Sweden´s leading summer opera expands
– staging Don Carlo and The Elixir of Love in 2018

Opera på Skäret expands. Just in time for it 15th anniversary in 2018, Sweden’s leading summer opera will start staging two operas a year. Next summer, parallel with Verdi’s major piece, Don Carlo, Opera på Skäret will also give Donizetti’s comic opera The Elixir of Love.
“Our long-term objective is to perform more opera for larger audiences and we are now taking the first step in that direction. With a broadened repertoire, we want to give more opera lovers, from Sweden and abroad, a good reason to visit Opera på Skäret,” says Sten Niclasson, the head of the opera.

Don Carlo will be performed on the main stage, 12 times from 28 July to 26 August. The Elixir or Love will be played ten times on the small stage from 14 July to 24 August.

“Don Carlo and The Elixir of Love are the perfect combination for those who want to see two completely different performances and have two completely different experiences. Don Carlo is a large-scale, so-called grand opera in three acts, with more soloists than usual, larger choirs, and imposing substantial demands on the scenography. In its exuberant joviality, The Elixir of Love is the very opposite,” says Alexander Niclasson, artistic leader.

Each year, Opera på Skäret introduces internationally established soloists from all over the world to Swedish audiences. Over the years, soloists from some 20 countries have participated in Opera på Skäret’s summer opera. More than 150 soloists from all over the world auditioned for Don Carlo over three days in Stockholm at the end of November, a unique event on the Swedish opera scene at this level.

The participating singers will be presented in early 2018.

William Relton from the UK will be responsible for directing Don Carlo and Michael Balke from Germany will conduct the piece. Both have earlier participated in critically acclaimed productions at Opera på Skäret, Relton as director of Othello 2014 and Balke as conductor of the Flying Dutchman in 2016, when he led the internationally acclaimed Swedish Chamber Orchestra.

The summer of 2018 will be the 15th time Opera på Skäret offers opera of an international standard at its unique venue on the shore of Lake Ljusnaren in the Bergslagen region. Since 2004, on the site that formerly housed a sawmill, many of opera’s greatest works have been performed, with international soloists in all productions. In recent years, the performances have been seen by an average 8,000 people and the summer opera has attracted almost 100,000 visitors since its inception in 2004. Including smaller concert events, next summer’s programme will have an audience capacity of more than 12,000.

“With the expanded repertoire, we strengthen our position as Sweden’s leading summer opera. Over the past three years, we have seen a 30 percent increase in audience numbers. With a broader repertoire, we hope this trend will be maintained over the next few years,” says Sten Niclasson.

Don Carlo will be the fifth piece by Verdi to be performed at Opera på Skäret, following Rigoletto in 2006, Aida in 2007, Othello in 2014, and La Traviata in 2015. The Elixir of Love is the second opera by Donizetti, following Lucía di Lammermoor in 2012. Both operas will be performed in Italian, with surtitles in Swedish.

Verdi´s Don Carlo – a grand opera in three acts at the main stage
Donizetti´s The Elixir of Love – comic success story at the small stage

About Opera på Skäret

At Opera på Skäret, Swedish and international audiences witness world-class opera. Several of the opera literature’s greatest works have been played here with internationally established singers performing, as well as young, promising, rising stars. Many singers have had their big breakthrough by performing at the festival and Opera på Skäret has therefore made a name for itself as really being “the Singers Opera house”.

Several of the big opera classics have been played here – such as  Tosca, La Bohème, Lucía Di Lammermoor, Carmen and The Flying Dutchman.

For every production at Opera på Skäret, the cast comprises soloists of the highest international rank, each hand-picked for his/her specific qualities. Over the years, a wide range of world stars have sung here, and several foreign soloists have debuted for Swedish audiences on the Opera på Skäret stage.

Among the singers that have performed at Opera på Skäret through the years, there have been some great international stars from many different countries and from four different continents, such as Stuart Neill, Sandra López, Kristian Benedikt, Robert Hyman, Yana Kleyn, César Augusto Gutiérrez, Javier Palacios, Levente Pàll, Guido Paevetalu, Franco Federici, Yitian Luan and Ole Jörgen Kristiansen. Among the Swedish greats that have performed here are Tito Beltrán, Birgitta Svendén, Ingrid Tobiasson, Charlotta Larsson, Gitta-Maria Sjöberg and Matilda Paulsson.

History

Opera på Skäret was founded by Sten Niclasson, an opera singer and director with a background at Göteborgsoperan. The story began one summers day in 1996, when he was visiting a friend in the area, and when going for a drive they ended up at this old saw mill by the lake, that hadn’t been in use for many years. The discovery of this massive building birthed an idea for Sten Niclasson – to create an opera stage on this beautiful location by a lake, surrounded by forests and mountains.

A couple of years later it was time for the premiere, two opera galas with internationally renowned singers. The following summer it was a concert version of Verdi’s La Traviata at Opera på Skäret, and since then there has been at least one opera every year –sometimes two – complete with own scenography and costumes. There has also been Opera- and operetta concerts, pub nights with spontaneous performances by the opera singers and musicians, as well as different art exhibitions at Skäret. These festivals have filled the local area with music and art for two whole summer months.

The Opera house has now reached a certain status, and has earned a reputation as an internationally acclaimed opera stage where both Swedish and foreign singers gladly return to perform. The repertoire, with focus on having well known works, has also drawn many less experienced opera visitors to Skäret, quite often for their very first opera- experience. With popular works and world-class performances, Sten Niclasson has realized part of his vision – to spread the opera art to a partly new audience. Opera på Skäret is also the only opera house in the world with it’s own train station, and every year fully booked, chartered “opera trains” from Stockholm come to Skäret to see the opera.

You can read a more detailed history here and read the reviews in the side bar.