha Clarke, while Will Tuckett’s piece about the life and loves of Elizabeth I comes to the intimate space with Zenaida Yanowsky and Carlos Acosta in the lead roles.

A series of choreographic opportunities will encourage and nurture new talent. Charlotte Edmonds, who choreographed The Indifferent Beak for Deloitte Ignite 2014, will join the Company as part of the new Young Choreographer Programme. She will be mentored by Wayne McGregor and create new work over the course of 12 months. In addition, Draft Works will appear as a series of short, informal performances throughout the Season. - a platform where dancers of The Royal Ballet can create new short choreographic pieces - and the Aud Jebsen Young Dancer Programme will return.

The Season will be Koen Kessels's first as Music Director of The Royal Ballet, succeeding Barry Wordsworth who becomes Principal Guest Conductor. 2015/16 will conclude with an international tour to Japan.

View full details of the 2015/16 Royal Ballet Season

What are you most looking forward to during the 2015/16 Season?

Booking for the 2015/16 Season opens to Friends of Covent Garden on 16 June 2015 for autumn dance productions and 17 June 2015 for autumn opera productions. General booking for Autumn Season performances opens on 14 July 2015.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

15 April 2015 at 9.59am

This article has been categorised Ballet, Opera and tagged 2015-16, 2015/16, announcement, By Hofesh Shechter and John Fulljames, commission, Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation, new production, Orphée et Eurydice, season

This article has 50 comments

  1. John responded on 15 April 2015 at 10:32am Reply

    Hope to include Angela Gheorghiu in your casts. I can't wait to listen her as soon as possible because her voice is pure platinum.

  2. Angela Hurlstone responded on 15 April 2015 at 10:56am Reply

    Ballet programme looking good. I am particularly excited about Carlos' production of Carmen. Also, delighted we will have the opportunity to see the amazing Winter's Tale again - it is such a special ballet. Of course, Romeo and Juliet is always a must see production at ROH. Looking forward to booking my tickets!

  3. Sasha responded on 15 April 2015 at 11:19am Reply

    Is Eva-Maria Westbroek only starring in one opera?

  4. Emile Myburgh responded on 15 April 2015 at 1:14pm Reply

    Thank you for putting Boris Godunov in March/April when airfares from South Africa will be more reasonable. By chance, all the recent operas I flew to London to see were in high season.

  5. Sue Ashton responded on 15 April 2015 at 2:46pm Reply

    I'm am so disappointed that there is nothing suitable to bring my very keen 6 year old granddaughter to in this season. She has seen Nutcracker and we were hoping for Coppelia, Alice or Cinderella.

    • Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products) responded on 16 April 2015 at 11:29am

      Dear Sue

      Thanks for your query. There have been many ballets suitable for children at the Royal Opera House during the 2014/15 Season, but this varies year to year.

      Are you bringing your granddaughter to La Fille mal gardee? It's a wonderful show for children?

      Best wishes


  6. Nahid mahdavi responded on 15 April 2015 at 3:13pm Reply

    Do not bother with "Cheri" of Colette with Alessandra Feri it is really BAD.

  7. DELIA FERGUSON responded on 15 April 2015 at 3:56pm Reply

    No Rossini or Bellini what a pity for Bel Canto fans.

  8. Nina Battleday responded on 15 April 2015 at 5:16pm Reply

    Winter's tale and R and J- lovely. And to get Two Pigeons- a real treat plus little goodies like Monotone s and Rhapsody all looks good. Not sure about Frankenstein and am never very enthused by Carmen in any of its versions,but enough to keep me happy.

  9. George Young responded on 15 April 2015 at 5:39pm Reply

    Great program especialy the Cinema.

    Will you be streaming any or your productions?

    Please let me know

    • Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products) responded on 16 April 2015 at 10:51am

      Dear George

      Any live streaming online will be announced closer to the time. Keeping our fingers crossed!

      Best wishes


  10. Jane responded on 15 April 2015 at 10:07pm Reply

    Enda Walsh and The Last Hotel, at the Opera House. Wow. Go Enda! Better start saving now!

  11. Alison Brown responded on 16 April 2015 at 11:30am Reply

    Well, what choice! I feel so privileged to be in a city with such a great opera house that has improved so much since I first visited in 1968 as to be almost unrecognisable. I think I had requested a revival of The Two Pigeons last year. A beautiful ballet and I do love the triple bills. Thank you for this.

  12. edward shamash responded on 16 April 2015 at 12:40pm Reply

    Oedipe has never been staged here so for its first outing it does not need a production that apparently is based round mud(as previously done by this company in Brussels.It is a Rumanian national operaticmasterpiece and deserves a non gimmicky production

  13. Bill Potts responded on 16 April 2015 at 12:50pm Reply

    Pity The Ring has been left out

  14. Steve Johnstone responded on 16 April 2015 at 1:20pm Reply

    Is Jonas Kauffman appearing in anything during the next season. I do hope so. Thanks.

  15. Stuart Dixon responded on 16 April 2015 at 1:42pm Reply

    Thumbs Up - R&J hopefully with Francesca and Matthew;Winters Tale;Giselle;New Wheeldon and Scarlett.

    One Thumb Down for Nut.

    Several Thumbs Down - McGregor.

  16. Paul Thomason responded on 16 April 2015 at 3:11pm Reply

    Why not name the singers who are appearing in the operas in your announcement? Why pretend that opera is only about directors? Even when I click on the individual operas, we are only given last names of singers (in very small type) and have to click on that to find out who they are and what role they are doing. Without singers and conductors there is no opera. Why go to such lengths to hide them in your marketing? That is shameful.

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 16 April 2015 at 3:45pm

      Hi Paul,

      This is an issue of space as this article references both opera and ballet productions - giving full casting for all productions on this page would lead to an extremely long, and possibly indigestible page, hence highlights have been picked out.

      If you'd like to see casting for opera performances, details can be found at


      ROH Content Producer

  17. Nick B responded on 16 April 2015 at 4:31pm Reply

    Lots of mixed programmes and new works. So I'm very much looking forward to the new season.

  18. Martin Wiggs responded on 16 April 2015 at 5:26pm Reply

    Would be great to see some of the Russian ballet stars in some of the productions.

  19. Sue Ashton responded on 16 April 2015 at 10:16pm Reply

    Dear Ellen
    Thanks for your reply. Yes we are coming to see La Fille mal gardee although we struggled to find suitable time as there were only 2 matinees. Whilst I appreciate that there were several suitable ballets for youngsters this year I really feel it is a shame that next season there is only Nutcracker. Surely they are the future audience.
    Best Wishes

  20. Penelope CArlisle responded on 17 April 2015 at 12:24pm Reply

    So pleased to see that Joyce DiDonato is appearing next year.

  21. Robert Garbolinski responded on 17 April 2015 at 4:03pm Reply

    Odd that my comments on the new season have disappeared......

  22. Peter Howell responded on 18 April 2015 at 1:14pm Reply

    How depressing that the list of operas at the beginning gives names of directors, but not even those of composers. A sad indication of current priorities. However, the good news is that no production by Kaspar Holten is listed.

  23. Heather Turnbull responded on 18 April 2015 at 7:26pm Reply

    I was so looking forward to the announcement of the new season but I must admit to being very underwhelmed by the ballet programme. The Ashton programme will be lovely and I'm looking forward to Giselle again but Raven Girl should never have seen the light of day again. With such a rich repertoire to draw upon this seems very dull programming.

  24. Ceri King responded on 20 April 2015 at 2:00am Reply

    No casting for ballets on the website - when will this be announced? Hopefully before tickets go on sale?

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 20 April 2015 at 10:51am

      Hi Ceri,

      Ballet casting is usually announced closer to performances than opera casting, so it'll likely be announced over the summer.


      ROH Content Producer

    • Lee McLernon responded on 21 April 2015 at 12:54pm

      Coming back on Chris's response. Given than we are booking at the beginning of June, I would hope that casting is announced much sooner than "over the summer". Given the significant cost of being a FoCG, it is imperative that we have the necessary information before booking (noting that there are 63 main stage ballet shows, more than 50% of the season, in the first booking period).

  25. VIVIEN responded on 20 April 2015 at 11:02am Reply

    Are we ever going to see Anastasia again?
    I agree with all the negative comments about Raven Girl - nothing would induce me to book for it again. I also agree it is poor to put short ballets on more than one bill - is the Royal Ballet really incapable of organising a programme that gives the dancers time to rehearse?

  26. Juliet Chaplin responded on 22 April 2015 at 9:41pm Reply

    I agree about the list of operas - where are the composers' names? I know who wrote Boris and Cav and Pag, but some of the operas are new. The singers and conductors are MUCH more important than the directors. I am willing to come to a production I hate (and sit in a listening seat) if I want to hear the music and the singers. I have seen so many operas which have been musically excellent but in my view with disastrous productions.

  27. roger walkley responded on 25 April 2015 at 2:48pm Reply

    In two decades of being a friend, I've never known the next year's programme not to include details of the autumn ballet casting.
    Is this a one-off, or a new policy?

    It's not easy to see our preferred dancers if we don't know when they're performing!

  28. Melanie Morrison responded on 27 April 2015 at 1:35pm Reply

    To echo some of the comments above, in all my years of being a Friend, the ballet casting has always been announced in the magazine (Chris Shipman must be very new to the job). It is absolutely IMPERATIVE that casting is announced - not just online, but posted out to all Friends - well in advance of booking opening. How else are we expected to book for ballet performances - wear a blindfold and stick in a pin? If you are unable to announce ballet casting prior to opening of booking - then put back the booking dates.

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 27 April 2015 at 2:59pm

      Hi Melanie,

      We endeavor to provide casting details for booking days where possible - for Autumn ballet performances these booking days will be on 16 June for Friends of Covent Garden, and 14 July for the General booking). The best place to find information - and stay notified of any cast changes - is by checking the website and production page for each performance. If you're interested in following a particular artist, each Royal Ballet dancer has a 'people page' where you can find details of all confirmed future performances (eg.

      In some previous Seasons - as with April 2015 - casting was not featured in the magazine as it was not confirmed by the date of publication. This is due to ballet casting working to a different timeline to opera performances - opera singers may be booked four or five years in advance whereas because of the nature of the art-form, ballet casting may be more subject to change. As I'm sure you'd agree, where possible we aim to minimize the changing of casts and disruption on the part of our audience, hence they're confirmed only once we're as sure as we can be about who will be dancing what role.

      ROH Content Producer

      [Edited: 28 April - In error, this comment previously stated that casting was not confirmed in April 2013 and April 2014 issues of the magazine.]

  29. Melanie Morrison responded on 27 April 2015 at 5:14pm Reply

    Thank you for your reply, Chris, but please would you clarify what you mean by casting being announced "for Autumn ballet performances this will be on 16 June for Friends of Covent Garden, and 14 July for the Friends of Covent Garden)."? As booking for ballet performances opens at 9.00 a.m. on 16 June, this is not satisfactory - always assuming that you do mean the announcement is being made on 16 June and not on 14 July? As this booking date is for "normal" Friends, any Patron or higher level of Friend will be even worse off.

    Incidentally, I have in front of me the April 2014 issue of the ROH magazine with details of that autumn's performances - ballet casting is printed as bold as brass.

    • Ellen West (Head of Creative Studios and Digital Products) responded on 28 April 2015 at 2:54pm

      Dear Melanie

      Apologies for any confusion - Chris and I should have referred your query to the Friends office, who hold all of this information. We are aware that Friends of Covent Garden are concerned about the absence of the casting from the autumn edition of the magazine, and the casting will be released in advance of 2 June.

      Best wishes


  30. Roger Walkley responded on 27 April 2015 at 7:24pm Reply

    Hi Chris,

    Could you please confirm that Friends Plus, Supporting Friends, Premium Friends 1 and Premium Friends 2 will receive details of autumn ballet casting before their first booking date?

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 28 April 2015 at 12:16pm

      Hi Roger,

      Yes, casting will be available on the website for these booking dates.


      ROH Content Producer

  31. Roger Walkley responded on 28 April 2015 at 12:32pm Reply

    Good news! Thanks.

  32. Kevin O'Hare - Director of The Royal Ballet responded on 30 April 2015 at 4:54pm Reply

    Thank you for your patience and by way of explanation, there are many factors involved in preparing such a large tranche of casting. As it becomes increasingly difficult to create accurate detailed information so far in advance of the published performances I feel that it is preferable to delay announcing casting in order to try and minimize the likelihood of changes. I am now pleased to be able to confirm that the casting will be released on 5 May in advance of the booking period opening.

    Kevin O’Hare
    Director, The Royal Ballet

  33. Willaim Woolhouse responded on 5 May 2015 at 11:21am Reply

    Well it is the 5th of MAY.So where is the ballet casting ?

  34. Erin Shih responded on 26 May 2015 at 4:58pm Reply

    Why there's no cinema broadcast of ORPHÉE ET EURYDICE, which is a new production that opens the season with great conductor/singers?

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 3 June 2015 at 10:58am

      Hi Erin,

      Unfortunately we're not able to offer cinema screenings of all productions. Sorry to disappoint you on this occasion.

      ROH Content Producer

  35. Dr. Ed Sterns responded on 27 November 2015 at 6:27pm Reply

    Very happy to see that Tenor Carl Tanner Will be singing there this season! He is the most under-rated/under valued true verismo tenor of this generation! Excited!

  36. Heather Ward responded on 5 March 2016 at 3:14pm Reply

    Could you tell me when the 2016/2017 opera season will be announced please?

    • Rose Slavin (Former Assistant Content Producer) responded on 7 March 2016 at 12:11pm

      Hi Heather,

      Details on next Season will be announced on April 6 2016.
      Many thanks,

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