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Katie Mitchell and Richard Jones to direct work in Oliver Mears’ first season at Royal Opera

Oliver Mears Oliver Mears
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The first Royal Opera season with Oliver Mears at the helm has been announced, and includes the premiere of a new work by George Benjamin, directed by Katie Mitchell. 

The Royal Opera House’s 2018 season also includes a new opera version of Coraline by Mark-Anthony Turnage, at the Barbican, and new ballets by Wayne McGregor, Arthur Pita and Christopher Wheeldon. 

At the Royal Opera, Mitchell will direct Lessons in Love and Violence, which has a text by Martin Crimp, in May 2018.

It is one of six new productions performed at the ROH that also includes La Boheme, directed by Richard Jones, Semiramide and Lohengrin, directed by David Alden, Barrie Kosky’s production of Carmen, and From the House of the Dead directed by Krzysztof Warlikowski. 

Outside Covent Garden, 4.48 Psychosis will be revived after its 2016 premiere, at a venue to be confirmed, while the Roundhouse will stage a new production of The Return of Ulysses.

Mears took over as director of the company, from Kasper Holten, last month, and said of his first season: “As I begin this role, and as the world continues to reel from social and political tumult, it is reassuring to contemplate the talent and traditions that underpin this great building’s history.

“For centuries, a theatre on this site has welcomed all classes – even in times of revolution and war – to enjoy the most extraordinary combination of music and drama ever devised.”

The Royal Ballet’s season includes a new production of Swan Lake, in May 2018, with choreography by Liam Scarlett. 

McGregor will stage a new one-act ballet, with design by ceramicist Edmund de Waal. It is part of a triple bill that celebrates the centenary of American composer Leonard Bernstein. The programme also features a new piece by Wheeldon and a revival of Scarlett’s The Age of Anxiety.

Twyla Tharp and Pita will also choreograph new one-act works for the company, while elsewhere in the season is a celebration of Kenneth Macmillan’s work, 25 years after his death.

This will see four British ballet companies – English National Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Northern Ballet and Scottish Ballet – come together for the first time, joining the Royal Ballet in Covent Garden for a celebratory programme.

The season will also see revivals of Hofesh Shechter’s Untouchable and Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Winter’s Tale.